Sunday, August 30, 2015

Finding Time For Me

I have been MIA for several weeks - life has been busy.  I was on call for 17 days. Being on call  means seeing 30+ patients a day, hospital rounds, and answering after hours call.  I found myself
working 16 hour days.  In my spare time I was trying to grade papers, keep my classroom discussions going, run the kennel, make sure Pops was taken care of and relying on the Big Man to take care of the house and our rescue dogs.  In the end - I was tired, miserable, and grumpy.

About 13 days into this crazy schedule the Big Man showed up in my office and announced we were going on a mini vacation - aka, I am taking you somewhere so you can sleep and not be disturbed.  Pick a place ??? Just in time a drug rep showed up in my office and suggested we go to Branson Missouri.  So, we made reservations, and decided we would travel without an schedule.

This mini vacation, also meant, I had to find someone to stay with my Dad, keep my dogs, and cancel borders.  What are a few more task...but on Thursday of last week, it all cam together,  we set off on our mini vacation. Branson Missouri bound - of course I slept most of the drive.
We had dinner the first night at the Dixie Stampede

We played Put-Put Golf
We rode the Branson Scenic Railway
I slept
We visited the Top of the Rock
I slept
It wasn't until Saturday morning when we started home that I begin to feel like I would be healthy again. 
Healthy means  - I wasn't going to fall asleep every time my bottom hit a chair, cry at the silliest things, or eat every piece of junk food I could find. 

I tell my patients everyday that stress is bad for you, stress can lead to chronic disease, stress can kill you...but, I wasn't listening.  So, today is a new day.  I spent Sunday at home, distressing.  I spent most of the day cleaning my studio, playing with dogs, a little cooking and a little scrapbooking (watch later this week for the scrapbook stuff0.

Our mini vacations is just what I needed to hit the reset button.
I am back - focusing on controlling my stress and finding ways to be healthy.
What do you do to be healthy?
~ Connie ~

Monday, July 13, 2015

When you Coummnity is Made to Look Bad

I live in a small town in Northeast Arkansas. I have lived her for 26 years. I truly believe that my little town is a great place to live - but lately the media has been focusing on the bad things that occur in our community.   Now don't get me wrong - we do have crime, I am not trying to cover up what has happened in our community. Every town / community in America has crime, but crime should not define a community -the people of the community define the community.

My favorite way to describe Blytheville is: "Blytheville may not have a lot of commercial things to offer, but Blytheville has a big heart."  I could list example after example of how the community has rallied to help out another member of the community. From simple bake sales to auctions to building a free clinic.

It is not just the local residents that care for each other, the local businesses and industry are active parts of our community.  Like Nucor-Yamoto Steel, Nurcor Steel Tenaris  and Lowes, who give both of time and resources. They are a huge part of our community. 

The community members know that Blytheville has has a period of decline, but they also know that Blytheville can over come anything.  Community member's big and small are working to revitalize Main Street Blytheville.  The Blytheville Ministerial Alliance works diligently to solve social issues and help build a stronger community.

So why is their crime in Blytheville? Like other communities in America, big or small, there is a segment of our community that feels hopeless and helpless. These members of our community lack the imagination to see a better life or the solid foundation to recognize that life is precious.  They often act out of anger, greed, or mental health issues (mental health is a whole other blog and then some - out mental health system is broken).

How do you change the image of Blytheville? How do you focus the media on the good and not the bad?  How long will it take to see a change?

Adding more police officers might keep residents safer, but the addition of police officers will have little impact on fixing the feeling of helplessness and hopelessness.  Lately our local elected officials seem to think that prayer is the answer.  I do believe that prayer can fix anything, but like the joke about God sending multiple rescuers to get a man off the roof - God has given us the intelligence, resources and tools to start fixing the issue, to rescue those need hope and help. We need to be active - this activity has start in homes and schools.

