Your price tag

It’s an interesting metaphysically-based yet philosophically important debate. What is one’s life worth? Better yet, let’s just cut to the chase, what is your life worth?

“an amount of a commodity equivalent to a specified sum of money.”

I for one love these debates, and thought-provoking challenge questions because of the cold-hard truth of the answer we’re seeking. There really is no right OR wrong answer. One could argue, defend and rationalize their individual notions on the subject with their own amazingly prophetic reasoning based on science or religion or heck even personal experience.

But in the end, no one is right. Aaaand no one is wrong.

I think it’s all about your attitude towards the thought. Your attitude or your feelings (maybe). When this question is posed to you personally how do you react? How do you think it through? What feelings and emotions get stirred up down in your belly (where the FIRE burns)?

And then when you’ve chewed on the question for a bit of time do you still have the same answer you started with?

Most don’t.

Let’s complicate things even more. I bet if your younger self was asked this question (pick an age.. any age) you’d get a different reaction and a different answer. I’m willing to gamble and say if you picked any age other than your current year, you might find a different way of navigating through this puzzle.

I know for sure that my 10 year old self had a different view on life than my 12 year old self. Or when I was 15, 18, 21, 25, 30, 33, or 35. Oh just for thoroughness, I’m willing to go out on a limb and say that my navigation through this wonderful postulate would be different just a year ago.

Why is that?

The human condition is a funny thing. It’s the sum of its parts, but not exclusive to its parts. Each time you accumulate a new milestone or experience it affects your past, present and future in some way, shape or form.

Throw into that melting pot where you were raised geographically, who raised you, how big was your household and things start to get mucky. Some ‘experts’ would also argue that your traditions, your religion and your heritage will further muddle the path to your answer.

So (in the above video) it makes complete sense (in my humble opinion) that ‘the man’ (those who have a death grip on your financial livelihood) and his cohorts can’t agree on a final price tag (I’m sure there’s a movie plot in there somewhere…).

Things that make ya go ……

Reference: How Much Is Your Life Worth? – YouTube.

The Day I Should Have Died | Happy Re-birthday To Me

I consider myself a pretty luck man. Heck, I’d call myself blessed. I know the value of my life and continually appreciate it, no matter how ‘tough’ things may get. Today is my re-birthday. 12 years ago on September 15, 2001 I was given a wonderful gift. I had someone attempt to take my life away from me.

I’ll admit it. Before that fateful day, I was just as jaded, jagged and miserable as many other human beings who occupy this earth are. I was always pissed off at the world. I continually wanted to know when the universe would stop shitting on me. I bitched at everything and everyone. My temper roller-coastered like it was my full-time job. I had your typical bad luck, bad girlfriends, bad relationships, bad jobs, etc, etc. Yeah, I was a miserable ole cuss. I can’t say ‘positivity’ was part of my repertoire. I was going nowhere fast, and I just couldn’t seem to get a leg up. I was simply treading water.

Then someone tried to kill me. I blogged about it in 2008 on this very blog (hard to believe). Let me tell you a story (that I wrote many moons ago)…

It’s been 7 years.

This time of the year always has a special place in most of America’s hearts. September 11, 2001 is a date none of us will soon forget. It changed the face of our nation and impacted our world in a way none of us could have ever imagined. Emily (crzegrl) shared here views of how it impacted her.

At the risk of diminishing or making that day any less than it really was. This time of the year has a very different meaning for me. I do remember September 11th. I do remember what I was doing that day. I do remember how I felt and how the world around me changed. But it’s not what is in the forefront of my mind.

September 15, 2001

My Re-Birthday.

It’s been 7 years.

It was a Saturday. (Yes I remember it that well)

There was a time in my life when I was not active in healthcare (It was a short time). I had stepped away from the healthcare setting and returned to my career in retail. Retail had helped pay my way through college, and then it was the way to put food on the table after college was over. My career in healthcare wasn’t paying the bills, and retail was a better option (at the time).

It was a typical Saturday night. I was one of the midnight managers on duty. Part of my responsibility as a manager was to hold the night-shift meeting with the over-night employees.

This particular night we decided to have an open forum concerning the difficulties people may or may not be having with the current state of affairs. The terrorists attacks were affecting everyone, and we wanted to let our employees know we cared.


