Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Walk around the block

I decided the other night that I wanted to start attempting to walk in the evening before I do my exercises. That way I would still be icing my knee afterwards. I could walk as much as I can tolerate (which isn't a lot) and come home do my bike and all my other stretches and stuff than ice like normal. That way I wouldn't be increasing the swelling and pain without ice because it's before everything anyway. So tonight I decided to do it for the first time. My nephew Elijah wanted to go so he got all ready and into the stroller (which was kinda beneficial too because then I kinda had something for a little extra support) so I had thought I would walk to the corner and around the track. That way I wasn't ever too far from home and I could more easily judge my distance I travel (one lap = 1/4 mile) but I was alone tonight with Elijah and even though I brought a flashlight I didn't want to go to the track since it isn't lit. Maybe if another adult was with me. SO I was walking around the block on the sidewalk. A few houses down from me I noticed some changes that were made to the front of a house I used to be at a lot as a kid. That house holds a lot of memories, my little kindergarten boyfriend was there!! They had a tangerine tree and he would pick them, he would peel it and share it with me. Also around that time in school we did the nursery rhyme "hey diddle diddle" as a play. He was the dish and I was the spoon...we ran away together at the end! I thought how sad it was that I never noticed before the changes made to the house! I felt kind of guilty that I don't know my neighbors like I did as a kid.

I continued my walk, I got to the corner and I thought about the lady I see walking to or from the bus stop all the time. I know she rents a room at that house and I never seem to see her when I can offer her a ride... around the corner I pass a house that I always knew belonged to Mrs Tyra. She was a substitute teacher and I always thought she was really nice, I enjoyed her substituting especially because I knew she was kinda my neighbor. (I've since learned she is also LDS) a few more houses down and I remembered some friends I used to play with and the house behind ours, where we would have to go if we ever threw a ball over the fence. Than as I continued I passed Mickey Jones' house. He is/was an actor. He would frequently guest appear on Home Improvement. He also did the local GM dealership commercials way back when. I think my sister knocked on his door once and asked for his autograph, he gave her a signed headshot. I haven't seen him around town lately, but he still has the truck in the driveway from the commercial way back when... A few more houses and there was the house where my aunt used to live when I was younger. My family and her don't really talk much anymore, my cousin Trevor must be about 10 by now at least! I miss them!

Then to the next corner.... I remember this house was the one we would go to as kids to look for lizards. They ran around in their brick fence a lot more than other places it seemed. It was fun trying to catch the lizards. I thought about some of the people I know on some of the other streets in the area, remembering sleep overs and Halloween experiences. Then up and around the corner again I remember the family that lived at that corner house... I remember a picture of me and their girls in a rocking chair. I don't remember their names though. Then there are the Blau's. They've lived down the street as long as I remember. we had 4 girls and they had 4 boys. I remember they had this ride on train toy! I loved that thing! I was so jealous! They are still there but we don't hang out much anymore!

Next to them used to live an elderly lady, she had this weird plant bush stuff in front of her house and there used to be rumors about how she would hide toys in it for us kids. I was always too scared to look though, and now there are no weird bush things. Not that any toys would've survived this long. Than the old Ortiz house! Wow there were some memories there! Those girls and my sisters and I took different roads in life as we got older. They all had kids really young and stuff. I see them around town from time to time! I remember all 3 of them and all my sisters and myself got on my mom's hammock at once... it broke.... mom wasn't too happy about it! Their dad used to tease me about my name all the time. He would ask me what it was claiming to have forgotten it. I would tell him "Renee" and he would say "one egg?" and I'd be like "no" and he'd be like "two eggs?" Anyways I always thought it was weird he couldn't get my name right.... now it's kinda funny to me!

Another house full of memories... Maxine's old house!! I miss her. She was like a grandma to me! My grandma died when I was little and I spent a lot of time with Maxine. Helping her out and stuff. I remember writing about her for some school assignment and it being published in a book of the best entries. I have that book somewhere! I remember after the earthquake being so scared because she wouldn't answer when we knocked on her door and windows! She couldn't find her glasses and was afraid! We still see her daughter and stuff! Than there is right next door... many memories from there! There was a family there when we were little! We are still friends with them! Than there was a few other people and now we talk with those next door but we are not as close as we could be! It still surprises me after my walk how many of my neighbors I knew than and how few I know now! All those memories of so many houses and so many faces and families! What a journey~!