How long will it take to fix the social issues that lead to crime, a lifetime. Until then, pray that our elected officials use their knowledge and tools to help save those in our community that feel helpless and hopeless. Me, I plan to continue to focus on my community as having a "Big Heart" by continuing my work with the free health clinic and the local humane society and urging others quit talking about the issues and put your "Big Heart" to work, making Blytheville a better place to live and letting the world know - Blytheville is a good place to live.
~ Connie ~

Sunday, July 05, 2015

My Newest Obsession - Coop Dreams

A few weeks ago I was visiting the Chicken Chick I found  her post about a new reality TV show -
Coop Dreams.  Being a new chicken farmer (I guess that is what you call someone who owns backyard chickens) I set a reminder in my calender so I could watch the first show.

Getting home for work at midnight I decided to find the channel and set up the TV to record the first episode.  I had no clue the show would air at 5 AM...thank goodness for the technology to record TV shows.

So, first thing the next morning before my feet hit the floor I had to watch the first episode of Coop Dreams.   The Big Man watched it with me...the show was awesome.

We are struggling with where and how to build our feathered girls and boys a new coop.

As we try to incorporate the extra acres we purchased a year ago, into the land our home sits on we have encountered some water issues.  Deciding where to place our new coop, has been challenging.  Every time we decide on a location, we get rain, and we realize that location holds water or is all clay and the spot will not work.
We have finally decided on a location - no trees but we will build some shade into the structure.
This weekend my guys built me a bridge joining the two pieces of property - as you can see from the picture we had drainage put in a few weeks ago, that has resulted in me having to walk out to the road and back up the drive to the kennel to keep form walking in the mud.  I am so proud of the Big Man and the boys they built the bridge without out any plans, just their imagination.
If you notice the first telephone pole behind the bridge, that is the new location of the chicken coop.  We are going to have dirt hauled in before we start building so the girls will be out of the water, but we have a location!!!!! I am so excited. I can't wait to get the coop built - I also have a new swing that The Big Man is going to set up near the coop so I can have my coffee in the morning and watch the feathered children play.

We are also finishing up the youngest son's apartment.  That is the building you see in the background.  Stay tuned for the next couple of weeks as we work hard to build our little urban farm.
Do you ever wonder what to do with your land or your yard? For those that have chickens, any hints you want to share about building a chicken coop?

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Keeping it Simple with Water

This past week I had an opportunity to write a guest article for our local newspaper, the Blytheville Courier News.   I opted to write about the simple steps of hydration. I am still trying to find some balance in life and in my role of nurse practitioner, nursing educator, entrepreneur by keeping things simple are important to me.
Drinking water is simple, easy and inexpensive. Yet, so many people I see in my practice drink sweet tea, soda or energy drinks instead of water.
Every cell in your body needs water. That is why it is important to drink enough fluid.  Did you know that muscle consist of 75% water, your brain consists of 90% water, bone consist of 22% water, and blood consist of 83% water. If you do not supply your body with enough water your brain cannot function well, this can even cause a headache or a migraine.
As we approach summer and temperatures above ninety degrees, you should be aware of the symptoms of dehydration such as, dark urine, dry skin, thirst, hunger, and fatigue.
Dehydration can make you feel tired, become constipated, have muscle cramps, a headache, irregular blood pressure and even kidney problems.  Becoming more than twenty percent dehydrated can put you at risk for death. 
We lose water through sweating, exhaling, and urination. In hot weather, you tend to lose more water through sweating, in cold conditions, you tend to urinate more.  When you are ill, like with flu and diarrhea you tend to loose fluid.
How much water should you drink in a day to avoid dehydration?  We have all heard we need to drink eight glasses of water a day, but in reality there is no clear-cut answer to how much water to drink per day.  Water intake depends on several factors like your health condition, your activity status, the climatic conditions, physical size, your weight, and your environment.  
Here is your challenge using the formula below on an average day determine if you are drinking enough water to be healthy. 
Your weight is 150 lbs.  Divide you weight by 2 – the result is the amount of water in ounces you should drink every day. 150 ÷ 2 = 75 (you should drink 75 ounces of water per day). 

