December 30, 2007


Posted in Jenn, Belarus at 5:12 pm by Jenn

It has been two weeks since I’ve posted and I honestly don’t have a reason except for laziness. Until this afternoon I thought I wouldn’t be posting for another week or so, but something struck me today and I feel the need to put it down while it’s fresh.

I was standing in the LONG line at the grocery store today and I just started thinking about the year that is coming to a close and reflecting. Reflecting about what I’ve decided has been the most stressful of my 38 1/2 years.

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December 29, 2007

Back to work

Posted in Journal, Max's World, What's for Dinner at 9:49 pm by Jenn

Well, it looks like my vacation is about to end.  Scott brought home a vacancy announcement for a position that I said I would accept.  I guess that means I’ll be returning to work in the new year.  It’s not nutrition related, but it’s good money and it’s part time so I’ll still have plenty of free time for knitting, blogging and all the other projects I’ve seemed to accumulate recently.  Besides, a little cash in the pocket will be a good thing to support my new swapping habit.  I’ll complete the application this weekend, turn it in sometime next week and then just wait to find out when I start.

 Max is going to be sad when I go back to work.  He is my little shadow during the day.  Every move I make he is right there with me.  He really has mellowed out a lot since we’ve been in Belarus. 

Tonight’s dinner, chili w/cheese and cornbread! YUM.  All locally purchased ingredients and better than I ever made in the states.   

Haiku Friday – 2

Posted in Journal tagged , at 1:31 am by Jenn

Haiku Friday

Plan your strategy.
Battle with your opponents.
Play the game of RISK.


Posted in Journal, What's for Dinner tagged , , , , , at 1:23 am by Jenn

I have wanted to  try a turducken for the past few years, but it just hasn’t been in the cards (cost, deployment, etc).  This year it’s out of the question because of shipping.  

A turducken is a  chicken stuffed into a duck, stuffed into a turkey.  I had read about them on the net and John Madden talks about them now and then during football.

We needed something to send to my parents for the holidays and decided to send them a turducken.  Of course, I had to tell them that we were sending dinner and asked if they would like the gift for Christmas or New Years.  They selected New Years.

My mom called today to say that the turducken had arrived, they plan to eat on Sunday.  I asked her to take a picture so I’ll be sure to post it when she sends it to me. 

December 27, 2007

Angel tree

Posted in Journal tagged , , , , at 9:47 pm by Jenn

Today was one of the best “feeling” days I’ve had in a while.  I received an email message a few weeks ago about an “Angel Tree” at Scott’s office.  I asked him to pick a name for us to be angels for. 

Today I (along with two of Scott’s co-workers) went shopping for our person – Nastia.  There were no wants and likes on the paper and our Nastia is 14 years old.  We had no idea what to buy for a 14 year old Belarussian girl so we opted for practical, boots, winter coat and sweaters (and lip gloss – every 14 year old girl needs lip gloss).  

I didn’t think about a picture until the box was wrapped, but I am so happy with the gifts and hope that they bring a smile to her face.   The jacket was black, medium length, down filled with a fur trimmed hood and cuffs.  The sweaters were cute, one zipper, one turtle neck and one with a hood.  The boots were black, square heeled (sorry no stilettos Nastia) and a nice warm fur lining.

The gifts will be delivered early next week as many Belarussians are Orthodox and Christmas is celebrated on January 7th.  It is always a good feeling to help someone less fortunate, especially a child.  I’d like to add the “Angel Tree” to my list of Christmas traditions.

December 26, 2007

Losing Patients

Posted in Journal tagged , , , , , , at 10:39 pm by Jenn

One thing I’ve never blogged about are my patients.   Today is the day I change that. 

Last week I logged in to my email and there was a notice that I had a message in my MySpace account.  Since I started blogging I haven’t really been keeping “my space” updated”.  I logged on and there it was titled “RIP”.  The message was from one of my dialysis patients back in NC.  Here it was two days before Christmas Eve and I’m staring at a message titled “RIP”.  I hesitated, then I clicked.

Inside were the simple words “Wilbur Chadburn 1970-2007* .  I cried.   

Wilbur like so many patients had been given the title “Non Compliant”.  Sure he should have come for treatment 3 times per week, but chose to come 1 time if a tech he liked was working to put him on the machine, sometimes he’d go 10-13 days without treatment.  Sure he ate what he wanted regardless of what it was doing to his body.  Sure he would fill his prescriptions once every 18 months even though the prescription should be filled monthly, but does he deserve the brand “Non Compliant”?  I don’t think so. 

Why not “Non Compliant”?  How many of you follow your doctor’s orders word for word?  Do YOU exercise 30 minutes a day, everyday?  Do YOU eat 5-9 serving of fruits and vegetables everyday?  Do YOU brush AND floss your teeth daily?  Do YOU take your antibiotics until they are gone?  Are you “Non Compliant” or are you simply human?

Working with the dialysis patient population is challenging.  These patients follow the most restrictive of any diet.  Limited fluids, limited sodium, limited phosphorus, limited potassium.  Naturally with so many limitations they think they can’t eat anything, and who can blame them.  Truth is that they can eat many things, and they can be tasty.  That’s the role of the Registered Dietitian and that is what I loved about my job…giving someone who had given up hope, the desire to eat and enjoy food again. 

Prior to working with dialysis patients I worked in Oncology.  I found personal satisfaction helping patients manage their symptoms, by altering their dietary intake, I loved helping people to rediscover food during their illness and I loved teaching patients how to feed themselves via a feeding tube so that they could remain nutritionally sound during their chemo/radiation treatment and greatly improve their clinical outcome.  These few minutes a day made all the difference to the patients and their families and that is what is was all about.  Life, and the QUALITY of that life. 

Dialysis patients are often referred to as “the walking dead”.  How horrible!  We are all since the day we are born dying, so why the need for labels.  Why can’t we just accept that some people have more challenges in their lives day to day and be done with it.  Let’s do away with the labels and start caring more for one another.   Now that’s a reason for living.

Someone asked me recently how I could stand working with patients who were so ill … my reply to that person, “wouldn’t you want someone who wanted to work, to care for you in your time of need?” 

SO for all the Wilbur Chadburn’s out there, my wish for you in 2008 is a year of education, health and happiness.  I urge you to partner in your healthcare, ask questions of your provider and most importantly be comfortable with your provider.

To all the doctors, nurses, techs, assistants, out there, STOP, before you label another patient, take a close look at yourself.  Have you given each patient the treatment that you would want given to you?  If you need to resort to labels, perhaps it’s time to refer the patient to a provider who may be able to help them.

I’m going to get off my soapbox now.  I just needed to get that off my chest.  Seeing that death notice really struck a nerve with me and made me realize just how much I miss patient care. 

 *name changed  

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