Patients With Preventable Illnesses

Patients With Preventable Illnesses

I just got home from a 12 hour shift at the hospital. To say it was backbreaking would be an understatement. Everyday is hard but once in a while I come home feeling like I actually got hit by a truck. Today was one of those days.

I had an epiphany on my drive home. Right as I was pulling on the 405 I started crying about how shaken I was from the exhaustion of running between patients with a to-do list that was impossible and relentless for 12 hours straight.
A few things occurred to me:

  • Amazing is not a good enough word to describe the intelligence, dedication and compassion of the health care staff I work with.
  • Bedside nursing is wearing the crap out of me and I am chronically exhausted.
  • I am so frustrated that so many of my patients are sick with preventable diseases. Worse even is that many of my patients don’t even realize that their illnesses are preventable.  Therefore, they have a hard time taking responsibility for the current state of their health.

How are we supposed to properly treat our patients when so many don’t take responsibly for their own preventable illnesses?

Medication for a patient with type 2 diabetis

Patients have more control over preventable illnesses than they think.  Not taking good care of your heath will eventually catch up with you.

Our medical system and culture lacks and/or ignores preventative healthcare education. (OK so this isn’t really new news, its just that today it was so blatantly apparent on the medicine unit I was working on).

But why?  I ask myself this question all the time.

Preventative health information is available but somehow doesn’t make it to the masses (or if it does, people aren’t listening, or don’t care).

We all know that the poorer socioeconomic areas are lacking in healthcare and nutrition education (for a myriad of reasons, that’s for another conversation). However, the reality is that the lack of knowledge extends to all reaches of the economical spectrum.

In other words, even people who know better still end up as my patient. Including many people in the medical field. WTF!

“The best way to cure an illness is to not get one in the first place.”

-unknown

This is so true. Many illnesses are fueled by a lack of health education and not understanding how important it is to take care of yourself before its too late.

I also realized that what I said in my blog yesterday was not entirely true. Trying to keep things positive was my way of starting off on the right foot. I made it sound like I love healthcare and everything about being a hospital nurse. Not always true, my friends. Sometimes I have very bad days and this was one of them.

This got me thinking….

One of my blogging goals is to give a little nurse education that may help people think more about preventable illnesses.

Staying healthy will prevent future doctor's appointments

Take care of yourself now or pay for it later.  Many ailments that patients come in for are preventable illnesses.

Preventative healthcare is way easier and less stressful than having to cure an illness.

I know what you are probably thinking. Way easier said then done. I hear you on this!

Although I try to take good care of myself, I am far from perfect (people who know me well would agree on this).

My preventative healthcare philosophy:

I have a 95-5 rule. If I am really good to myself 95% of the time (i.e. exercise, eat healthy, meditate, do yoga) then I can relax and not worry about it the other 5% of the time (have some wine, yummy desert, chill). Some weeks it’s closer to a 90-10 rule, and less frequently on special occasion it may be closer to an 85-15 rule (my friends wedding in Palm Springs recently was not even close to this, but I digress…).

My point: The occasional indulgence is a good thing so long as you treat your body good on the regular!

This evening after I walked in from work, I said a brief hello to my husband and went to start a hot bath to wash off my day, both literally and figuratively.

I could not get the pee/C-diff/blood//MRSA/(enter gross pathogen here) off my body fast enough. Today took a lot out of me, and I needed some TLC!

I threw some magnesium bath salts into the hot water, got out my favorite essential oils, retrieved my homemade coffee body scrub and lit a candle. Viola! A homemade oasis for my mind and body to turn out of fight mode and into a slow chill space.

Goodnight and thanks for reading!

Sarah, Mother Nurse Love

An RN Mother on Healthcare, Nurse Life and Family

An RN Mother on Healthcare, Nurse Life and Family

Hi, I’m Sarah and its lovely to meet you. I am happy that you are joining me on my first blog post!

This is my maiden voyage out in the blog writing ocean. I have so many things I want to talk about, and I am craving a creative outlet by which to share my interests: motherhood, life as an RN, healthcare prevention, babies, kid safety, superfoods, my love of yoga and pretty much anything else related to healthcare. Not a very narrow niche. So, for now, I’m just going to start writing and see where my heart leads me.

A little about me:

John, Sarah and little Zoe at the park

Christmas circa 2016, Roseville, CA.

Way, way back in the day at Chico State I majored in Journalism and was a budding writer with a weekly column at our student newspaper, The Orion. Shortly after graduation, I decided that newspaper writing was not for me. So I completely changed my plans and entered the field of medical device sales.

