Archive for July, 2008

It’s not just Harry Potter that has kids crazed, begging their parents for preorders, and hoping to stay up to go to book release parties.  This Twilight series has kids (girls?) going nuts, too.

I just preordered Breaking Dawn, and we might go to the midnight party at River Lights (Second Edition) to get our copy.  It’s crazy, but in a way it’s crazy NOT to encourage enthusiasm for reading.  When our eldest was born in 1995, who would have thought that part of her social life would have included parties for books? And that the hottest thing to get isn’t new sneakers, or jeans, but a new book?

Not too bad, if you ask me.

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I knew that it would happen in steps. Today, I heard of the deaths of two residents from where my first clinical experience in school was.  I didn’t witness it, but it was the first time that someone I had some responsibility for, even in a very limited manner, has died.

I’m analying/overanalyizing my reaction.  I was very worried about it, selfishly. After some volunteer work a number of years ago, I saw a rape victim in the ER I was in.  It really rattled me for a while.  So I was concerned that with each step like this, with each stage, (like the first time I did anything with a hospice patient) I’d back down. I’d decide that nursing wasn’t for me.

But I felt sadness, and fond memories.  I found out through the obituary that a name that one resident would say all the time was actually a special relative to her. That made me smile, because it meant even though the fog of dementia, there was still someone from before that touched her so deeply, it stayed.  That spoke to me a lot about the human condition, and the power we all have to touch people.  Who will I remember? Who will remember me?

And it was nice to talk to family members a bit about this. They knew who I was talking about, and could share in my bit of sadness. The thought of that ripple, of people even from the fringes of your life, thinking about your passing and remembering you.

Anyway, my reaction was not what I expected. I found myself thinking, “Did I do enough? Did I make the last days of their life more pleasant? Or was I a burden? Did I rush too much? Was I impatient? Or did I pick up on their non verbal cues and give them what they needed to be as happy as they could be?”

I’d like to think that I was a positive part of their life, or at least neutral. I’d hate to think that I was part of what was sad about the end.  And I have to focus on that, throughout my career. Am I doing enough? Am I making their life better, or worse?

And I hope to constantly check my feelings, like this. I want to be good, and I don’t want to burn out. So, lots of navel gazing for me.

And goodbye to my friends, both in their 90s, who I was just a small blip in their long, long lives.  They touched me.

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You know what?

I think people should just make their own dancing videos like that. In their own home town. And then upload them together. As great as Matt is, why can’t we do it without him?

What do you think?  Upload ’em all as replies to Matt’s videos on youtube.

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APOD: 2008 July 22 – Happy People Dancing on Planet Earth

Dancing Matt made Astronomy Picture of the Day.

I want to know, here, what makes you happy.  One thing. More, if you want, but I want to see a big huge thread of people, even strangers, telling me what makes them happy. I want a happy blog. I want happy people. I want to see what makes people all over the world happy.

Pass this on, if you will, to me this is better than sending me money via Paypal, or clicking on ads I don’t have or whatever.  As much as I would like people to click on photos and go OOO and AAHHH or comment and other things that boost my virtual ego,  I think having a post of people from all over telling me what makes them happy would be something I can always look back upon to make me smile when I need it.

Bookmark this, if you want, if there are good happy thoughts here.  You can use it for a boost, too.

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I just did a bio of sorts to catch up people I haven’t seen in years who are on facebook, classmates, myspace, and so on.  If you’re interested in filling in some blanks, there they are.

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Having compassion for people you agree with and share the same culture and values as is easy.

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The mayor is always spouting about how green our city is.  There’s all sorts of little initiatives that they’ve done to make it green, and most seem to be construction related, or dealing with government buildings.

They neglect one of the biggest things that would make a city green.

Public transportation.

Because of school, I REALLY need to do some shopping tomorrow.   The busses? Not running. But then, the buses don’t run early enough for me to go to clinicals, don’t run late enough for people to go out after school, or work (realistically you’re in deep doo-doo after 4pm).  No one can take a bus to church unless they are a Seventh Day Adventist, since they don’t run on Sundays.  They give free rides to the pool but stop running before the pool closes!

Furthermore, the people who need the buses the most, the elderly, the disabled, and kids, are the ones who are getting slighted.  Sometimes the elderly and disabled can get the door to door service, if they pass the application process, but even that is limited, just like the regular service.

The only thing that has decent service is the trolley. The one set up for tourists. Longer hours, more days.

So I am proud of my city for trying to be green, but disappointed that this is one of many ways they neglect the really powerful ways of making an impact for so many.  Coupled with how their traffic lights are timed in dangerous and deadly ways to make it difficult to cross some streets, they’re catering to those driving in private cars.  They should be encouraging people to walk, take public transportation, or ride bikes.  They aren’t doing any of that, sadly.

Let’s hope Dubuque makes an honest commitment to being green, and beefs up its public transit. If they want to continue to draw business here, they’re going to need to understand that businesses care about their workers and need to know their workers can get around. Businesses that are coming from places with adequate public transportation will be disappointed in the wholely inadequate transit we have here.

Yes, I’d love a train to Chicago, which gets so much ink in the Telegraph Herald. That would be great! But maybe the paper should look into how we’re not truly green if we keep ignoring our public transit needs.  They say not enough people ride but who wants to ride if it takes an hour to get to the west end to shop, and then you have to wait up to an hour to go home when you are done?  Or if you know you can’t use it after work?

Mayor Buol? Reevaluate your green pledge.  Do something for the environment, the city, and those who don’t drive.  I know there is a lot of focus on the richer part of town, but I think improved bus service can improve the lives of people all over Dubuque.  Telling people ‘replace one ride a month’ is MEANINGLESS if you can’t back it up with adequate public transportation.

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This week, I start a clinical component of my education, in a nursing home.  So, to prepare us, the school had us watch a 20 minute or so video put out by the American Psychiatric Nurses Association.  It was about psychiatric issues in residential care facilities, including dementia.  It was very thorough, blunt, and educational.  (I will admit it was also similar to life with an autistic child.)

Anyways, we had a pop verbal quiz by our instructor, which was as enlightening as the lecture we had, as well as the video.  It was just one question.

“What was the name of the four residents highlighted in the video?”

And this is why I want to stay here. I’ve run into more compassionate people here, than anywhere else.

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