Sunday, November 17, 2013

nursing school update: over halfway there

I am over halfway done with nursing school now. In fact, the countdown is on and it is less than 9 months before I graduate. I think I have senioritis.

My post on the start of nursing school is one of the most viewed on my blog. Probably by people who search "nursing school". I figured it would be fun to do another update.

I love nursing school. But it's hecka hard. I'm doing well, but I'm also putting an incredible amount of time and energy into it. I am sure part of the difficulty is due to the accelerated program I'm in. The content itself isn't always difficult, it's just the quantity we need to learn. On top of lots of writing assignments and group projects.

This semester I finally started my first IV (and I've had a few failed attempts to) and inserted a few foley catheters. Yes, these are the exciting things nursing students want to check off their list. A few years into my career, I will be able to do these skills in my sleep. But right now, they are what makes me feel like a nurse.

I am so impressed and at times in awe of the responsibility nurses have, especially in the care of hospital patients. The doctor will come in once, maybe twice in a day. But it's up to a nurse to notice trends in the patient's condition that may indicate they are developing complications or current treatments aren't working. Then they call the doctor and usually make suggestions on what they think the doctor should do about the situation.

Did you know that when a baby is born, if it is healthy, the nurse is the one responsible for assessing the baby and providing care until the pediatrician does rounds--which may not be until the next day? It's all about the nurse.

I have so much to learn, so much to become skilled at. But I cannot wait to be a nurse and do these things on my own. It is very fulfilling.

This semester (Fall) has been so much more manageable than the summer was. I've still had to commute 1 hour twice a week, but the other two days my commute is only 30 minutes. I have a real advantage in my Obstetrics class since I've had three children; I am familiar with almost all of the content and don't have to study much.

I can actually spend time with my family on the weekends (which really means soccer & baseball games) without feeling guilty that I should be studying or doing assignments. Next semester I have fewer units which will hopefully mean it's even more manageable.

The hard parts? Lack of quality time with my husband. Because when the kids are asleep--I'm studying. He has read more books and watched more Netflix on his own than he ever imagined.

Also, it's really hard not making money and feeling really broke. It's amazing how many needs become wants when push comes to shove. I'm wearing the same clothes I've had for two years now. I wear my running shoes for months longer than I probably should. Same for Bean. We have to say no, and wait to the kids a lot--but this is  a good learning experience for them. And for us. I've been working a lot on the  sin of coveting. For real.

Our winter break is 5 weeks, which will be amazing. We've had just 2 weeks off between semesters since January. I want to be productive in life and things around the house. But I want to rest and rejuvenate and enjoy my family completely too.

So, that's a bit about nursing school!

Friday, October 11, 2013

31 days of Whole Food: Day 11

This journey is becoming a true learning experience for me. Committing to Whole 30 has caused me to truly investigate some stomach issues I've been having and reactions to foods.

While I eat mostly Paleo or Primal or whatever you want to call it...I have my fair share of "cheats." I eat chocolate. Dove Chocolate Bars to be specific. They are so creamy and good. And I eat ice cream. Until a few months ago, I ate grains from time to time without any ill effects.

Maybe it's the stress of nursing school. Maybe it was the antibiotics I had to take for a rash by my eye that kept growing and wouldn't go away. Maybe it was...I just don't know.

I have a history of stomach issues. They started when I was in my early 20's. I spent years on meds like Prilosec. I constantly "dieted." After an endoscopy, I was diagnosed with gastroparesis (slow digestion). But I don't recall getting any instructions on how this should affect my eating. I still don't really know.

My stomach got much better during my first pregnancy and I didn't have to go back on meds. But then I lost my gallbladder when my oldest was 9 months old. I'd have times my stomach hurt more than others, times it really didn't bother me. But I had a lot of gas. All the time. Just ask my husband. (Don't mind me, keeping it real).

Then I discovered not eating wheat eliminated 75% of the migraine headaches I was having. And my eating slowly started to change. A few months later I found the 21-Day Sugar Detox and Paleo. I have cut way back on the amount (and sources) of carbs I eat. I added more healthy fat to my diet. I stopped counting calories. I began to focus more on real foods.