I worked for nine crazy, intense years observing various surgeries and hustling medical equipment to operating rooms up and down the west coast.  Weekly travel was the norm. I probably spent the equivalent of a few years living in hotel rooms during that period of my life.

Over time this left me massively burned out and desperate for a change.  My resume, however, said that I was a salesperson and limited my opportunities.

I made a drastic career change-up from corporate sales exec to BSN student.

Sara and Jana

This was taken during my pediatric rotation at Kaiser West Los Angeles. I was such a newbie nurse!

A longing for greater clinical medical knowledge and the desire to be a better human lead me to go back to college and earn my Bachelor of Science in Nursing.  To stay this was a challenge is an understatement. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my entire life!

Leaving a high-paying job to go back to school for three years to come out with a lower-paying job is not the most financially wise choice. However, it did make me a lot happier in the long run.  Following my passion for healthcare has been one of the greatest life changes I have ever made.

I began my new career as a registered nurse.

I began the RN residency program at UCLA Medical Center on the Neuroscience and Stroke unit shortly after graduation. A few years later, I passed Stroke Certified Registered Nurse Certification and began training other new graduates in my unit.

In 2015, I completed the Yoga Works Urban Zen Practitioner Program at UCLA. The program was designed to help nurses care for patients in a more holistic way by combining the benefits of eastern and western care. I got to learn more about some of my favorite things: yoga and in-bed yoga movements, guided meditation, essential oils, and Reiki. It was an incredible learning experience, and it ultimately changed how I give care to my patients.

In early 2017, I was accepted into an RN training program in the Emergency Room. It is intense, challenging, and exhausting, and I love it! Definitely not for the faint of heart. My skills have been pushed to the limit, and I can officially say I am fantastic at difficult IV starts. I guess that’s what happens when you start five or more IV’s in a day!

Stethoscope in the shape of a heart

 

Being a nurse means that I never stop learning.

I dabbled in the medspa industry for about eight months as a side gig because I thought it was a career I was interested in. I became certified to use various lasers (IPL, hair removal) and also got certified to give injectables (Botox, Juvederm, ect..). It was fun for a while, but I ultimately decided to stay full time at the hospital because I am way more passionate about the clinical side of nursing.

There were “perks” to being in the medspa industry that I liked, like free injectables and free skincare products. Eventually, though, I realized that wasn’t a good enough reason to leave the hospital, and I didn’t love the work.

Healthcare and wellness have always been a passion of mine.

Nursing school helped me foster this passion and gave me a solid foundation for understanding health and the human body. I do my best to stay up to date on current healthcare and nutritional studies, and I try to be a good educational resource for my patients and family.

The stress of my first career lead me to search for ways to better care for myself. I started practicing yoga and meditation regularly, and it has remained a happy habit for over a decade. Now I incorporate it into my daily life and don’t know where I would be without it. There are a lot of things I practice at home to keep myself and my family healthy that I am excited to share on this blog.

My newest job title is Mommy (and I couldn’t be prouder!).

On Halloween morning in 2015, my husband and I welcomed our daughter, Zoe, into the world. She is a spunky, sweet, and smart little lady who has changed our lives for the better. I apologize in advance for the ridiculous amount of baby photos that I am sure I will post in the future. I can’t help it, I’m a proud Mama!

Zoe made her arrival seven weeks early due to a very rare and dangerous condition I got when I was 33 weeks pregnant called a placental abruption. In short, the placenta (lifeline from mom to baby) that was giving Zoe blood, oxygen, and nutrients suddenly disconnected from my uterus. This caused me to hemorrhage internally instead of delivering blood to where it should have been going- to Zoe!

Luckily right as it was happening, I was feeling terrible, and my husband had taken me to the hospital to get checked out. I was lucky to be there in the nick of time to have an emergency c-section. My doctors informed me that babies don’t usually survive placental abruptions, and we are forever grateful.

Zoe is our miracle baby, and we thank our lucky stars for her every single day. There is no better gift than the gift of a healthy baby!

My current gigs are:

  • Mom of two toddlers
  • Wife to an amazing husband
  • Registered Nurse
  • Freelance writer and blogger about preventative health, nutrition, self-wellness, life as an RN, family, motherly interests, and other topics I think are cool
Sarah, John Zoe together

Our very early days as new parents.

I have a few goals in this writing journey:  explore the awesomeness and insanity of motherhood while trying to balance a career as a nurse, nurture a happy marriage, foster friendships, and continue to learn and share healthcare information—basically, all the lifestyle things I love.

Additional recommended reading:

 

Sarah, Mother Nurse Love