Thursday, June 30, 2011

S'More Granola Bars

First let me start by saying thank you to everyone who listens to me rant and vent on this blog.  I seem to sound like a helpless individual at times who whines a lot.  So I decided to take a break from complaining to write about something I enjoy, which is baking.
My son has his last day of tennis today and I asked him what kind of snack did he want me to make, and he said something chocolaty with marshmallows.  So I did a search for a dessert with that description and came upon the recipe girl who had just the treat - S'More Granola Bars- and after seeing a few of her pictures I thought that maybe I could make it too.

This first picture is of the oats prior to toasting in the oven.  Yum, I guess it's important to NOT use the quick cooking oats, but the old fashioned ones instead.

Toasted Oats
This is a picture of the Rice Krispies that I actually ended up adding more of later on.

Rice Krispies

This picture is of the butter I melted and it's only a half stick, but I added another half to equal a whole later on to make the batch bigger.

This picture is of the toasted oats and Rice Krispies mixed together.
Oats and Krispies

This picture is of the marshmallows not quite melted, I chose to change up the recipe a bit because I didn't have corn syrup, so I followed the original Rice Krispie recipe instead.

Lumpy Marshmallows
This picture is of the smooth and creamy marshmallows and it ended up looking like frosting.

Creamy Mallows

This picture is after I combined all the wet and dry ingredients and pressed them down in my baking sheet .  I ended up spraying Pam Non-Stick cooking spray on the back of my 1 C measuring cup and smoothed and pressed it down successfully. 

This picture is after I spread the top layer of marshmallows and chocolate chips evenly on top of the pressed mixture.

I tried to evenly spread the marshmallows and chips
Next, the recipe called to flatten the marshmallows because when you put it in the oven the marshmallows fluff up again.  So I used another baking sheet and sprayed Pam over the back so they wouldn't stick.
press hard
Then I put it in the oven on the low Broil setting just long enough to brown the marshmallows, don't over bake them or they'll burn.

I could have left it in longer but was worried they would burn
VoilĂ  here is the finished product, please excuse my low lighting of my kitchen in these photos.  I finished them last night and they were a hit in my house.  I shared one with my neighbor and she liked them too.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

CNA Zazzy at Your Service, How Can I Fail You Tonight?

My first day as a Certified Nursing Assistant outside the protective wings of my preceptor was frightful and confusing to say the least.  I was on the schedule to work from 1430-2230 and I brought along my cheat sheet that breaks down what important things should be done by when.  For instance, listen to report from previous CNA, start first set of vitals and ambulate each patient by 1430.  Next get report from each RN on the patients you’re taking care of from 1530-1600.  Following that, start the second set of vitals at 1830, ambulate all your patients for the second time by 1900, do your I&O’s (inputs and outputs) and pass fresh water by 2100, leading up to writing out your new report sheets for the next shift by 2200.  Oh and somewhere between all that we’re supposed to sit for 15-20 minutes if we have time for lunch.  Now in black and white this all looks easy enough to do and basic to follow.  But for me this feat was not so easy.

Usually I’m told the newer assistants get a load of 6-7 patients in total, and that they are usually looking to help out the other assistants because they have more time to help.  However when I sat down I was given 8 patients with a new admit in about 30 minutes.  So I thought okay, it’s only a couple more patients than what other new assistants are expected to handle so I should be okay.  I started out with great intentions, getting report and heading out to take my first set vitals.  Then my patients were buzzing on their call lights which go to a cordless phone all of us aide and nurses carry asking to go potty, or needing pain medicine, or asking what their diets are and whether they can order solid foods for supper.  Goodness, my head was spinning by the time I started my first round of walks.  Once in a while another aide would pass me in the hallway (with no intention of stopping) and ask if I needed any help or how I was doing.  But stoically I said that I was doing fine and I meant it, because in my head I knew what I should do next, but getting my body to move quickly enough was another story all together.

By the time I was supposed to start I&O’s, I had two new admits on top of the other new admit I was given earlier, on top of the 8 other patients I was supposed to take care.  These new admits needed to dangle at the bedside all before the end of my shift also needing surgical vitals which are q1/2 hr x 2 then q1 hr x 4.  I was in and out of each room doing vitals that finally when I passed by the charge nurse she asked me “how are you doing?” and I was quite short with her stating that “I don’t know how I’m doing, I don’t know where I’m at on my list of things to do, and I’m not sure what to do next” as I popped into another patient’s room. 

Shortly after that the heavens opened up and things became miraculous, all of a sudden my phone stopped ringing (which I think they deterred my calls to another aide or the nurse for all of my patients) and two aides walked up to me and finally stopped and asked what they could do to help me.  I told them I hadn’t started I&O’s yet to which they looked at my list of patients and split up the responsibilities amongst themselves so I could get done with my task of post-op for my 3 new admits.  This was the first time I had a clear thought in my head since beginning my shift.

