Saturday, July 28, 2012

Worst Hospital Design Features

Recently ran across this article and thought we all could relate in so many ways...

The Ten Worst Hospital Design Features: A Family Member’s Perspective

I just spent the last 8 days in the hospital, at the bedside of a loved one. Although I squirmed the whole way through a tenuous ICU course and brief stop-over in a step-down unit, it was good for me to be reminded of what it feels like to be a patient – or at least the family member of one – in the hospital. The good news is that the staff were (by and large) excellent, and no major medical errors occurred. The bad news is that the experience was fairly horrific, mostly because of preventable design and process flaws. Having worked in a number of hospitals over the years, I recognized that these flaws were commonplace. So I’ve decided to tilt at this great hospital design “windmill” on my blog – with the hope that someone somewhere will make their hospital a friendlier place because of it.
Most of these design and process flaws have one thing in common: they prevent the patient from sleeping. In some circles, sleep deprivation is an organized form of torture reserved only for the most dangerous of terrorists. In other circles, it is hospital policy. And so, without further ado, here is my top 10 list of annoying hospital design flaws:
#1: False Alarms. Every piece of hospital equipment seems to be designed to beep for a complex list of reasons, many of which are either irrelevant or unhelpful. I snapped a photo of a particularly amusing (to me anyway) alarm (see above). This was a bed alert, signaling the “patient exit” of an intubated and sedated gentleman in the ICU. Not only was the location of the alert sign curious (if you could get close enough to the alert screen to read the text, you would surely already have noticed that the patient was AWOL) but it was triggered by mattress pressure changes that occurred when the patient was repositioned every 2 hours (as per ICU pressure ulcer prevention protocol).
The I.V. drip machines are probably one of the worst noise pollution offenders, beeping aggressively when an I.V. *might* need to be changed or when the patient coughs (this triggers the backflow pressure alarm, leading it to believe that a tube is blocked). Of course, I also thoroughly enjoyed the vitals monitor that beeped every time my loved one registered atrial fibrillation on the EKG strip – a rhythm he has been in and out of for years of his life.
#2: Intercom Systems. Apparently, some hospital intercom systems are wired into every patient room and permanently set at “full volume.” This way, every resting patient can enjoy the bleating cries for housekeeping, tray pickup, incoming nurse phone calls,physician pages, and transport requests for the entire floor full of individuals undergoing the sleep deprivation protocol.
#3: The Same Questions Ad Nauseum. Over-specialization is never more apparent than in the inpatient setting. There is a different team of doctors, nurses, PAs, and techs for every organ system – and sometimes one organ can have four teams of specialists. Take the heart for example – its electrical system has the cardiac electrophysiology team, the plumbing has the cardiothoracic surgery team, the cardiologists are the “minimally invasive” plumbers, and the intensivists take care of the heart in the ICU. Not only is a patient assigned all these individual micro-managing teams, but they work in groups – where they rotate vacations and on-call coverage with one another. This virtually insures that the sleep-deprived patient will be asked the same questions relentlessly by people who are seeing him for the very first time at 20 minute intervals throughout the day.
#4: Inopportune Intrusions. There are certain bodily functions that benefit from privacy. I was beginning to suspect that the plastic urinal was attached to the staff call bell after the fifth time that someone summarily entered my loved one’s room mid-stream. Enough said.
#5: Poorly Designed Tubing. Oxygen-carrying nasal cannulas seem to be designed to maintain a slight diagonal force on the face at all times. This results in the slow slide of the prongs from the nostrils towards the eye. Since the human eye is less efficient at absorbing oxygen than the lungs, one can guess what might happen to oxygen saturation levels to the average, sleep-deprived patient, and the resulting flurry of nursing disturbance that occurs at regular intervals throughout the night (and day). My loved one particularly enjoyed the flow of air pointed directly into his left eye as he attempted to rest.
To see the next 5, continue reading the article here.

I'd say they nailed it. What do you think?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Mckenna Chowing Down

Just a typical day of feeding the beast...

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Thankful Thursday: New Things & Morning Ritual

It's thankful Thursday time! We all have so much to be thankful for and we love to take this opportunity just to write down each and everything that comes to mind. Please take this time to share with us what you're thankful for as well. If you have a blog expressing your thankfulness, please share the link! Without further ado, here's what we're thankful for:

Mandi's List:

I'm thankful for a baby with personality. Mckenna is such a little bundle of personality already. From waving at every person in public places, to making noises that make us laugh, to dancing any time music (or anything that sounds like music) is on. I love it.

I'm thankful for family time. My parents were in town for a month and have now left. I loved getting to spend time with them, and getting to watch them with Mckenna. I have two of the most incredible parents in the world. They are both so fun, funny, loving, and awesome!! I can't wait til they move back for good one day!!

