Monday, October 20, 2014

A day in the life

So I promised a blog about my new job so here goes!

Interventional radiology (abbreviated IR or VIR for Vascular and Interventional Radiology, also referred to as Surgical Radiology) is a medical sub-specialty of radiology which utilizes minimally invasive image-guided procedures to diagnose and treat diseases in nearly every organ system.(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interventional_radiology) 



The above link will lead any interested parties to discover what our department is capable of doing on a regular basis. 



So we have an awesome team. Each outpatient starts off in the Radiology Care Unit (ROCU) to be "worked up." The ROCU nurses obtain specimens for specific lab work that is needed, an IV, and review medical history and medications the patients are on. The MD's go over the procedure and obtain informed consent from each patient. My job comes in once the patient is ready in the ROCU. I personally review the patient's medical and sedation history and determine if the patient is a good candidate for moderate sedation (aka conscious sedation, aka twilight sleep). Moderate sedation is: A drug-induced depression of consciousness during which the patient responds purposefully to verbal command, either alone or accompanied by light tactile stimulation.  No interventions are necessary to maintain a patent airway.(http://www.sgna.org/issues/sedationfactsorg/sedationadministration/sedationlevels.aspx)


I then transport the patient around to the procedure room, get them on the cardiac monitor and start sedating the patient. The radiology technologist set up the table and get the patient surgically ready (i.e. patient scrubbed with antimicrobial cleansers and draped with sterile towels, etc.). Once everything is set up and *hopefully* the patient is sleeping quietly, the MD comes in to perform one of many minimally invasive procedures that we are able to do. They are typically assisted by another doctor like a fellow or the rad technologist. The minimal part stems from the fact that our procedures usually require only a very small incision (an inch or so) or just a arterial or venous puncture site. 
http://www.theduponthospital.com/interior.php?t=82

This is a good representation of some of the equipment in each procedure room. The C-shaped machine is the x-ray, which is able to swivel around the patient as they lie on the table. The monitors shown will display the live image taken by the x-ray. The Docs can see in real-time on the screen as them move the table back and forth under the x-ray. 

After the procedure is completed, patients return to the ROCU for recovery and stay anywhere from the time it takes to get changed up to being admitted for 23hr observation. It all depends on the procedure that was done. 

It is truly amazing what we can do at the hospital with technology now. It's so cool to be involved in fascinating procedures that spare patients a lot of extra pain and recovery time involved with more invasive procedures. Any questions? There will be a quiz Friday. .. JK

-Cas

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Bledsoe Creek State Park

Saturday, Duane, Meah and I went on a lovely hike just outside of Gallatin. We are both very thankful to live in an area that has so many great outdoor spaces. Being a short 30-60 minutes away from many beautiful and unique places to hike  and enjoy the outdoors is truly an incredible blessing to us. The weather started out a little cool, being in the mid-high 50s with a cold breeze coming off the lake, but the work of Ridgetop trail warmed us up just fine. 

The stairs were our first challenge and definitely got me sweating! They were a fun climb though and the scenery was amazing. 

We saw some beautiful deer up close and personal, just 10-15 feet from us. I tried to respect them and go camera crazy though. It's always breathtaking to see wild animals that close. 
The Shoreline trail was also a part of the 3.1 mile loop that we took. It is literally a walk right along beautiful Radnor Lake shoreline  and it was pristine. Picture perfect for sure. I could've just hung up the hammock and stared for hours. 






We also saw "The Shire." Duane decided that the field to the left could'v been straight from The Hobbit or Lord or the Rings. 


Everything was perfect and Duane and I both agreed that we would love to go back to Bledsoe again soon! It had such a wide variety of landscapes and it was a nice relaxing hike with only a few challenging spots. I would definitely recommend it to anyone and Meah would too!

-Cas

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Meal Planning

So I don't know if everyone is aware, but I recently took a new job with Vanderbilt's Interventional Radiology team. (sidebar - I'm planning another post to give the low-down on what interventional radiology is and does for those who aren't aware). With this new job, I sadly had to say goodbye to the oh-so-lovely nightshift differential so that meant less income for our household. In effort to help with our finances, I thought it might be good to start planning out our meals to curb our grocery spending. 

It's been about two months now of meal planning and I can say that we have saved money! I have not added coupons that weren't being used before or changed what we ate, we just plan to eat at home just about every night a week. I looked back at the credit card statements and did the math and on average, we save about $15 a month just by planning meals and being limited in our restaurant visits. 