I can’t say I remember how it happened.

I can’t say I was prepared for it.

It happened in time ‘slices’.


I was talking with the over-night group of employees. It was me in front of approximately 20 others. Half-way through the meeting and in mid-sentence I can vaguely remember an ‘itching’ or ‘biting’ feeling on my neck.

….??

It wasn’t anything out the ordinary. I chalked it up to one of the bodily aches or pains I have no explanation for. (Like when I get a shooting pain in my finger that comes a goes in a matter of 7 seconds)

It got more quiet. It was like I could only hear the fans of the air conditioning running. I guess the only way to explain it… is things seemed to slow down.. immensely. Like the slo-mo option on a VCR/DVD player.

I don’t know what happened next. Or should I say I don’t know which came first. The banshee-like shrieking screams or the shadow of a person coming out of my left peripheral vision. All I know is that it was a startling moment.

The Scream.

The Shadow.

And I reflexively look to my left.

I remember saying to my self, “Hmm, why is Jane (we’ll call her Jane for identity purposes) standing so close to me. She should be sitting out in the crowd with the rest of the group.”

She’s now advancing towards me. “What is she doing?”

Her left arm is raised in the air. I think she’s going to take a swing at me. So out of reflex, I block her left arm. I block her arm with my R arm and grab her swinging arm with my L hand. Then I grasp her swinging arm with both hands.

I can’t quite figure out why she’s trying to hit me?

Another handful of screams.

Through the tussle and wrestling of her arm I realize my hand is full of blood??? In fact I have blood on both my hands?

“OK. Who’s blood is this?”, I blurt out with a sense of sarcasm.

… ??

More screams.

… ??

Wait a minute.

What’s that in Jane’s hand?

Is that..?

No way.

Wholly SH#T. Jane has a knife in her hand.

“The blood is YOURS! She cut your throat. Your bleeding from your neck!!!!!!”, a voice from the crowd cries out hysterically.

Now, I’m no idiot. I know the inner workings of the human body. I’m pretty well versed in what anatomical structures are located in the neck.

I know I’m still breathing. I’m not chocking. Not having any trouble moving air.

???

At the same time Jane is tackled by a single employee from behind. Then another, then another. And then more. It takes close to 5 people to get her down.

I put my hand on my neck.. and sure enough … nothing but blood.



Yep. It’s a true story. I was attacked from behind with a swiss army knife by an employee of mine, in front of approximately 20 people. She sliced my neck almost from ear to ear.

Here are the finer points of the story:

- she used a very dull and old swiss army knife

- she did not use the blade side of the knife and drag it across my neck to cut me. She used the knife in a stabbing motion and scraped the tip of the knife across the length of my neck

- she never spent a night in jail. She had a psychiatric evaluation. Her medications were adjusted. And that’s the last thing I was told (Please don’t ask.. I don’t know what the heck happen concerning her lawful conviction)

- Yes, I have a Keloid scar that has taken 7 yrs to slowly diminish on my neck. (The intent of the ED physician was to use the smallest/thinnest suture possible so to NOT leave a scar, and it did the exact opposite)

-The only entertaining piece of all this was that when the 911 call was made. All the EMS arrived expecting to see a decapitated man. And I mean ALL of the EMS. For the small town I was in, I think I counted 4 Ambulances and 6 marked Police and 2 unmarked Police cars.


There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about that day. It changed my life. We always whine and complain about some of the most ridiculous things in life that seem so very important at the time. Everything from being late for work, being stuck in traffic, having to wait in line in the grocery store, having a poor wait staff wait on you at the restaurant, or having to sit in coach for a 4hr flight… the list is endless. Everyone hates having a bad day.

I touched on my theory about life and how bad your day really was here.

I’m not perfect. I do have stress in my life. I do have those ‘Pull out your hair’ moments and those “all i wanna do is scream” moments. But I’m always grounded and reminded by my profession and by my past that maybe you and/or I not having THAT bad of a day.

September 15th is my Re-Birthday. I was given a second chance at life. For some strange reason, I survived that incident. I will never know why. I questioned it for a long time, and never got the answer I wanted until I realized there was no answer. I’m here. I’m staying here. I’m not going anywhere. And while I’m here, I’m making the most of my stay.