It was a 20 minute walk around the block for me, but it took me years! I think it was a little bit farther than I would have liked to walk, for my knee, but I am glad I went anyway. There is so much to be thankful for! I am glad I went around the block tonight and not to the track. What an experience I would've missed out upon had I skipped it! I am glad where my life is now, and I am glad where I am headed but there are times I sure miss the "good ol days"

Saturday, March 14, 2009


I don't consider myself to be a hero in any way shape or form. Granted I have had many lives within my hands and I have transported many people to the hospital in various stages of life, circumstances and situations, some have survived and others may not have. Some of my coworkers or new trainees at work would be disappointed that maybe they ran transfers (taking non emergency patients to or from the hospital or other facility to or from another hospital or other facility) all day and not 911 calls, I would ask them if anyone died in their ambulance that day? Usually the answer would be "no" I would ask them how many patients they had that day (this number varied obviously, so I will use "X") and so I would then tell them that they saved X number of patients that day because they didn't let those patients die! I have been exposed to a lot in my field of work, I have been on the gunshot or stabbed patients, I have been on the heart attacks or difficulty breathing calls. I have delivered babies. I have defibrillated patients. I have done CPR in someones home, in the ambulance and even occasionally in the ER. I have seen patients "circle the drain" I have gone to funerals for a "frequent flier" who we transported regularly. I cannot say that I save everyone, but I will say that I will do the best I can and unfortunately it is not up to me what the final outcome will always be. It is a job requiring a lot of compassion and strength. It requires multi-tasking abilities and quick thinking in stressful situations. There is a lot too it but like I said I do not consider myself a hero.

Aside from my experiences I have at work I have always tried to donate blood on a mostly regular basis. Now I happen to be a "universal donor" I have O- negative blood. It is the ONLY blood that can be given to any blood type. But at the same time O-neg can ONLY receive O-neg blood. But being the universal blood type it is frequently used in emergency situations. It is also used for newborn babies especially preemies or other patients being treated when the blood type is not yet known. But only 6% of the population (my numbers may be off a little, but it is a small number generally) have O- neg blood. So it is important for donations. Not just of O-neg but any type really but they especially need large supplies of O-neg blood. Blood drive related advertisements and so forth will call donors "heroes". Now I know in more way than one how a blood transfusion can save a life. I've seen the people who need the blood as well as know the stories.

I try to donate regularly. But even knowing it's importance, I still don't consider myself a hero. It's not that I am naive (at least I don't think I am) but I know that there are a lot of people who would donate if they could. There are many factors that prevent some people from being able to, such as a fear of needles. Maybe they don't meet the weight requirements, maybe they have veins that collapse, etc.... there are many reasons why some people don't donate. I don't have a phobia of needles, my veins are generally cooperative and it really only takes about an hour of my time. Plus they give you free cookies and juice after... who wouldn't want that, right?? It feels good to give of myself in that way. I love the feeling of helping someone else. But that is all I consider it, helping them. It's no different in my eyes than last week when I bought a $10 gift card while at target and gave it to the homeless lady at the corner. She needed help and I had just gotten paid. It was something I was capable of doing, most people don't consider a good samaritan a hero for giving some change. So why should I see myself as a hero for giving my time and getting poked for some cookies and juice??