So this is how things usually go... Sunday or Monday I make a list of what we are going to eat at each lunch and dinner throughout the week. Then I use that list to plan out the grocery list and go shopping. I usually plan at least one large meal that will give us leftovers during the week. I try to take into account which days I/Duane have things going on and plan accordingly to what can be cooked or  whether leftovers should be eaten. This is the actual plan from this last week. 

Monday
Lunch - Sandwiches
Dinner - Pizza

Tuesday
Lunch - Salad
Dinner - Chili & Corn bread

Wednesday
Lunch - Sandwiches
Dinner - Quesadillas

Thursday
Lunch - Chili leftovers
Dinner - Chicken and Broccoli pasta alfredo

Friday
Lunch - Salad
Dinner - Leftover chili

Saturday
Lunch - Sandwiches
Dinner - EAT OUT at GRAYS

Sunday
Lunch - Quesadillas
Dinner - Pizza


So that's kinda what a week looks like. Occasionally it gets old, but I try to work in a new recipe every couple of weeks to keep things fresh. We will also sporadically eat out if the mood strikes us and just eat our meal another day. I don't plan out breakfasts, thats just overkill for us because we usually have oatmeal or eggs, waffles on a special day. Of course, when I go grocery shopping I use coupons (which I did before we started this too) and I watch whats on sale. If something like peanut butter or black beans are on sale, I'll get a few to last. 

It's actually been wonderful. Making the lists gets tedious and it can be hard to come up with what we are going to eat for the week but Duane will usually give some input as well. It takes away so much stress not having the conversation "Well what do you want to eat?" "I dunno." It also makes it so we will definitely have what we need in the pantry for each meal throughout the week. For us it works. And it saves us money! Double perks! 

What meals are weekly repeats at your house?

Cas

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Doterra, A review of sorts

So about a month ago I was getting a little desperate. I have been having problems with my feet since January of this year and frustration had started to set in. About 6 months into working nights I developed Plantar Fasciitis. I blame of combo of old stress/injury from so many years of softball, the incredible amount of walking needed as a nurse and the prolonged lack of sleep. I self diagnosed and was confirmed upon seeing my primary doc. Jump forward to August and months of advil, combos of heat/Ice, stretching, chiropractic care, ultrasound treatments, epson salt baths and even a switch over to dayshift and I'm still having this nagging pain. Strong enough that it keeps me awake at night, but light enough for me to go about my day with little to no bother. 

So in comes the voice of many claiming the wonders of essential oils. My interest was peaked and I was really ready to try anything to help and I heard about Deep Blue from Doterra. It's an oil blend made for sore muscles/aches and had received some pretty good reviews. Oils in general get mixed reviews for effectiveness, but like I said, I was desperate for some relief. I tried Deep Blue and was diligent for a month, every night at bedtime I would apply the oil. Much to my surprise, I actually saw some improvement. I had several weeks where I could fall asleep without having to take advil. This was monumental for me because I do not like nor do I want to have to take medicine all the time. There were some times, after particularly long days at work that I would have to take advil, but from daily to once or twice a week is a victory in my book. Deep Blue smells interesting. I don't think its a bad smell, but others may not like it as I liken it to a mix of grape cough syrup and bengay mixed together. Luckily, I was rubbing it on my feet so I didn't smell it for very long. I don't know if I will pay that much again (Dang Doterra, you're expensive), but it is definitely an option for me. 

I also tried and enjoyed a few other oils. I use the lemon oil mixed with water to clean my counters, stove and sink. It really cuts through grease/old dried food easily and leaves a lovely smell behind. I loved the lavender oil for sleeping. I fall asleep so much faster (even faster than when I was taking melatonin) and sleep better. It smells divine. I also have liked their digestzen blend, which I also have rubbed on my belly for heartburn and my feet for regularity. I won't go into details, but it smells like licorice and seemed to help me in more ways than one. 

So there you have it. That is/was my Doterra experience. I got nothing from them for this, I just thought I would share a few of my own experiences with essential oils. 

-Cas

Monday, June 9, 2014

My husband, the Rock Star

So for those of you who aren't aware, my wonderful and amazing hubby Duane is a percussionist. (For all the non-music people out there, he plays a variety of drums, various shakers/noise makers (tinker toys hehe), and mallet instruments as well.) He was trained in the art of classical percussion at Georgia Southern University, and also has taken private lessons for tabla, frame drum, and other non-traditional forms of percussion. Prefaced with that information, I have two huge blessings to share today. 