It has been very frustrating to have stomach issues resurface when it feels like I've made so many positive changes. I realized I was having major pain and bloating reactions to grains. So they had to go as well. I have a weird reaction to stomach pain. I want to eat more. I feel like if I eat something else maybe it will counteract whatever I ate that caused a bad reaction. I know there is absolutely no truth to this, but it's still my instinct.

I was really hopeful that doing Whole 30 and cutting out dairy and treats (and coffee) that I'd see some improvement. But that hasn't been. So this past week I focused more on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. I ate a lot of chicken bone broth soup. And my stomach still hurt for three days.

Do I have leaky gut? Do I have SIBO or candida overgrowth? Do I have bad digestion? Low stomach acid? Was I an undiagnosed celiac? I still don't know. And I may not. There are a variety of tests that could tell me, but the fix is basically the same.

I can guarantee that stress is a factor.

Maybe this is simply part of getting older. I am over the mid-30's hump now. 40 is on the horizon. The far horizon; but still I see it.

I need to eat whole foods. Nothing irritating. I need to drink a lot of bone broth. I need to eat easily digestible foods. I need to add some supplements into my regimen. I need to listen to my body and it's reactions to various foods.

Because I want to feel better. I don't want to have these relapses.

I did the baking soda test for low stomach acid and failed...or passed, however you want to put it. Low stomach acid is one of my culprits.

The last two days have been a little better. Not as much stomach upset and I've added some more things to my diet. I've had a few things that seem to not digest as well. I'm trying to take a little baking soda in water or raw apple cider vinegar before I eat to aid in digestion until I can buy some HCL.

Whole 30 for me is a lot more about health and wellness than it is about the food I eat or don't eat. Focusing on real food and no indulgences is hard at times, but so worth it. Food should not control us. It can be for our pleasure but there is much more to life than food.

These are the things I'm learning.

Monday, October 7, 2013

31 Days: Day 7

This is the overwhelming sentiment I have this morning. I miss coffee. I don't miss the caffeine, I don't really notice a difference with or without it. But I do miss the morning ritual of the hot, creamy goodness. But I'm living without it. (Again, coffee is part of Whole30, but I'm choosing to not drink it for other reasons). November 1 can't come fast enough!

So, week 2 of Whole 30 is going to look a little different for me. As I've said before, my main goal in this is health and healing my gut. My stomach has still not been great this last week. I have noticed it being especially sensitive to fruit and even processed nuts. Which further confirms my suspicions that I have some sort of bacterial overgrowth going on.

I have decided to meld Whole 30 with the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD). This diet helps starve the bacteria and hopefully get them to die off. So the next few days I'll only be eating chicken soup, pureed carrots, some ground beef and eggs. Then slowly adding other foods as my body tolerates according to their plan. The non-Whole 30 part of these next few days is some gelatin made with grape juice. It's pretty watered down--but it's part of the SCD Intro diet  and since I've read so many people benefiting from this plan, I want to follow it. My goal has not been perfection, but using Whole 30 as a catalyst to help me feel better.

All I did was sign-up to receive the free guides offered on the SCD website (linked above). It's enough info to get started and move along the phases. I'm familiar enough with cooking these kinds of foods I don't really need extra recipes, just the nuts and bolts.

Last night I did enjoy an anniversary dinner and dessert with my husband, along with a stomach ache. But it was worth celebrating with him!

I'm off to stir my boiling carrots and check my meatballs (just meat, nothing else) in the oven.

Happy Whole 30!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

31 days: days 3-5 of Whole Food

I knew I couldn't keep up with everyday posting, but this 31 days challenge still helps me stay on track in my goals and blogging more than I have been. 

So, days 3-5 have been ok. I haven't felt great, but I haven't felt terrible. I think there is some detox going on, some readjusting of my stomach. Which is the goal here. But it can be discouraging to not feel good, even though I'm eating well.

And I'd kill for some coffee and a piece of chocolate.

But, I digress.

I need to do a little more prep for the next week (than I did last week). My biggest challenge is usually green veggies. I can grab leftovers or make a quick meal, but unless we are sitting down to dinner as a family, I don't often have or make the time to prepare veggies. So this week I need to do it in advance. 