Well today I went to donate blood. I last went in Jan and so as of March 6th I was eligible to donate again. Today they were in Simi. I made my appointment and went to donate. I read over the materials, I had drank lots of fluids to help my veins. I was ready to donate. I knew all my guidelines and was ready. It was no different from my many other donations. I was poked, my temperature and blood pressure were good. My hemoglobin was within it's limits all was well. Than comes the normal questionnaire. I was going through like normal and then came to a question that asked "in the past 12 months (I don't remember exactly what it said for the time frame, but based on what happened next I think that was it) have you received a bone or skin graft?" I remembered my recent knee surgery, I did receive a graft with my operation. It was an achilles allograft. They used the achilles tendon from a cadaver to replace my torn acl in my knee. I thought about it and I remember asking if the graft was like when someone receives an organ, I asked if there was any chance of my body rejecting it? I was told no because there wouldn't be any cells or similar connections to accept or reject it. That there wouldn't be anything to worry about in that manner. So I thought well if it was a tendon is that the same as bone or skin? Technically no, but I hit skip just in case. I continued on and when they came back to review my answers I explained to him what I had been told. I was thinking since it wasn't skin or bone and with what I was told about the cells I should be fine. He looked up some stuff on the computer and I don't think he exactly found what I explained about my surgery but he said because it was a graft from a cadaver I would have to be placed on the deferral list temporarily. He said I couldn't donate today or for 12 months from the time of my operation! So I cannot donate for another 11 months still!! :( I was sad and disappointed! I really wanted to be able to donate and help. But now not only could I not donate today but cannot until Feb of next year!! I signed their paperwork and stuff and they told me I could still take some cookies and juice if I wanted to (but I didn't feel worthy too take any even though they kept offering, I hadn't donated so it didn't seem right, but I must admit the cheez-it's did look tasty) Anyways I was sad and when i got to my car I started to cry! I couldn't believe I was being deferred! I've gone in before and because my hemoglobin was a little low or had been on antibiotics (and forgotten) or whatever I wasn't able to donate, but I was able to go back quickly. I am sad now! I am not able to go back to work yet and now I cannot donate blood either!

With my knee recovery I cannot walk or stand for long periods of time still and so I am not sure there is a lot of other volunteer stuff I can currently do so I feel kind of useless! I feel like I am falling into a rut! It seems all I do is sit on the couch with ice on my knee and color or read or write letters. Not that those are bad things but I am tired of it! I miss helping people!! I know this may seem like a complaining letter when just yesterday I was writing about feeling like an EMT again, but it's not like I know a lot of people spraining their ankles, or who are teachers needing me to visit their students! ....

But I did help the school teachers today in the rally, I stood on the street (for a little while until my blood drive appointment time...)I was in a pink shirt and waved at cars and held signs and stuff, partially because my sister got a pink slip today and especially because I think with all else that is going on economically in the US we definitely shouldn't cut teachers! :( Hopefully if the state of CA decides to make some budget adjustments my sister and many others won't get another more permanent pink slip in May.... anyway we really need to help the teachers! If you really wanna know more you can go to http://www.pinkfriday09.org/ but now what??? How else can I help? I know that in April we are doing service for mormon helping hands, but the flier I saw says we are cleaning the arroyo or something and it specifically says to please not bring kids or disabled because it will be hard work..... normally that's my kind of service project.... but again the knee will hold me back. I think I may try and find a family who needs a babysitter for the day so the parents can go.... than I can still serve but not over-do it.....

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Feeling like an EMT again

So this week I have gotten two opportunities to kinda feel like an EMT again.I really miss working more than anything else while struggling with the knee injuries. But on Monday a family friend called and she had fallen asleep in her recliner with her daughter on her lap. WHen she woke up she tried to get up not realizing that her foot had fallen asleep as well. She twisted her ankle and both her and her daughter fell. She called my mom screaming in pain and said that her boyfriend couldn't get to her to take her to the doctor for like 45 min. But she was also going to need childcare while going to urgent care. My mom and I went over there. I took a cardboard mailing box (I had just picked up at the post office like an hour prior not even planning to mail anything in it, I just figured I would get it to have available) so I felt for her pedal pulse (yes you can find your pulse in your foot if you know where to look and don't push too hard) I marked the pulse (so I would know where it was to re-assess) and I did an assessment, I told her I didn't think it was broken but likely sprained. I took the box and I cut it up and taped it and had her son get me some kitchen towels to pad it. I splinted her foot. I than let her use my crutches to get to my car and my mom and I took her to urgent care... my sister had come over to pick up the kids to take them to our house but at the same time a babysitter had arrived early to watch the kids for the evening anyway so we left them there at the house instead. We got to urgent care and got her all checked in and her boyfriend came so we went ahead and left and he was there to take her home. It was just a bad sprain and the doctor gave her a note to get out of work for the next day. But she said that the doctor or nurse said that it was splinted all really well. She gave me the credit where it was due...except I think she said I was a paramedic. :)
Than earlier this week my friend who is a schoolteacher had asked me to come and speak on Weds with her class and a couple other classes about being an EMT and a little bit about first aid. She said it would really be good if I could come in uniform. She said she had the auditorium reserved for a little more than an hour, that in the beginning she would have a slide show presentation and then I would speak for 10-15 min and after that she would take over again for a continued discussion. I was kind of hesitant because even though I have done school presentations before as an EMT I have always done it with a partner and with the ambulance and a lot more equipment. But then again those moments we also had more than 10-15 min to speak. So I talked a little bit and asked them a few questions regarding first aid and 911 and so forth. Then I kinda let them ask me questions and talked some more based on their questions. It was a lot of fun. Then I stayed at the end to listen to the rest of their discussion about the differences between modern and alternativc medicine styles. Anyway my friend called me earlier and said the kids really loved it! It felt nice to put on the uniform again although I wish it would've meant being on the ambulance again. Although I do still need new boots, not only are they old, worn out and falling apart, but they were being very uncooperative yesterday when I was trying to put them on. THe zippers weren't wanting to zip even after I loosened the laces. ALthough it didn't help that I can't fully bend my knee yet so I was trying to do it with the knee brace on! :)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Kid Talk....