I'm thankful for my hubby and his willingness to try new things. Ronnie was willing to try some new classes at the gym and we've had SO much fun. Plus, class is much more awesome when I get to look over at my sexy hubby with his muscles flexing and working hard! Hehe :)

Ronnie's List:

I'm thankful for our morning ritual. When Mckenna first wakes up in the morning, around 6am, Mandi is the one to tend to her as we are still breastfeeding. After Mckenna is down however, Mandi reports that Mckenna starts saying "da da da da" and looking around for me. After awhile, Mandi brings Mckenna into our room and we have a little family snuggle time while Mck plays with my oxygen tubing. It's awesome!!

I'm thankful for Yelp. If you don't know what Yelp is, check it out at, but it's basically a good way to find peer-reviewed restaurants, stores, dentists, etc. I use Yelp almost anytime I'm picking a place to eat; I've found our "bug guy" through the site; I found our dentist through Yelp. It's very rare that the Yelp community leads you astray.

I'm thankful for Thankful Thursdays. It's very rare that I just slow down and ponder something. But every time we write about what we're thankful for, it gives me the opportunity to just take a deep breath, reflect and be still. Nice little 10 minute break :)

So, what are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Workouts Get BORING

Let's face it, if you get to the gym with any kind of regularity, the workouts you do quickly become rather monotonous. I know for me, it usually at about the 6 week mark of doing the same workout routine that I'm ready for a new one. In fact, just the other day, I overheard a "TV trainer" say it's wise to switch up your routine every 6 sessions or so to avoid muscle memory and/or just going through the motions. And with all of the new workout crazes that stress "muscle confusion" and a host of varying movements. I'd say that it is pretty sound strategy.

With this in mind, I've recently ventured into something new at our gym (with a little coaxing from Mandi of course). The past couple of weeks, we've been giving group classes a shot. 

Leading up to this point, I was never really interested in the group class setting. Here were my reasons:

1. The classes are generally full of women, and consequently
2. All of the men in the gym are lifting weights
3. Seemed to be pretty cheesy
4. Intimated by the constant movement
5. Figured my two left feet wouldn't be great for all of the different steps
6. Did I mention that classes are for women?

So as you see, it's not as if I had some slam-dunk reason as to why I never gave the classes a shot. I did however need a little bit of a push by Mandi to actually give them a chance.

I'm glad she pushed.

We started with a class called Body Pump which is essentially a full-body workout using barbells and hand weights. It's set to various music tracks and focuses mostly on form as well as varying repetitions, positions and movements. It all feels pretty good, except for the leg portion of the class. It's crazy how weak my legs have gotten. Half way through the class I couldn't have the slightest bend in my knee without my legs shaking. I felt Body Pump for a good 3 to 4 days after my initial class. If you saw me, you would have thought that I rode in on a horse.

Yesterday, we gave Body Combat a shot. This is a high energy class that has you throwing jabs, uppercuts, hooks and various kicks for about an hour straight. I couldn't believe how much I was sweating just after the "warm-up" had taken place. I was coughing up storm and may need to look into a mucus bucket to bring with me next time. :)

Anyway, what's the point of this blog? Well, if you find yourself "going through the motions" with your exercise routine, switch it up. Don't be afraid to challenge yourself. Don't be too uncomfortable with change. Get out there and try something that you've never done before. Whatever you decide to do, give it a fair shot and don't second guess yourself. Just go for it!!

I'll be the very first to admit that I was skeptical about changing up our lifting routine. I'm just so very thankful I did...even if I did "kick and scream" a bit on my way to the first class. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Are You a Dream Cheerleader?

Mandi had a great post yesterday about dreams not coming true when looking at it from our perspective, yet still living the dream since we aren't the ones in control. If you didn't get a chance, you should really check out the post, it's a good one!

It got me thinking back to my childhood, my dreams, and how my parents fostered that "dream for the stars" mentality in me.

If I were to hone in on one point for this blog however, it would be this - Parents, you should be the biggest cheerleader ever in the dreams department.

It's funny, when I was young (confession time), I wanted to be a lung specialist. I mean, it makes sense right? I was around hospitals all of the time. I could handle all of the jargon that was thrown around. Blood and guts have never bothered me. I was always talking with pulmonologists. And of course, I was for sure going to cure CF one day :)

Now, my dream occupations changed from time to time, but I would generally always land back on being a doctor. In my younger years, I was very vocal about this dream.

It's important to point out that this was also a time in which they were figuring out that we CFers really shouldn't be around each other. It was also a time in which very few CFers attended college, and of those that did, very few graduated. CFers who actually were doctors? Well that was obviously few and far between.