First, Duane got his very first endorsement!! He is now an endorser of Heartbeat Percussion. Be on the lookout for his picture/bio on the Heartbeat website under "artists."

http://heartbeatpercussion.com/
So he just got outfitted with a bunch of super-shiney-fancy new cymbals with a fancy pants artist discount. Can you say proud wife? I'm so happy for him. I also have to give a shout out to our amazing friend Cory Shuman (Tell Scarlett) who was instrumental in helping Duane get this endorsement. Without his encouragement and connections that he had already made, it would've been a different story. 
https://www.facebook.com/tellscarlet/timeline
See there, that is Tell Scarlett (Cory is the middle guy). Check out there Facebook page for all their info. They are an awesome group based in Savannah, GA. 


http://pearldrum.com/products/percussion/frame-drums/the-hip-kit/
So, back to the blessings. I did say that there were two so I hope you guys were paying attention. Duane has these two amazing friends, Rae and Jonathan. He plays for Rae Hering on the regular, gigs, rehersals, the works. Jonathan works at Pearl, and if you are a drummer, Pearl is the dream. In fact, Pearl manufactured Duane's very first drum set. I digress. Anywho, Pearl is in the process of  releasing/promoting a new line -The HipKit- and Jonathan was kind enough to bring a drum for Duane to try out and just happened to record him playing it. Next thing we know, the guy who came up with the HipKit idea and is working to promote it wants to meet with Duane. After the first meeting, we were both unsure of what was going on, but we knew that Duane would be doing a few short videos to be posted on the Pearl website to help demonstrate and promote their new drum! That would've been more than enough, but its not all. We then found out that they wanted to make him a. Pearl. Artist.        
WHAT!!? It's still unbelievable. God is amazing. I know neither of us saw this coming!



P.S. -I couldn't get the blog-o just right, but any italicized words = links to the website or Facebook for easy access. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Lost loves

Have you ever forgotten how much you enjoy something when it has been a long time since you've done it? It's easy to, life interrupts you and gets in the way. Suddenly, it just doesn't seem as important as it used to. You know you like it, but it's just not a priority. I have had this happens couple of times since we have moved to Nashville. First with rock climbing, and I have to thank my bestest fried Crystal for the fabulous gift certificate she gave me for Climb Nashville.

I love climbing. It makes me feel strong and clever. I know that I don't have the best upper body strength so working a difficult problem and figuring out "my way" of accomplishing it is so satisfying. It's peaceful. It is a fun way to get an amazing workout without feeling like your working out. I had forgotten just how much I enjoyed it.

The next thing was just this week and I have to thank Becki for going with me. Horseback riding. Sitting on the back of a horse is so peaceful. Riding through the woods is breathtaking as I am surrounded by God's amazing creation. I hope to be on a horse much more often now!!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Recipe sharing

So I thought I would share a recipe that is one of our go-to casseroles. We love this recipe and it gets gobbled up super fast. Maybe you will enjoy it as well.

Mexican Casserole

-shredded cheese (I use Colby/Monterrey jack)
-chicken (1-1 1/2 breast depending on how much meat you like)
-salsa (pick your favorite)
-taco seasoning
-rice (1cup uncooked)
-black beans (1 can)
-velveta (1/2 a package)
-cream of onion soup (1 can)

Rice prep- I have a rice cooker and all I do is set it up like normal and add a large spoonful of salsa and voila, Spanish rice
Chicken prep- I cook my chicken on the stove in a mixture of salsa and taco seasoning (I like the low sodium kind and only use 1/2 a packet) the salsa keeps the chicken moist and I just shred it up with a fork when I am done
Bean prep - heat on the stove in a pot. Simple really 
Everything else- melt velveta and mix in Cream of onion and whatever is left of the salsa. It will look disgusting. 

Now layer everything up in a 9x13 pan. I usually go rice, soup mix, beans and chicken, but however you like it is fine. I do try to put either beans or soup mix next to the rice to keep it from getting dry. Then top with your shredded cheese and throw in the oven at 350 until everything is bubbly and the cheese is melted. Maybe 20 min max. I'm not sure to be honest. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips or in a tortilla for that matter. Enjoy!!

-Cas