Here’s what scares me sometimes when I think about my attack.

As an employee for the retail store I worked for, each employee is issued a box cutter. The only reason I’m still here is because Jane had bad aim, and a dull swiss army knife.

What if she would have used the box cutter instead of her swiss army knife?

Nope.

I don’t have bad days anymore.

Carpe Diem

Via Happy Re-Birthday To Me | My Strong Medicine

At the beginning of this summer we moved to a new city. With the move came new friends. When my face was still new, I had a friend comment on my ‘positivity’ and being ‘always happy’. I told her there was a story behind my obsessive passion for being happy, but that I’d it to her later. I plan on sharing this post with her (Thanks Allison).

This is the reason I’m always positive. Why I greet every morning with my “Gewwwwwwd morning”. I get to be here another day. 

Many great things have happened to me since that scary day.

I became a Registered Nurse, I met and married my soul mate, and most recently started working as an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, a job I’m loving more and more each day.

I’m not too sure where I’d be today had I not gone ‘under the knife’ so-to-speak. I can admit that I wouldn’t have the abundance of happiness I possess now. What I do know is that I took a tragic, frightening and possibly life-paralyzing event and turned it into something positive. Positive for me, and hopefully positive for anyone who’s around me.

This might sound a bit cliche’… or it might sound a bit phony.. but I needed someone to try and steal my most prize possession (my life) for me to truly appreciate its merit. And for that, I couldn’t be happier.

Life Lately: IRL Became More Important Than URL

*TAP*TAP*TAP*…

Is this thing still on?

Yep. I’m still around. It’s been equal parts busy, personal choice and laziness. Most days I just haven’t had the time to sit down and blog. Other days when I did have some time away from IRL, I simply didn’t have the desire to type or post a blog entry. When my desire to blog became less and less, I became quite complacent and just down right lazy.

For the first time in 4+ years I didn’t have an additional agenda. I could simply live life. Earn a living (or at least try to) and enjoy the fruits of my labor with those I’ve neglected over the past 4+ years. I’ve been spending good quality time with my wife. I’ve tried to spend more time with my family, although the distance has become a challenge. And recently I’m spending some fun times with new friends that I’ve met in our new place of residence.

The transition from student Nurse Practitioner to Acute Care Nurse Practitioner-Certified (ACNP-BC) continues to be a long, educational and enlightening experience. I don’t think my wife and I were prepared for its Tsunami-like effect on our lives, both personally and professionally. You won’t hear me complain, it’s just been challenging at times.

My focus ever since this past school year has started was to graduate and pass my boards. I (including passing my comprehensive exam) accomplished both of those tasks, but had to ride a roller coaster of a journey along the way. I was offered an amazing job opportunity as my first job out of Graduate school, but it would take us 90+ miles away from where we were currently living.

Here have been the past 3.5 months for us:

March

  • Put our house (of 8 years) on the market to sell
  • finished last of my classes and clinicals
  • planned & arranged graduation activities
  • began packing the house
  • Entire month of April had an average of 2 showings a day for greater than 4 / 7 days of the week
  • each house showing we had to arrange for someone to be present and available
  • declined two separate offers on the house
  • began studying for my board exam

April

  • accepted an offer on the house
  • made numerous arrangements to iron out final financial terms as well as inspections and surveys on house
  • Graduated from Graduate school
  • continued to study for boards

May

  • final OK that offer and sale of house would be confirmed
  • signed final sale of house and had a 13 day turnaround to be completely moved out of our home of 8 years
  • spent almost a full month arranging our new home and settling in
  • got lost many, many times in our new city we called home
  • made additional long commutes home for holiday and birthday celebrations with family
  • traveled to future city of residence numerous times to look at possible places to live
  • signed lease to rent a town house
  • Had a medical emergency in the family that required immediate surgery
  • successfully moved to new home, but still were employed at old city of residence
  • both of us began commuting to work 90 miles one way 3+ days a week to work
  • continued to study for boards
  • took board exam last of the month and PASSED

June

  • realized almost too late that the process of gaining licensure as an ACNP in my state was not an automated process (unlike licensure as an RN)
  • jump through numerous hoops to streamline the licensure process as well as the credentialing process at my new soon-to-be employer
  • both of us continued the long commute
  • almost had to wait an additional 2-4 weeks to start new job due to paperwork and red-taped document logistics (whew)

July

  • successfully started the new job
  • the credentialing process continues with more paperwork, committee approvals and applications
  • my wife finally found and accepted a new job within our new area of residence

This is just a snap shot of my life recently. I can’t even begin to explain the financial strain this move created for us, but we’re getting by OK. Even after all of the roller-coastering, things are turning out pretty darn good.