After my half cup of coffee on Wednesday, I think I've made it through the caffeine withdrawls. I did have a half cup of decaf on Thursday--knowing that decaf still has a little caffeine and hoping that would help with weaning as well. I had a slight headache the latter part of yesterday that probably would have gone away with caffeine--but it wasn't bad enough to truly need it.

Tomorrow is my 12th anniversary, and I will probably be eating something that's not Whole30. But my goal is not perfection. My goal is to heal my gut and enjoy life. And enjoying a meal with my husband on our anniversary is part of enjoying life and so I'm going to do it. It may be a bit of a setback in the healing process, but I'm okay with that.

Off to check on the blogs of a few of you who have commented you are doing the same! 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

31 days: day 2 of whole food

A quick post before I go to sleep. Today was interesting...a learning experience. 

I learned that I did not do a good job of weaning from coffee. Today's headache was almost as bad as yesterday. But I was in the hospital needing to focus on patient care and learning. 

So my wise sister suggested I not try to be superwoman and drink a little coffee. After all, coffee is actually allowed, I'm just wanting a total reset. 

I drank a half cup of coffee and within 30 minutes my headache was gone. However the cream in my coffee was not Whole 30 compliant. But I just can't do black. 

My plan is still to get off coffee this month, just more slowly. I did go 36 hours without it. So maybe it will be a few days before I need it again. 

I also learned that my stomach isn't a fan of chemicals. Or processed dried fruit. I forgot my afternoon snack so I bought a nut & dried fruit mix. Again, not 100% compliant but in my quest for health I also have to respect my life. Which is crazy. It was my best option for some fat, protein & carbs. In retrospect, I should have just bought a banana. 

Almost instantly my stomach started hurting. And now 6 hours later its still not normal. I skipped dinner & just drank some bone broth. 

No more forgotten snacks! 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

31 Days of Whole Food: Day 1

It's the end of day 1 and caffeine is kicking my butt! I am always jealous of my husband because if he misses a day of drinking caffeine, it has no effect on him. I tried to wean and cut back on my coffee intake last week, and I still have a raging headache. Which has been awesome while I dealt with a sick kid, a dr appointment, studying for an exam, driving an hour, taking a test, driving another hour, getting patient information at the hospital and I'm finally home again to complete an assignment for the morning.

But quite honestly, this is par for the course with my life right now.

However, it's been a mostly successful day of eating whole food.

Pre-workout: small banana (ran 3.5 miles on the treadmill)
Breakfast: 2 eggs cooked in coconut oil, veggies, small banana (I don't know if I needed another banana, but I did feel more satisfied after eating it.
Snack: handful of pistachios
Lunch: Ground beef (organic) with italian spices and spaghetti squash. This was my first time ever cooking and eating spaghetti squash and I was super surprised how much squash it made! I can eat it for days.
Snack: KIND bar. This was my only deviation. I noticed it was in the cupboard and I knew I needed it gone. It was a low sugar variety, but still had some non-whole30 ingredients.
Pre-dinner: LARABAR
Dinner (8pm): Re-heated grilled chicken thigh.

It was a weird evening with my schedule, so dinner wasn't normal. I may find something else to eat before bed but not sure.

So, day 1 is a wrap!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Another 31 Days

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3-5
Day 7
Day 11

Last October I kinda participated in The Nester's 31 Days, a challenge to blog for all 31 days in October on a topic of your choosing.

I blogged 8 times in 31 days last year, so not a complete success. However, I made a major change in my life that month that has stuck. I bid farewell to my sweet nectar, my frosty goodness, my dark princess, one of the loves of my life. I quit my daily Diet Coke habit after 31 days of abstinence last October. Sometimes I still take a drink or two (because my husband drinks it) and very rarely half a can. I don't really like how it tastes anymore, and when I drink a little it's usually for the cold crispness or the bubbles on my tongue.

I am SO happy I stopped drinking Diet Coke. I know it wasn't great for my health and the effects of it build over time. Plus every day I felt slightly obsessed with when and where I would drink a soda. It was a little too controlling.

I have made so many changes to my eating over the past year. I have also learned a lot about various issues I've been plagued with on and off in my adult life.

It's been a baby step process. The overall goal being health and wellness. In nursing school it is drilled into us over and over again that family history and genetics are major risk factors in almost every disease process. My family has a history of Type 2 Diabetes, stroke, hypertension, osteoporosis, early hip replacement, chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. The healthier I can be helps me fight against these odds.

