Posted in My Life Now, Texas- Living with Parents

Weeks of January 20th and 27th 2020- Work Woes, Weight Woes, and Workout Woes… Then a Reawakening.

Yeah, it happened again. I was really sad. I skipped a week and almost another of blogging. Yep. It’s going to keep happening. But I’ve decided to do a joint recap instead of try to piece together whatever that mess was. Here’s the important bits:

 

Week of January 20th 2020

 

  • I found out I’d lost a pound of weight since the week prior.
    • I hadn’t really done anything to make that happen except being more conscious of my snacking and not being excessive with that.

 

  • I applied for a job at a hospital.
    • I’ve been really mentally blocked for a long time and just can’t bring myself to move forward in my life. Now I finally have my dietetic license and can apply for jobs in my career, but my heart hasn’t been in it. I’m so tired of being rejected. (Not from jobs per se, but in general. Especially since my internship, but also in recent personal matters.) Axyl gave me the real-talk chat I needed and I mustered up the energy to apply for one job. Still waiting on word from that hospital.

 

  • I replied to a health food company. 
    • This company seemed interesting and though they reached out to me to work for them as a cashier (well below my abilities now that I am licensed) I genuinely wanted to learn more about the company and network. I decided to meet with the CEO/ founder later in the week.

 

  • I met a guitarist in my piano class. 
    • He didn’t have his book, so I offered to share mine with him. We got to talking and it seems he’s also from a different discipline like me. Because of his experience with guitar and my experience with singing, we both know the very basics of music like notes and rhythm and such, so the class went pretty slow and we spent a lot of it chit chatting.

 

  • I didn’t go to the gym most of or the whole week.
    • I can’t really tell from my bullet points from last week. I think I didn’t go a single day…

 

  • I met with the founder of the health food company. 
    • He was not like I expected. Very stereotypical. I won’t even go into detail. Let’s just say, I’m glad I’m not working for him.

 

  • I got really sad because of that meeting. Vented to a friend. Had a fallout with said friend.
    • Tears in my cereal the next day. I’m not even joking about that. : ( Axyl gave me a pep talk and I felt better. I decided to let that relationship go. At least the way I was going about it. Why put in effort to be told to back off?

 

 

Week of January 27th 2020

 

  • Found out I’d gained 5 pounds in the last week.
    • Officially obese category II (BMI 35). New highest weight I’ve ever been.
    • That’s what being very sad and giving in to emotional eating will do to ya.

 

  • Opening up more in sign language class. 
    • It’s easier now that there’s only like 10 students instead of 30 last semester. I think I surprised my professor since he and the rest the class are used to seeing me as the quiet, smart kid. That’s the way I usually present myself in most places. A lot of people don’t get to see my dark, funny side. Ha, this class won’t know what’s coming!

 

  • Getting bored in piano class. 
    • It’s very much a beginning piano class and apart from some much needed practice sight reading. It seems I know the basics. Didn’t even feel like chatting with the guitarist.

 

  • Decided to start eating healthier one step at a time instead of trying to do everything “perfectly”
    • I know how complicated nutrition can be, but I also know how simple it can be too. I decided it doesn’t matter what I think about myself or how scared I am to be skinnier. This has gotten out of hand and I can’t keep putting it off and gaining 5 more pounds every time I get knocked down by life. There’s not next week, or starting Monday, or maybe if I feel like it. It’s now. It’s starting simple and building on it. It’s slow, but steady. It’s Wednesday. I started eating healthier on a Wednesday. I decided to start with the most basic thing. I know there are more than two dozen essential vitamins and minerals, but take it one thing at a time. For it to be a lifestyle and not a diet it has to be maintainable. Start with what you know you can do and that you can do consistently. So I did.
      • Maybe I’ll write a more detailed post just about this later. Or maybe not. I’m not trying to influence anyone into following what I’m doing for a healthier lifestyle. That’s different for everyone. Maybe it will help some, maybe it will hinder others. I’ll think about it.

 

  • First aerial silks class
    • We are in pairs for the class. My partner seems very nice and super extroverted. She made the class so much fun, even though I only successfully was able to do one of about 5 moves we were taught and it was basically hanging upside down. 🙈 I wasn’t able to climb the silk or do a pull through. (My arms are dying. >.< I need to build some upper body strength!)

 

  • Went to the gym for the first time in about 2 weeks.
    • I took my brother with me before sign language class and he also did a bit of exercise. That was cool! I used the stationary bikes. Why this gym positioned the spin bikes right in the middle of all of the weight machines (read: with my butt directly in front of a couple of guys), I have no idea. It was awkward, but I still got a short bike session in before class.

 

  • Went swimming for the first time in about 3 weeks. 😬
    • I almost didn’t go because my mom and brother didn’t want to swim. (They said it was too cold and they would rather do some other form of cardio.) But, I did my swim session without them and it felt refreshingly nice to just concentrate on myself. (Usually, I keep an eye on my mom and brother because they aren’t the strongest swimmers.)

 

  • Cousin’s birthday party!
    • Cousins invited me to join them for some bowling. 🙂 It was so much fun! I hadn’t seen all of them in a very long time, but they were very welcoming. I’m so glad I was able to go. (Even though I suck at bowling, haha!)