Along the way I joined a real CrossFit box (gym), which has been an amazing experience (I still want to blog about that). Social media took the back burner. I had more important things to take care of.

Lastly, a good friend and fellow social media hound influenced my recent non-blogging actions. Dr. Mike Sevilla took a bit of a sabbatical from his on-line life. While he thought he was leaving permanently, he’s returned with some great insight on social media practices, thoughts on branding and just the general purpose and functionality of what social media is and how we horribly misuse, abuse and over-utilize its service(s).

His actions and words greatly influenced my lack of interest in blogging recently (not sure he knows that) as well as me taking a step back and really observing what the heck is going on out there.

I realized I didn’t like it much. And I realized I was part of the problem. I whole-heartedly agreed with Mike. There was far too much negativity, blaming, complaining and accusing out there. Everybody continues to pick sides, point fingers and just basically yell out there. I see and read little to no meaningful communication anymore.

I want to get back to enjoying the act of blogging, the concept of sharing and the pleasure of having some quality dialogue with those that want to have it.

In closing here’s been my life in pictures recently (still love my iPhone):

Hmm…

Let’s just see where this thing takes me.

Life lately…

NewImage

So the wife and I are in the middle of a packing BLITZKRIEG. We have approximately 10 days to move 8 years of stuff out of our house and transplant it 90 miles to our new town house. All to be finished in one week’s time as of typing this post.

So every waking moment we’re not at work, we’re packing.

This morning I woke up in a zombie-like fog & haze. All I could think of was what I’m packing and carrying next. LOL

This is how I’m spending my nurses week.

 

HAPPY NURSES WEEK!! 

 

;)

 

Image Source: Google

Not everything is as seem..

Via Karate Kid – YouTube

I was talking with my wife the other day about how some of life’s most important lessons that have ‘stayed’ with us the most are the lessons that were ‘taught’ to us without us even knowing we  were being taught. While I don’t think the character Mr. Miyagi is some secret life-altering guru of any sorts, his character in the 1984 “The Karate Kid” was probably one of the first instances that I can remember from my childhood where “Not everything is what is seems”.

That look on Daniel-san’s face in the above movie clip… yeah we’ve all had that moment at least once in our lives. And I’ll bet you remember the moment in vivid detail.

(sigh)

They just don’t make them like they used to huh?

Hope you enjoyed the video, I know I did.

 

I’m learning to live more in the now

 

Being more than a nurse

Ever since I took the leap into this wonderful profession I have been caught up in the ‘next thing’ or the ‘next step’ in my career. If I wasn’t finding a better job that ‘fit’ my wants and needs I was out exploring the oh-so new world of nursing. I became a ‘sponge’ for any and everything I could experience. Those first couple years I was just getting my footing, trying to figure out what I didn’t want out of my new found career.

Once I found my niche, or my passion (Critical Care) I wanted to find the ‘next best thing’ in my specialty. I then leaped forward at becoming a certified nurse (CCRN). I took a lil’ time to breath but then jumped right back into the ‘next’ game by pursuing my Bachelor’s degree. The BSN lead me to where I am now pursing my Masters degree as an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner. I think I always knew I would be a Nurse Practitioner some day, it was never a mater of if, but when.

Personal reflection can be quite educational. We get so caught up in the race to better ourselves and our situation that we literally DO stop ‘seeing the forest for the trees’. The details do matter, but are they really the only thing that matters?

So here it is 6 years later and I’m still playing the ‘next’ game. I’ve been so caught up playing that exhausting game that I’ve missed out on a lot of the ‘now’. I always came up with the excuse that I needed to ‘focus’ on my career (and my studies). I had to study for this, or research that. I look back now and think to myself, ‘boy did I sound like a broken record’.