Plus I want to feel good!

My sister asked me a few weeks ago if I wanted to participate in a Whole 30 with her in October. It's not drastically different from my current eating habits, but enough to make it a challenge. My stomach is extremely sensitive and I want to heal it.

Then I remembered the 31 Days challenge and thought it would be a great way to keep me on track and excited about Whole 30.

So here goes! For the next 31 days I will share various things I've learned about nutrition, health, wellness, gut health and what I'm eating on Whole 30. I can't promise there will be 31 days of posts (you know--nursing school, 3 kids etc) but maybe you can learn with me along the way.

I just drank my last cup of coffee for a month, and that is a little sad. I love coffee. Not for the caffeine,but for the morning routine of a hot, robust drink. And coffee in and of itself isn't bad for you, but it can slow the gut healing process and it's good to give it up a few times a year to reset your body.

But that's how dedicated I want to be to this--I will give up my coffee for a month.

Saddle up. Let's go.

Friday, August 30, 2013

summer in pictures

This summer has been drastically different than last year. I had just resigned from my job and took the summer "off" before starting nursing school. I've always been a working mom and it was the first extended period of time I've had where being a mom was the only thing I had to do. (I am of the belief that ALL moms are full-time moms, whether you work or not).

I dubbed it the "summer of fun." I think we went to the beach or bay almost weekly. We went to the $1 kid movies, swam a lot and did as many fun things as we possibly could. And let's not forget spending two days at Disneyland. Which spoiled my children and they ask constantly when we can go again.

This summer though, was the most intense of my nursing school program. I was gone 40+ hrs a week and spend 2 nights a week away from home. We have an awesome babysitter/nanny and great family that took care of the kids. And I have an amazing husband who is an incredible father and did a lot of solo parenting this summer.

In spite of the difference between the summers, I think my kid still had a pretty good summer.

Don't you put your blow up pool in the front yard? 

6yr old cousins losing teeth! 

 And the slip 'n slide goes in the front too, right? (in our defense...our backyard is concrete only...our grass is only in the front!)

Kids bowl free!! 

 Sparklers make the 4th of July extra special 

 It is both a blessing and a curse that a delicious ice cream shop is a 5 minute walk from our house. The kids are great at talking grandparents and babysitters into taking them there!

 Miss Rose placed Rec Center basketball this summer and LOVED it.

Mama and Lily trip to Sea World while big sisters were at VBS

Fun with neighbors

We still found a few Mondays to make it to the sea.

 Grammy's pool is always a favorite.

For me, the highlight of the summer was Miss Rose getting baptized along with over 200 others from our church. (photo with our pastor)

I was so proud of her for making this decision. She really took it to heart and the smile on her face after she came up out of the water will be imprinted in my mind always.

The Lord provided and we finished off the summer (the day before my classes started) with a trip to the new Sea World water park in town. We got there just after it opened and stayed until closing. The kids were the perfect age for it and I'm hoping we can save up and buy passes for next summer.

School starts on Tuesday for the kids. Another summer in the books. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

12 things I learned from my first year of nursing school

She lives!

My last post was at the end of May, during my short break before the summer semester. I have only blogged 12 times so far in 2013.

Perhaps that tells you a little about what life is like as a mom of 3 in nursing school.

I have no real complaints though. There are different seasons of life and it's important to know what your priorities are and focus on those, not worrying about those things you've had to put aside. As much as I love this little space, writing and sharing my life and thoughts--it has been on the back burner.

I have another two weeks off before the start of the Fall semester, so I thought I'd try to get a few posts in. I cannot predict how much I'll be able to write once school starts again.

And truly this is mostly for me, to remember this season and what I'm learning and experiencing. Because there are probably all of 12 people who will read this--most of them related to me!

I knew that this summer would be challenging. 15 units in 10 weeks. And for fun, I had to throw in another 3-unit online class that needed to be completed by the end of summer, thanks to some miscommunication. It was a KILLER. We had at least one test almost every Friday. Some weeks we had two tests and a quiz. On top of that, most weeks we had at least one written assignment due. Many were "group projects" which required collaboration and coordination.

It was quite the pinnacle of my first year of nursing school.