After all of that was done and I was preparing the new report sheet for the next aide to come on duty, when one of my fellow aides looked at me and said “you’re doing great, you really are” and that was nearly all it took for a single tear to roll down my face and my voice barely answered her back with “thank you but I feel so inadequate”. 

I walked out of there by 2300 and so drained that I couldn’t muster any tears, thinking I didn’t want to ever go back again.  But I agreed to work a 0630-1430 shift the following morning.  I had 6-1/2 hours to get some sleep and go back and do it all over again.  Over and over I kept thinking that I don’t have what it takes to be an aide let alone a nurse after school will be done.  I wanted so badly to prove on the first night that I could hold my own and that the other nurses and aides could count on me for help but I ended up failing miserably.

By 0630 I walked into the hospital renewed with a brand new perspective that if God wanted me to do this today that I better rely more on his strength than my own.  Amen, amen, amen is all I can say!  God was there helping me take care of my patient load that next morning.  The day charge nurse must have heard how my night went because I was only given 7 patients and they were all pretty much ad lib and able to do for themselves, which made for a more pleasant experience.  I was actually enjoying my job and learning more about the patients I was caring for instead of quick in-and-out help here and there and unable to keep up.  I got to a point even that I was able to help another aide wash one of his patients up for the day because he was running behind.  I told the aide I would help him as soon as I was done setting up a room for a new admit and he told me that just my offer to help him was a kind gesture.

Now I’m off until Monday and I plan to take the rest of the week pretty easy.  I hope I don’t dread going in on Monday, because I don’t want to dread this CNA job like I did my last nursing home CNA job.  Eventually I want to enjoy doing this kind of work…

Monday, June 27, 2011

Welcome to the 600's

In case you haven’t been keeping count on your own calendars, according to my counter on the right side of my page I have 699 days until I’m done with school.  Now that may sound like a really large number and while I agree it is, 699 is smaller than 700.  Before you know it, next summer I’ll be deducting another 365 off that total and I’ll be somewhere in the 334’s and that will mean I’ll have less than a year left.  WOW that is amazing to me. 

Let me also tell you people how extremely scared I am of the next two semesters that I will be tackling in school.  We were told the first semester is more of an introductory semester, learning what normal is and how to take care of a hospitalized patient, starting to develop care plans, etc.  But the next two semesters will focus more on the abnormalities of the different systems and we’ll be more hands on in the skills lab with different bandages, lines, tubes, caths, IV’s etc.  I’ve been told we’ll be learning something new each week.  YIKES, I don’t think I’m ready for it, especially after my instructor shook my confidence by telling me at the end of last semester that I should get a tutor…hummm…not a good sign going into the next semester.

Triple A
One of the things I’m most appreciative of, is my new CNA job.  I am learning and absorbing so much as far as terminology and just hearing what the nurse’s talk about helps out a lot.  For example we had a patient on our floor recently who survived a ruptured “triple A” which means abdominal aortic aneurysm and I guess the surviving rate for those aren’t good, only like 3%.  When I took care of the patient, he was more worried about  when he could start eating solid foods than what he had gone through.

Speaking of surviving, my daughter just finished a week long mission’s trip to North Minneapolis where recently a few tornados caused damage and the youth group at our church went to help out.  They also helped out a few of the homeless shelters by playing with the children, helping in the soup kitchen, and packaging up supplies for children in Africa.  She was so happy to help out with such a servant’s heart she didn’t want to come home, which made me proud.  One of the days their group visited the Minnehaha Falls and met up with my Mom and Sister, this picture shows my daughter being in center.

Other than that I’m just trying to find my flow while doing my job, and today will be my first official day on my own outside of training and I get a little worried when I think about it.  But the good thing about working at the hospital casually is that I choose which days I go.  So this week, I’m working Monday and Tuesday at the hospital and Thursday and Friday at the Clinic.  The next day I work is on the 4th to pick up some extra holiday money, but only a day shift so I can enjoy the fireworks with the family at night.  Yup, I’ve got it made and my summer is finally evening out a bit.