I didn't care though. I was going to be different. I was going to buck the trend and be the first CF specialist with CF that exclusively worked with CF patients. Knowing the time and the situation, you would have thought that my mom would have been "the bearer of bad news" or in the very least realistic with me. Nope, she wasn't. She was my cheerleader, just as it should be.

Growing up, my mom never uttered the words "Ronnie you can't" when it came to my dreams for a future. Talk of college, career, marriage and babies were had on the regular in my house. It was never if those things were going to happen, but when.

Did my mom actually think that I was going to be able to fulfill all of my dreams? Who knows. Better yet, who cares?!?! The important thing is that she raised me to be a believer. A believer in hard work, commitment and personal responsibility. She raised me to chase my dreams in-spite of CF. She raised me to chase me dreams because of CF. My mom convinced me at a very young age that my formula for making my dreams come true was the same formula that my friends used. Surprise! CF had nothing to do with it.

So, did I become a doctor? Not even close. But do I appreciate my mom for knowing that I could have been one if I would have chosen to pursue that path? Absolutely.

You see, our children are no more worse for the wear if you encourage them to chase their dreams and they still fall short or choose another direction. It's more important to us that you believed in our dream as much as we did. We don't need everything to fall into place exactly as planned to be "living the dream".

We do however need a dream, and we need a dream cheerleader. Are you up for the job?

Then grab some pom-poms and let's get to work!!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Real Life Fairy Tales

Anyone else watch The Bachelorette season finale last night? I am a HUGE Bachelor and Bachelorette fan. I don't know if I've ever missed a season (which says a lot because I think it's been on since I was born, right? Ha!) Even though it seems to never work out long term with those couples, I am just such a sucker for fairy tales, so I watch season after season. I love love. I love watching love stories. I actually just love watching happy moments in people's lives. It's inevitable that I cry during every proposal I see, whether it's on The Bachelorette or YouTube. I also have cried at every birth I've ever watched on TV (which is a lot because I'm a TLC junkie). I just absolutely love happy endings. I love watching people's lives unfold (must be why "reality" TV is our favorite).

But my feeling after watching this Bachelorette finale has been different. Sometimes when you watch stuff like that you think, "man, I wish I could relive that moment in my life," or "Gosh I wish I could remember more vividly that time." It always seems so perfect. Like a fairy tale that never exists in reality. But for some reason I didn't think that at all. I couldn't help but feel so blessed for where we sit today. Our life isn't what I used to picture as "a fairy tale". In fact, being married and a mom is what I pictured, but beyond that my life looks different. The big stuff is different than I pictured. I didn't picture living in Arizona. I didn't picture being married to someone with a chronic illness. I didn't picture getting pregnant in a room full of people. I didn't picture my parents living far away. I didn't picture having to work instead of being a stay at home mom. The little stuff is even different. I didn't picture running on little sleep, even with a 9 month old. I didn't picture being a terrible house keeper (yeah, I'm not good about cleaning since Mckenna came along). I didn't picture my life as it is today at all.

But man am I glad that God is in charge of how my life looks today, instead of me. My life may not be "perfect", but it's perfect for me. Ronnie and I note how blessed we are several times a week, and generally the comment is made during or after a situation I never would have picked for myself. A perfect example is my little night monster. We haven't blogged a ton about it, but Mckenna isn't a great sleeper. She never has been. She still wakes in the night, whether it's to eat (although I just re-weaned her...yes,'s been quite the process) or just to cry for a few minutes before falling back to sleep. Her sleep has been such a cause of anxiety for me. I actually used to have serious anxiety every night after putting her down, anticipating the long night I was going to have ahead; trying to push aside hopes of a good night because usually it wouldn't meet my expectations. I still have some anxiety. I certainly never pictured that night time would be such a battle, filled with hours each night (yes, HOURS) in a glider with Mckenna for months upon months. I would be lying if I didn't look at other people's "perfect" sleepers with envy most days. But I'm so blessed to not have it MY way. God gave me Mckenna HIS way. God blessed me with hours each night of quite time, alone, with my daughter. My daughter who never sits still, who's always too busy and active to want to me held and snuggled in the day. God blessed me with snuggles in the stillness of night, just me and her. Calm. Cozy. Bonded. And while I'm a bit exhausted now, I am certain I will look back and miss those nights, and see what a picture perfect real life fairy tale they were.

This is just one example in a series of hundreds. Everything in my life, whether I realize it or not at this moment, is just as it should be. My life is full of uncertainty. Everyone's is. And I often struggle with that. I'm a planner. I'm a control freak. I have pictured all these things that will never come to fruition. But what I have just realized, is that my biggest blessing in life is that many of my dreams will never come true. My dreams are not what's best for me.

My fairy tale lays in God's plan for my life.