So, here are 12 things I've learned during 12 months of nursing school.

1. My husband is off the charts incredible. There is absolutely no way I could have survived and succeeded without him. And there is no way our girls would have continued to thrive. My family comes above all, and if I felt like they were suffering too much, I couldn't  continue. But Bean kept life going and would often send me off to study while he handled things at home. Yes, my girls missed mama a lot--but they are well loved by daddy too.

2. Nursing school--an accelerated program--is harder than I expected. Pretty much the most challenging thing I've done educationally thus far. And I have a few degrees under my belt already. The material itself is not hard--but the speed at which you need to learn it and know it well, is what makes it hard. I've never studied so hard in my life.

3. Being surrounded by smart and motivated people is very beneficial. I think this applies to many areas of life. We've had several professors tell us that we are a "very smart cohort." Knowing that my classmates are studying hard and doing well in our classes motivates me to do the same--no excuses that I have a family or am commuting 1-hour each way. If you are surrounded by people (friends, career etc) who are okay with mediocre, you will be too. Always look for those who will challenge you and want you to do better.

4. Balance is key to success, no matter how hard the task. I am one of three in my cohort with kids (one has 1, another has 3). Most aren't working and the only priority besides nursing school, is a significant other. They spend A LOT of time studying and not a lot of time sleeping. Yes, I spend a lot of time studying too--but I have a lot less time than most. I have to balance time with my family, taking care of my home (although it's been pretty messy this summer!) and squeezing in some self-care here and there. I truly believe having to strike this balance has helped me be successful in my classes, especially because I have to study smart since I may not have as long.

5. Sleep trumps extra studying. Every time. If there is one thing about being an "older student" and one with kids, it's that I can't pull all-nighters. I just can't function and I don't even have the brain power to learn in the wee hours of the morning. I need at least 6hrs of sleep, but 7 is more ideal. I have found that I do much better going to sleep at a normal time, sleeping 7hrs and then waking up early to study a little more before an exam. This keeps my body rested and my stress levels lower and my health strong. I have only been sick once this year and was able to get over it quickly.

6. I can survive without exercise. I have exercised, especially running, consistently for the last 3-4 years. There may have been a few weeks off here and there for various reasons, but exercise has been an important outlet for me. During the spring I was still able to keep up with exercising a few times a week. But a few weeks into summer, something had to give. I just didn't have the time for the workout, the stretching, the shower afterwards. I was "in school" 4 days a week, many days needing to wake between 5am and 6am. When I'd get home, my family needed me, and then there was so much homework and studying--I just had to let exercise go. Trying to fit it in created more stress than it released. Yet, I survived. I didn't gain weight. I kept my sanity.

7. I really love my kids. I calculated that I was gone more than 40-hours each week this summer. I've been blessed to never work a typical 40-hr-week job and so this was a new experience for all of us. I missed them--and their crazy ways--a lot. I was very thankful for FaceTime and getting to see their faces on the nights I wasn't home. It was definitely hard on them to have me gone so much. The experience helped me develop more patience too. I didn't want to waste my precious time with them being impatient and doing a lot of yelling.

8. Nourishing foods really do make a difference. I'll probably try to share more on this later, but I am prone to headaches and stomach issues--both of which are aggravated by stress. Of which there was a lot to go around the last months. I found that eating foods that nourish my body helped these issues not affect as much as they normally might. So what did I eat you ask? A lot of bacon, eggs, meat and vegetables. Not a lot of fruit or processed foods. My indulgences were chocolate and ice cream, as long as I was feeling good--they didn't have ill effects. Oh, and I kept Starbucks in business.

9. Chipotle is the best. I ate there almost every Friday. And by almost, I think I mean every. A steak salad with salsa and guacamole is almost my favorite meal. No beans, rice or tortilla necessary.

10. Texts, Facebook messages and emails from friends mean THE MOST. I can't tell you how many times I'd be struggling through a day, tired, missing my family, stressing over tests, assignments or grades--and I'd get a text out of the blue from a friend saying they were praying for me, they believed in me, helping me countdown to the end of the summer. If you have a friend going through a difficult time or working hard towards a goal and they come to mind--TELL THEM! It truly means so much.