Friday, June 17, 2011


Here I am working at the hospital tonight, chosen as the CNA who gets to be a sitter for a guy who has Schizophrenia, but admitted because of belly surgery.  He seems like a nice guy when he's awake, and hasn't given me any trouble.
My time in the hospital overall is face-paced to say the least.  I hate not knowing where things are, or terminology that I haven't heard before.  I feel incompetent when others ask me questions or nurses sometimes give me sideways glances that I'm not sure how to take.  Other times I'm surprised when I can answer a question for a patient or family member, or when I catch myself using terminology a year ago I'd never thought would roll off my tongue. 
It seems to me that the CNA's do a lot of the grunt work around here while the nurses hold so much of the responsibility.  I'm pleased to know that most of the nurses are more than willing to help in patient rooms when I ask them, including boosting patients up in bed, and even cleaning up poopy bed messes.  That is encouraging because the nursing home I used to work at a long time ago was just the opposite.  I think the reason for that was because the nursing home nurses had more patients to be looking after during their shifts (sometimes 30) than the nurses here at the hospital do (6-7).
The amount of drains on this floor is incredible, there are foley's, NG's, JP's, not to forget to mention chest tubes.  Sometimes to get a patient all situated just to walk to the bathroom it takes a good 5-7 minutes to wind up all the tubing and cords, only to find out they couldn't go.  Or sometimes the patient becomes incontinent all over the floor while trying to patiently wait for us to gather everything to get them to the bathroom. 
I still haven't "smelled" cdiff, but I had a guy the other day the nurses thought he might have it so they needed a fecal sample and after I collected that and sent it to the specimen lab for processing, it came back negative. 
Last night I took care of an obese patient who has been on our floor for the past 2 years and dying.  She last took a shower around Thanksgiving time and has refused ever since because she had a fall afterwards.  When one of my fellow CNA's went in to change her bottom, we rolled her on her side and the smell of ammonia was soo strong it took my breath away and stung my eyes.  She was a nice lady and all but it's a shame no one tries to continue asking daily for her to take a shower.  At this point, it's almost like she shouldn't have a choice, just get her in there somehow and clean her up.
I'll have more to write this weekend about family and fun stuff, until then I'll just be sitting here waiting for the clock to strike 2230, so I can go home.  At least tonight my feet won't hurt as much because I've been sitting in this chair for a good while.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Let the REAL Summer Begin

On my goodness, if I ever tell you that I want to take a quick couple of classes during the summer, slap me back to reality and tell me no!  The Monday after my nursing classes ended, I chose to start two (3) credit history classes to round out my general education credits needed to graduate.  Both of these classes were extremely intense, heavy reading, daily discussion boards, and a lot of extra worry.  I completed both classes in three weeks, with nearly everyone in my family upset with me.  My hubby was sick of all the time being spent on these classes even his time helping me through it all.  Both my kids felt like all I ever was doing was homework and shooing them out of the room.  My son even broke down in tears because he missed me.  Aww, darn you summer classes!  Either way I just finished taking the finals for these two classes last Friday and Saturday, then I had a day off from work yesterday and here I am back on my blog today.  The simple things in life like blogging bring me great joy.
Speaking of my new job, boy oh boy like I said in my last post (I think), hats off to all nursing staff in hospitals!  My job as a CNA has truly been kicking my butt that coupled with the fact that even though I was hired as casual (min. of 16 hrs per month) during my training weeks I am working more full-time hours.  Full time as a CNA is difficult physically when prior to this my job was sitting on my butt all day.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the workout I’m getting but sometimes walking around non-stop for 6 hours before I can even sit my booty down in a chair is terribly hard to get use to right off the bat.  That coupled with getting to know the unit and where everything is, is another issue.  This past weekend Friday, Saturday, and Sunday I was scheduled three (12) hour shifts back to back but I just couldn’t imagine being able to stand on my feet that many hours so I asked my boss that since I was still training did she think I could just cut back to three (8)’s and she said yes.  I told her eventually I would be at a point where I would be working 12’s but not yet.  I don’t want to get burned out and not complete a month worth of work yet.
Lastly speaking of getting a good workout, recently on fb a few of my friends are commenting about how many calories they’re burning after doing a workout.  So after inquiring about what type of tool they used they said a calorie counter/heart rate monitor wrist watch.  They mentioned that each day they like to try a different activity to see how many calories they burned and then try to do better the next day.  I thought this was just the thing to help me get back into better shape during the summer before starting fall classes again.  So I went up to Wally World and purchased the $30 Proform Multi-Functional Heart Rate Monitor.  This thing is so cool, you can at any point push the button on the front and it will tell you your heart rate and it will also say the percentage of your target heart rate you are using.  I can push another button to see how many calories I am burning by tracking my heart rate.  For instance yesterday during normal daily activities I burned 333 calories in 278 minutes.  Then I went for a 22 minute jog and burned 290 calories.  What a difference huh? 
Alright peeps this is enough for my first blog in a long time.  I’ll write more in the week, especially about how fun it is to wait on my family again and doing wifely and motherly duties that I’ve been missing during my school semesters.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Still There?

Hey people, I haven't forgotten about blog land, terribly sorry I haven't caught up on any blog reading or writing.  I've got a few days left of my terrible history classes that I can't wait to vent all of the up's and down's I've been going through soon.  Plus, Oh.My.Goodness this new CNA job takes it's toll on my body for sure!  Big props to all of you out there who work on your feet for long periods of time, it's been tough acclimating to standing on my feet all day.  Maybe I should think twice about becoming a nurse if I can't even handle being a CNA...
PS, I got to take care of my first dead body...I know you're all dying to hear how it went.  hahahaha, I'll write soon.