So. Yeah. My birthday was pretty awesome.

41 years young. That’s right. Forty-One-years-young.

I can honestly say, I’m in a better place both mentally, physically and emotionally than age 31. Does everyone who makes it over that ‘hill’ feel that way??

Whew.. I can remember when ‘over the hill’ (in my mind) meant eminent death. Or at least death was on the horizon. Boy was I wrong. I’m in better health in my 40′s than my 30′s.

My entire day was pretty awesome. It didn’t involve any breath-taking adventures or weekend journey’s. What it DID involve was spending my day… my way.  I wanted to be with the people that enrich my life. That included my beautiful wife and everyone at my CrossFit Box.

My morning started off with this:

I then made a pretty significant PR during my training session. I’m always happy when I get to spend time at the Bar..-bell.

Then I got to spend some awesome time with my CrossFit FBO family for a Team WOD:

After the team WOD, I spent some one-on-one quality time with a small group of athletes working on mobility.  One of them even made me gluten-free birthday brownies! (they tasted divine)

I wrapped up my day by taking a traditional ‘old man’ afternoon nap. My beautiful wife and I rented a movie and ordered Pizza. (My father claims this is the first sign of old age… Pizza for your birthday… heh heh)

I spent the evening hanging out with my love and our crazee cats.

I woke up. I got to train. I got to coach. I got to spend time with my Angel of a wife. I got to relax and breathe in my wonderful life.

My perfect birthday.

 

4th place isn’t too shabby..

US News has released its list of the 100 best jobs in 2014, and the No. 4 job is : Nurse Practitioner!! Not too shabby huh?

While I’m sure not all lists are created equal, this list seems to have done some legitimate leg work. According to their website:

“The Best Jobs methodology is divided into two components: The first is how U.S. News selects jobs to profile. The second is how those jobs are ranked against each other.”

“Occupations are ranked based on our calculated overall score, which combines several components into a single weighted average score between 0 and 10.”

“The overall score is calculated from seven component measures: 10-year growth volume, 10-year growth percentage, median salary, employment rate, future job prospects, stress level and work-life balance. For each measure, jobs receive a score between 0 and 10.”

Here are the component measures and their weight in computing the overall score:

  • 10-Year Growth Volume (10 percent)
  • 10-Year Growth Percentage (10 percent)
  • Median Salary (30 percent)
  • Job Prospects (20 percent)
  • Employment Rate (20 percent)
  • Stress Level (5 percent)
  • Work-Life Balance (5 percent)

Also according to their website the Nurse Practitioner career is ranked the #2 Best Health Care Job (also not too shabby)

They have a fairly accurate detailed Job Description of a Nurse Practitioner.

I’ve admitted this before. Taking the leap and advancing my career as an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner was the best decision I ever made both personally and professionally. It seems it was quite a sound financial decision as well.

References:

CFN 4th anniversary

The 100 Best Jobs | Best Jobs | US News Careers

Best Health Care Jobs | Best Jobs | US News Careers

Nurse Practitioner Job Overview | Best Jobs | US News Careers

11 (not)cool things that happen when you get the flu

For the past 7, or 8.. maybe 9 (I really don’t know, I’ve lost count) days I’ve been a house hobbit spending my days transferring my weight from my bed, to my couch and my office chair. I succumbed to the dreaded influenza, or as we all like to call it the ‘flu’. (I have come to fondly refer to it as death, though)

I must admit I do not remember ever being at this level of ‘sick’ before in my lifetime. Truth be told, this has taken the new top spot on just how sick my human body can really get (that is before I’m hospitalized).

I consider myself a fairly healthy guy, with a pretty strong immune system. In the past 5, maybe 10 years I think I’ve been truly ‘sick’ that required me to barricade myself in my house. It seems the current influenza strain(s) had a very different opinion of me and my so-called immune system.

As a health care provider, I was well aware that Influenza was a tad bit more severe this year. Thanks to the CDC website, and my own personal & professional experience, I knew that my neck of the woods in particular was hit hard with severe strains of Influenza. Not only was I treating many patients with refractory Influenza requiring hospitalization, but many of my friends (at least 3 or 4) were also battling the illness at home.