11. Friends who open their home to you multiple times a week are an answer to prayer. You know that Garth Brooks song "Unanswered Prayers"? Well a few years ago a good friend, who also has three daughters, moved an hour away. And I was not happy. But guess what. She happens to live less than 10 minutes from the clinical sites I've been assigned to the last two semesters and 15 minutes from my school campus. AND she has a guest bedroom. This summer I stayed at her house twice a week and studied in her cozy guest room for almost every test. I had to go to the hospital on Tuesday nights and be there again Wednesday morning at 6:45am. Being able to spend the night in the area made a world of difference.

12. Pursuing your dreams is amazing...and amazingly difficult. If I had known how this would affect my family and how challenging it would be--I may have thought twice before signing up. But the fact remains, I am fulfilling a life-long dream and a purpose I believe God destined me for. I believe God purposed for me to be in full-time ministry for 11 years, and now he has plans for me as a nurse. I am glad I wasn't afraid to follow that dream and make these changes. I am grateful for a husband, family and friends who are so supportive and believe in me. When I finish this--I'm throwing THEM a party.

There are so many other things I'm learning and people I could give props to. But this is long enough, and hopefully I'll be back to post again soon.

Friday, May 17, 2013

the latest and the greatest

I am almost a week in to my brief, three-week break between Spring and Summer semesters. The nursing program I'm in is accelerated, which means we go through two summers AND this summer happens to be 15 units in 10 weeks.

I've been petitioning on Facebook for a full-time nanny and maid, willing to work without pay! HA!! It's going to be an interesting summer. But currently I am 1/3 done with the program and after the summer I will be 1/2 done and it's all downhill from there, right?!

I absolutely love being in nursing school. I love what I'm learning and how I will get to use it. There are days I am sad that I wasn't a lifelong pastor. That position is so rewarding too. Even though when I started that journey, I knew deep inside it would probably be a long season, but just a season, it's still difficult at times. But I am 100% confident that God has me in this new season, on a new journey for reasons that are yet unknown to me. I am excited to see how he will use my new career.

Ministry will always be there. I can't be very involved right now with my schedule, but once I am done with school and in the workforce again, I will be able to do so much more on a volunteer basis and that is excited. However, I was recently added to the worship team rotation at our church. I sang last Saturday night for the first time and it was such a privilege. Growing up, I loved to sing and finally in college I had the opportunity to be on a worship team for the first time. It shaped so much of who I am today and being a part of worship is vital to my soul! It was a new experience, singing background vocals instead of leading, but I really enjoyed being there to worship without the pressure of being in charge. I'm also in a Life Group (small group) for the first time and really benefitting from it. I'm learning to sit back and soak it in and not feel like I need to answer every question or have a response to everything--even though as a former pastor, I do.

The support of my family and friends through this season has been incredible. From my husband altering his schedule time and again, to friends and family helping with watching the kids, and being able to spend the night at a friend's who lives close to my school---every success I have, is credited to them, as much as me. I couldn't be in school or study without them. It takes a village to send mom to nursing school, and I am thankful for the little village that surrounds me.

Last summer was the summer of fun. It was the first time in my career life and in motherhood that  I wasn't working at all, for a significant amount of time--not related to having a baby. The kids and I were in the sand at least once a week, went to Sea World numerous times and many pools. This summer will look a little different, since I'll be in school 4 days a week and we will again be depending on the generosity of our village to help care for them. Although the kids may grumble some, I hope and pray that down the road they will look back and see the sacrifices we made as a family, and how it was worth it in the end. That's an important life lesson for them.

We are seeing God provide and answer prayer, which helps us know even though the path is difficult at times, we are on the right one.

I'm off to get ready for a wedding now! Looking forward to a night spent with my sisters and my hot Mexican husband.

Life is good.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

alas, a cast

If only someone would invent a mental blogging machine, I'd have some stellar posts almost daily.

But alas, I don't even know if that is in the works.

{sidenote, I like the word "alas." It seems very sophisticated.}

So tomorrow afternoon, we hope to say goodbye to this.

Although this bright white is LONG GONE. It's signed and dirty and a lot of the cotton along the edges is tearing and ratty.

My kindergardener has had a cast for over 4 weeks now, and this is the first time I've sat down to blog about it. Not that I need to do it for the few readers I have, but I enjoy this space as a journal of our family life and stories.