I walled myself off from all the ‘now’ things to focus on the ‘next’ thing.

I’m not sure what happened, or what changed (I really wish I could put my finger on it), but I decided this summer I would stop playing so hard at the ‘next’ game and slowly reintegrate myself into the ‘now’.

I’ve missed too many family gatherings (birthday parties, holidays, etc.). I’ve passed on too many social outings. I’ve spent one too much time at being the perfect ‘student’ that I’ve failed miserably at being everything else (in my humble opinion). I’m trying to find (and regain) that balance.

I’m reaching out to old friends, spending more time with my wife and my family, and just trying to be a ‘sponge’ for life around me. How great can a career be, and how rewarding can this ‘calling’ become if I miss out on everything else that life has to offer? I’m forcing myself to take a small step away from being the bookworm and to concentrate more on my life.

I guess I’m being so reflective because I do not want to have any more regrets. I’d rather regret getting that B grade in a class (instead of an A), than regret not spending some quality time with the people that make my life worthwhile, or worse, lose touch with them.

I want my life to be more than just the sum of its parts, and as simple as it sounds, I’m learning to be more than a nurse.

Being more than a nurse | Scrubs Magazine

The pack-rat nursing student

I jest at the reality of carrying ‘everything’ with you to and from class.

Packing your bags

No. I didn’t get fired. Heh heh.

This is yet another student quandary for all the student readers out there. Well I guess this could be for anyone, since at one time or another we have all been students – more specifically your time as a nursing student.

My first ‘stint’ as a nursing student, I utilized a locker for many supplies. I also attended classes and had my clinical fairly close to home. So supplies were not much of an issue for me. What didn’t fit in my bag(s), or what I couldn’t fit into my locker I would ‘store’ in my car – since the parking lot was only a jot down one block. Basically everything I ever needed was in ‘reach’, or was accessible with very little effort.

This time around the nursing school ‘block’ is a tad different. Grad school seems to always present new and interesting challenges for me (I could tell you some stories). The scary part is, I’m just now getting through my first year. I still have another 4 semester to go!!!!

Anyhoo…

Here’s my dilemma.

How in the world do you pack everything you need for your day of classes and/or clinicals without carrying around half a dozen bags? I’m trying to prevent the “I’ve moved out of my house” look while I’m on campus. It’s as if I’m packing for a long trip that never happens.

Right now I’ve whittle it down to just 3 separate bags. I’m toting around my backpack that has all my note taking materials, folders, class supplies, netbook, etc. The core of my ‘school’ supplies are in my backpack.

Then I have another messenger bag. This is the potpourri bag. Anything I can’t fit in the backpack I’m shoving into this bag. Extra food, layered clothing (the weather where I live is extremely unpredictable), umbrella, clinical supplies (like my stethoscope and other needed materials), and anything else I can think of that I might want or need during my ‘stay’ on campus.

Lastly is my lunch tote. The insulated kind with multiple pockets and zippers to hold my pre-made meals, water, and other miscellaneous snacks.

Let me clarify some things first:

  • I travel a great distance from home to school – in excess of an hour drive one way.
  • I have the ‘marathon’ of classes kind of day – one day a week classes that are back-to-back. Thankfully they are all in the same building.
  • The closest parking lot that I can consistently park my car in is approximately 4-5 blocks away up on the top of the hill of campus (not an easy hill to trek mind you).
  • I am a growing boy! I eat often, and I’m always hungry. I tend to perpetually eat /snack. No joke. I always get the sarcasm from fellow students asking my how much food I bring (a lot).
  • No, I refuse to purchase any food while on campus. I think you know why. (if not read some of my past health articles)
  • I only bring what is absolutely necessary for class time and clinical time.
  • As the semesters progress I’m going to have to bring a change of clothes due to proper dress attire when required.
  • I could rent a locker – but it would be pointless since I wouldn’t’ leave any supplies there overnight.

So my question is, or maybe it’s not really a question but an inquiry. How does everyone else do it? What do you utilize when you have to lug so much around campus? Is there anyway to make this just a tad easier on myself? Anyone have a recommendation on a better backpack or other bag?

Inquiring minds REALLY want to know.

Packing your bags | Scrubs Magazine