I also knew that the current Influenza strain was affecting the younger population more than previous years. The healthier middle-aged population was getting side-swiped with this virulent virus.

In retrospect, I was exposed to the virus QUITE a bit over the last 6 weeks. I guess I should not have been shocked when I started developing the signs and symptoms? (I can hear Home Simpson’s voice in my head…. DOH!)

Oh, and for all the naysayers out there, yes, I got the seasonal flu vaccine this season. I get the vaccine every year. Always have, always will. The flu vaccine does not prevent the flu, it doesn’t give you the flu. What it does do  is increase your odds of fighting off the virus. It always has, and will always be a gamble, as the vaccine that is produced annually is based on previous disease outbreak evidence. I always get the vaccine to help stack my deck against the susceptibility of the illness.

Needless to say I’ve suffered through a week or more of this nastiness, I’ve been taking the over the counter medications like their vitamins, keeping hydrated and finally raising the white flag and seeing my PCP to make sure I don’t have some additional super-infection festering in the shadows of this darn flu illness.

My recent ‘camping’ trip on my couch over the past 8+ days has proved enlightening. I thought I’d share some thoughts with you concerning how cool it is to get the flu:

  1. Water tastes the same as coffee
  2. When you sneeze your truly understand what sinus pressure is all about
  3. Gravity breathing through one nare is an art and a science
  4. Your hair hurts.. even when your bald
  5. You discover a new kind of drunk – alcohol’s got nuthin’ on OTC cold meds. Word.
  6. The darth vader-like voice you have only pales in comparison to the 1-900 voice you acquire as the illness progresses
  7. You truly discover just how comfortable (or uncomfortable) your couch truly is
  8. You become a kleenex connoisseur
  9. Brushing your teeth is now a full-fledged chore
  10. This is the one time of the year when showering is truly optional
  11. You acquire a profound respect for intracranial pressure (ICP) every single time you cough – because your ICP increases so much that your eyeballs slightly pop out of their sockets each time you cough

Be safe out there everyone. Wash your hands. Get the flu shot.

Excuse me while I get another Kleenex…

Tattooed and professional

Josh Wrede: Creating Art on Skin – YouTube.

Do you know what the difference is between a tattooed person and a non-tattooed person?

The tattooed person doesn’t care that you don’t have tattoos.

I’m a professional. I’m a nurse practitioner. I’m a health care provider. And I have tattoos (yes more than one). While they are not exposed when I am wearing my work attire I have an admittedly biased, but honest belief that tattoos do not make the person. The person makes the tattoos.

I often find entertainment in reactions from people who know me through my professional life realize and maybe even see that I have tattoos.

“*GASP* YOOU have a tattoo??!!”

I’m sure I read into the reaction a bit, but it gives the impression that they’re shocked that ‘I’ have a tattoo. The ‘professional’. The health care provider. (I mean… Sean… you just don’t LOOK like a tattoo person)

Weird.

What DOES a tattoo person look like then? Hmm.

Yes. I have tattoos. (not that they were some big secret)

I don’t feel it makes me any less of a professional. It doesn’t diminish the quality, nor nullify the work I do. It’s simply an expression of me. Each tattoo represents something in my life (no matter how poor or how faded the tattoo may be)

Now, I must also admit that there should be a certain balance when it comes to tattoos in the professional world. Part of being a professional is maintaining a certain level of professionalism, more specifically your appearance. I feel that tattoo sleeves, neck and hand tattoos can be a bit much for my patients. In that same respect I also think dangly earrings, over-the-top body piercings (non-traditional I guess), unkempt  facial and head hair, tattered clothing and lack of personal hygiene are also not ideal appearance qualities for the professional. So take my opinion with a grain of salt.

Like I said, I believe in balance.

— —

The above video just reminds me that I promised myself another tattoo to signify my graduation from school. I’m already 7 months late on that promise.

Breathe it in… if you can

Gif of the Day: Smoker's Lungs vs. Non-Smoker's Lungs

If you’ve been around my blog before, I’ve jumped on my pedestal once or twice about how much I am against smoking. If you haven’t, consider yourself warned. Both personally and professionally I emphatically do not approve of this filthy, disgusting and EXTREMELY unhealthy habit (I did mention my distaste didn’t I?)