So, four weeks ago this past Sunday I was home studying for an exam and Bean took the kids to the park. We've been going to this park since Miss Rose was 1 and now Bean's brother and his family happen to live across the street from it! So all the cousins were playing there too. The kids love this zip line apparatus.

Gracie got a push from her cousin on it. She says she was going too fast and we aren't sure how, but she fell forward and caught herself with her arms (what we think). There were a lot of tears and she wasn't really calming down, so Bean brought her home to me.

 As soon as I got a look at her wrist, I had a pretty strong suspicion that it was broken. We aren't alarmists with our children and try to not take them in for everything, but judging by the fact that 20-30 minutes later she hadn't calmed down (unusual) and what her wrist looked like, I decided to take her to the Emergency Room. I knew Urgent Care would send us there if it was broken, so might as well go there first.

In Triage, the nurse said "well, I don't have x-ray vision, but judging by what I see, I'd say it's broken."

I took these pictures right before they put the cast on. Her wrist was broken just down from her thumb (her radius) and you can somewhat see the extra bump on her wrist.

We had to wait almost three hours to make sure her stomach was empty in case she needed to be sedated to set the bone. At that point, we'd taken x-rays, but it wasn't confirmed it was broken yet. I wish they would have looked at the x-ray faster because she DIDN'T need sedation, so we could have been out of there faster. I was so relieved and grateful sedation wasn't necessary since she had JUST been under anesthesia 10 days prior for her eye surgery.

 Gracie was so incredibly brave. The orthopedist told me they would give her arm "a little push" during casting to make sure the bone was in place. No pain medication was offered, so I assumed it wouldn't be too bad. However, when the tech was casting her the "little push" was more like 30 seconds of pushing a few different times. My sweet girl was crying so hard and even screamed out a few times in pain. She hated that she screamed, but it hurt her badly. It was very, very hard for mama to watch. We were both very happy when that was over.

I was worried that Gracie wouldn't sleep well that night. She was anxious going to bed and not knowing what to do with her cast. But since she sleeps with 7,458 stuffed animals and pillow pets, we found the right one to support her arm and make her comfortable--and she slept the entire night!

Through this process, I found so many things to be grateful for. I was grateful I was home when this happened, and able to take her to the ER--I wasn't at school. I was grateful she didn't have to be sedated. And SO grateful that I didn't have to be at school until 10am (instead of 8am) the next day, so I was able to take Gracie to school.

She was extremely anxious about going to school, because of course she is right-handed and broke her right wrist. Since the neighbors drive our kids to school on Tuesday and Wednesdays, I felt like it was really important that one of us take Gracie her first day with the class. All morning Gracie resisted and kept asking to stay home. I told her we were at least going to try and talk to her teacher and if she truly didn't want to stay, I would bring her home.

About 10 minutes before it was time to leave, Gracie turned a corner and said "let's make sure and bring my backpack just in case I want to stay." When we got to school, I started talking to Gracie's teacher at the door. She walked in the classroom, started putting her stuff away and sat on her square. I was SO proud of her. A few weeks ago one of the moms who volunteers in the classroom told me that she asked her son if he was helping Gracie and he said "no, she doesn't need help. She just figures out how to do things on her own."

And that sums it up! She adjusted incredibly well. Gracie has learned to write with her cast--even though it's not as neat as it would normally be. We were told to try to keep her from running, riding stuff, climbing etc and that's been almost impossible!

Just a few days later she was dancing in a leotard, cast and all.

Gracie celebrated her 6th birthday with a cast.

She had a Build-A-Bear birthday party.

And has been an all-around incredible trooper!

But...we are REALLY excited to get her arm checked tomorrow and hopefully get the cast off. Only on a few occasions has she complained of pain when her arm is pushed or turned a certain way. Not being able to fully wash her right hand and arm just grosses me out! I'm sure it smells lovely in there too.
Gracie was my first child with a cast, and hopefully we won't be repeating the experience anytime soon. 

Then next month, we go back in to the optometrist to check up on her eye. It seems to be healing very well and I think the small wound that's left currently, is less noticeable then the "bump" (chalazion) was. And that will keep healing as well.

We could use the rest of the year medical-drama free.