So you can try and fight this all you want (but you'll lose) I have the cutest nephews ever!!! Just so you know.... anyways I will try and post pictures or videos soon but I have to tell you how cute they really are! So my nephew Elijah (who is 2 1/2 now) likes to hide in my closet. Now I don't have closet doors and so there is a curtain over my closet. He likes to go behind the curtain right in the middle and pull it together in front of him. So the other night I was going into my room for something and right as I was walking into my room I hear him say my name. (actually he only says "nay") so instead of turning on my light and doing or getting whatever I came for I hid in the closet behind the curtain. He started saying "nay er are you?" (he doesn't really say where either) my sister said "she's in her room" and he opened the door and didn't see me and left again. (the hall light was on giving him some light in my room, but you have to actually come in a little to see the closet) so I heard him going up and down the hall repeatedly saying "nay er are you?" my sister kept saying I was in my room and he kept peeking just from the door and not seeing me. So after several minutes I made a noise or something so that he came further into my room and found me. He thought it was so funny that he hid in the closet too! But I wish I would've made a voice note on my phone of him saying "nay er are you?"......

Story #2 So Elijah loves money (which who doesn't really?) so he is always looking for money. Anyways he always has change (if you leave it out and he sees it... it's his) so one day I gave him a zippered coin pouch thingy. He somehow started calling it his purse. So my mom was saying that we need to get him a "wallet" since he is a boy and shouldn't be saying purse... I say he's 2 big deal especially since it's a coin purse not an actual purse! Anyway the other night we were at the 99 cents store and they had some of the little vinyl kids wallets. There was an Elmo one and so I asked Elijah if he wanted an Elmo wallet for his money. He of course said yes. So I was opening it up to make sure it was good and not ripped or anything and I noticed there is no zippered area for coins, and so I said "there's no coin thingy" and he said the funniest thing (it was funny because I'm not sure where he got it and I'd never heard him say it before) so after I acknowledged the lack of coin area he says "oh my gosh"..... I was laughing so hard! Not only was it unexpected and in perfect timing he said it so cute!!!! He has the cutest little voice!!! I need to voice note him saying that as well because it's so darn cute!!! Oh my gosh!

My nephew Isaiah (who will be 1 on the 24th) on the other hand for several months now has been growling!! It is so cute... one night I was in my room getting ready for bed when I heard a knocking/scratching at my door. Thinking it was my dog wanting to come in and go to bed also I started towards the door when I noticed a tiny little hand under the door! It was so cute.... anyways I made a video of him scratching at the door and putting his hand under. Than I opened it and continued to video him playing around a little bit. I got a 9 min video and tried to get him to growl without any real success. Than guess what..... of course when the camera stopped rolling guess who started growling at me... little fart-head!!! He is way cute too and has curly hair!!! His curls are way cute now but he will probably hate it when he is older!