There is nothing positive about smoking. Nah-thing. I’d be boring you if I started spouting off all the evidence-based research that supports how BAD smoking is for your health and the health of others around you. Google it.

The above GIF just supports everything there is to know about smoking. Look at the color of the lungs. Yes, black lungs are bad. Look at the size of the lungs as they inflate. Yes, you guessed it smaller inflation is bad.

Just think about how much your body has to work in overtime just to breathe, both at rest and while active. Just to breathe. I mean, breathing is not something we take lightly is it? You don’t need to breath efficiently do you?

I mean if you want to smoke, by all means go for it. Just remember, your body will probably not like it much in the end.

Reference: Gif of the Day: Smoker’s Lungs vs. Non-Smoker’s Lungs – Cheezburger.

Working as a nurse & the holidays..

This time of the year is always a bit tougher than most working in the hospital. It’s the time of the year when everyone would rather be at home with their family instead of punching the clock at work.

I consider myself lucky this time of the year. I don’t actually mind working. Check out why here (follow the link):

Nursing over the holidays (via http://scrubsmag.com/)

Most nurses would probably tell you that working as a nurse during the holidays, quite frankly, stinks. Work takes you away from family during the most family-oriented time of the year. Most nurses don’t get to spend their holidays (in the traditional…

Continue reading

Exiting a public restroom…

This is not a new topic for me ( To Push or Pull – THAT is the Question?) I’ve blogged about this a couple times over the years. The same concept still applies. After you’ve washed and dried your hands, do you have to pull a door handle to exit the bathroom?

Guess what? Most cases of the common head cold are due to someone not washing their hands. Whether you or someone else. The microorganism(s) that cause the common head cold are transferred and transmitted from one person to another by simply touching the same object that a sick person handled. (Go back and review the fomites and vectors link)

So I ask the same question? Why do some establishments have the proper combination and others don’t? What is even more bizarre is that the facilities that have you pull the handle to get out of the bathroom are sometimes, more often than you’d expect, HOSPITALS.

By the way, I didn’t even mention the process of washing your hands and then drying them. Ever stop and think about what your wet hands touch after you’re done washing them and are looking for something to dry them?

You successfully cleaned them. Now you have to dry them. Most of the time you have to pull that handle on the paper dispenser!

Hmm.

I remember seeing this idea years ago:

image

Well, until this much needed foot-handle is standard issue, I’ll continue to look like this exiting the public restroom:

References:

Every toilet door should have this installed

Public restrooms

Coffee and Nursing..

profession_coffee

I really would expect the Nursing profession to be the profession who consumes the most coffee. 13th?? Maybe it’s a biased opinion? I for one KNOW I drink an abusive amount of coffee. I actually am afraid to count and calculate just how much coffee I truly drink during one day.

My total ounces consumed can be skewed. It’s a vice of opportunity. I drink coffee when I open my eyes, I drink it on the commute to work and then I drink an insane amount while on the job.

Buuuuuuuut, I also can down a pot o’ coffee without blinking an eye when I’m at home and not at work.

I like the taste. I like the smell. Heck there isn’t much about coffee I don’t like! I think my coffee drinking has taken the place of my mindless eating in front of the television. Now I mindlessly drink cup after caffeinated-cup sitting in front of my Mac. Sometimes I’m productive, like writing blog posts, or researching material for future post. While other times I’m aimlessly hopscotching and web surfing the vast array of social media hot spots.

I know I’m addicted to it. I just can’t decide if I’m addicted to the ‘concept’ of my cup o’ joe, or am I truly addicted to the caffeine response? I can go without coffee and not get the run-down headachey feelin’, but I truly just want to taste the stuff.

Yep. I know. I’m sick.

So, any-hoo. Back to the infographic. I’m having a hard time grasping the concept and accepting the fact that  there are nurses out there who don’t drink coffee. Period. Like none at all??!!!

I think my heart just stopped a lil’.

Excuse me while I go make another pot. ;)

Which profession drinks the most coffee? – I Love Coffee.