So, have you had enough water today? 
~ Connie ~

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Ending My Unproductive Time on Social Media

This week has been another challenging week.  I have struggled all week to minimize my sleep debt, find some time for me and keep the rest of my life balanced.  
I have been focusing on identifying ways to minimize wasted time in my day.
In thinking about how to improve my productivity I found some interesting statistics.The average employee will spend 12% of the working day using unproductive applications, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube. This amounts to 65 hours a month, which have not been used productively, according to data analyzed by Desk Time
According to other research, people in the U.S. check their Facebook, Twitter, and other social media account 17 times a day, meaning at least once every waking hour, if not more 
I am no exception - when I am feeling stressed or overwhelmed, I grab my phone and check Facebook
 or twitter. 

Why do I use diversion to support procrastination?  Maybe it is human nature to avoid things we don't want to do??? Maybe I am lazy? Maybe it is just that I am more interested in social media than the things I need to do? 

Either way - social media is impacting how I use my time. 

So - I am making an effort to limit my time on Facebook by not opening the app at work except at lunch. I am not grabbing my phone first thing in the morning.

I would love to know how you handle social media. Do you find social media taking up productive time? How do you limit your time on social media?

Monday, June 08, 2015

On a Journey with My Best Friend

I am married to my best friend - and we have been on a journey for 20 years.  This journey hasn't always been easy - we have raised 5 kids, bought and completed rebuild a home, faced retirement and health issues, rescued a few dogs, opened a business and loved each other unconditionally.
The Big Man spent 25 years as a police officer, he is now the City of Blytheville Building Inspector and is the Justice of the Peace for Mississippi County District 8. Besides me, he loves his guns, hunting, food, our children, dogs (he is allergic to cats). 
He literally walked into my life.  We meet at the park running. He doesn't know it but, I almost quit running that night.  Being competitive I thought I had to keep up with him - all 6'3 inches of him with my 5'2' frame.
He loves my children as his own, accepted my houseful of dogs, learned how to trout fish, bought me a tractor and chickens.  Has supported me during my 18 years of formal education.  Helped me loose weight, meet the military weight and physical fitness standards and supported me during my time in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps Reserves.  He has been my biggest cheerleader as I struggled to open a free health clinic and my own family nurse practitioner office.  He has shielded me from mice and even used a live trap to trap the mice and relocate them rather than kill them so - I would not cry and feel guilty about killing the mice.  He is beside me everyday on this horrible journey of dementia my dad is taking us down. He has laughed at me, made me laugh and cried with me. He has prayed with me and for me... he is my everything.
We never go to bed mad - we always say I love when leaving each other or ending a phone call.  I can't imagine this journey through life without him....I am so glad you stopped by my blog today to meet my best friend. I would love to hear about your best friend.
~ Connie ~

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Dementia Sucks

Living with a family member that has dementia is difficult, there I said it!  
Dementia sucks!
In August of last year my then 86 year-old father came to live with us.  He was beginning to have some memory issues.  The issues were starting to impact his life - he was a risk when driving, he was starting to have anger issues, he did not always remember to eat or to take his medication.  He had started having difficulty managing his finances.
 Ready or not we drove to Texas and brought him to our home in Northeast AR. This was a big move for a man who was born and raised in Texas and never had any plans of moving out of Texas.

The first few months we adjusted.  The Big Man and our youngest son pitched in and we established a routine for providing care for Pops.
Routines are important for people with dementia.  Structure helps keep things constant which minimizes the confusing that occurs with dementia.
But, we were not prepared for the feelings that come with watching a vibrant independent person loose their ability to be able to recall dates, memories of their life, or complete simple daily task.
Life will never be the same - it is like loosing someone you love, yet they are still standing right in front of you.
Next week we are headed to the geriatric specialist - I know there is nothing we can do to stop this demon called dementia, but maybe we can slow the process down?? maybe we can find a way to accept what the next months or years may hold??? maybe we can find ways to make Pop's life less forgetful???

Dementia sucks!  Over the next few weeks I will be sharing information on dementia on my business blog - Connie's Family Practice  stop by and check out what I learn as Pops and my family fight the demon Dementia.