 

Next Week:

  • Last poem about someone I’m over. Just want to post it because it was something that hurt me deeply and I felt strongly about and now I don’t. I’m all about transformation and letting go of that is definitely a positive change in my life.
  • We’ll see how maintainable this healthier lifestyle really is. It’s been 4 days and it feels great. Hopefully I can say that after a full week. Otherwise, I’ll have to tweak it and make it more manageable.
  • Will I muster up the courage to apply for more jobs? I hope so…

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Note:

Picture is of my crappy little mountain bike that I’ve outfitted for future triathlons and indoor training. It’s not much, but it’s all I need. Such is life. I make do.

 

Posted in Thoughts and the Past

The Internet is NOT a Replacement for my Profession!

I’m sick of people judging me and my profession. There is no such thing as the food police. You ignorant   You unknowing judgmental people. Do you know how annoying it is to hear the same boring, (insulting even!) stupid joke every time I tell someone what it is I majored in?

Ignoramus:

Oh, so what are you studying?

Me (already knowing what is coming):

………..uhh…….. (trying to decide if I want to answer or change the topic of conversation)

………(deciding this person might be different. Telling myself I shouldn’t be ashamed to admit what I’m pursuing)

Nutrition….

Ignoramus:

OoOoH! DoN’t LoOk aT Me! YoU GoNnA PuT mE oN A dIeT??? UhhhHhhHhFbnZS: VBHI

(sorry, got a little frustrated there.)

Continue reading “The Internet is NOT a Replacement for my Profession!”

Posted in My Life Now, Texas- Living with Parents

Week of January 6th 2020- First Official Week of Triathlon Training and Some Non-Official Translation Gigs

It is Thursday night as I begin writing this. I hadn’t planned on returning to this blog. I mean, I’m glad that I have, but it happened naturally, not as part of a New Year’s resolution or personal goal or anything of the sort. It’s probably better that way. I’m back because I want to be, not because I’m forcing myself to be.

I was going to start weekly blogging two nights ago, on Tuesday, but as I started writing I realized there were countless battles I waged with myself over the last six months in my mind, that I had to at least attempt to explain those occurrences on the surface. Here’s that attempt at a sort of update. The following night (Wednesday) I figured I may as well start fresh with the start of the New Year and make a weekly blog post of my first week of the year.

Yep… so now it’s Thursday… Let’s see what I can remember…

 

Monday, Jan. 6th- Probably Made a 10 Week Triathlon Training Plan

I technically stayed up Sunday night until early Monday morning (3am-ish) to make a training schedule, so that counts, right? Well, I already had a plan, but upon a bit more research I found it probably would not have been ideal. It was much more intense than a beginning training schedule should be. I haven’t exercised in about a month (minus the day before and the day of that indoor triathlon I’d done on Sunday). Starting from 0 to 12 hours of exercise a week probably would not have been a good way to start the season.

So, much to my dismay, this week’s plan is about 4 hours. I mean, from 0 to 4 hours that’s still a big jump, but I am antsy. I like to progress fast and am prone to getting impatient if I don’t see results in whatever it is I do. I like positive change and more than that, I like the validation or proof of it happening. But, fine… Slow and steady, that’s what they say wins the race, right? *sigh… Lessons in patience, I guess. Today was my first day I didn’t have other engagements since getting back from my trip to West Texas with my college buddies, so apart from making a family meal plan for the week and going on an hour indoor bike ride, I just relaxed and watched T.V. with my mom.

Below will be this week’s training plan, but basically it consists of 2 one hour stationary bike rides, 2 thirty minute treadmill runs/walks, and 2 thirty to forty minute indoor pool swims.

 

Tuesday, Jan. 7th- Probably Finally Paid for Dietetic State Licensure and Translated for Brother’s Doctors Appointments

Yes, I finally took a moment to read through some important emails about my new dietetic license and the accompanying fees and continuing education requirements I need to complete. I should be getting an official card with my state license to practice dietetics in Texas in the next two or three weeks. Yay!

Other than that, I got up at 6:13am. Know how I remember that? Because my dad and brother usually leave the house by 6:10am and I was so tired I’d fallen asleep after waking up for the first time at 5:45-ish am. I kid you not, we were in the car and on our way by 6:15am. I don’t even know how I got out of bed and dressed that fast…

But, it was important to me to go. Yes, it’s my brother’s appointment, but my dad does a lot to help my brother with his health and this was his 1 year check up appointment with several different doctors and disciplines after his kidney transplant. So… yes, important. And important for me to go to ease the language barrier. I know hospitals have translators, but if I’m available, why not help out?

Case in point: while doing a sonogram we found out my brother had his gallbladder removed. Neither my dad nor my brother knew (my brother was too young to remember at the time we suspect it was removed). I’m sure my dad signed the papers necessary to allow the surgery, but there was a lot going on at the time and I highly suspect when situations get critical there’s less time to get a translator and talk through every little (or not so little) procedure. I’m glad to be back so things like this aren’t as likely to happen.

 

Wednesday, Jan. 8th- Translating for Mom’s Doctor’s Appointment and Why I Care About Language so Much

Continue reading “Week of January 6th 2020- First Official Week of Triathlon Training and Some Non-Official Translation Gigs”

Posted in Uncategorized

Health Doesn’t Just Come From Your Doctor: The Importance of a Team Approach to Health.

I’m easily triggered. Just because someone isn’t diagnosed doesn’t mean they aren’t struggling. Do you know how many people have medical diagnoses that either aren’t discovered until years after the onset or at all? It’s not uncommon. And often times medical diagnoses have physical symptoms. Can you imagine how difficult it is to go about life with constant or extreme pain, inflammation, fever, cough, whatever it may be, and all the doctors, specialists, and medical professionals tell you nothing is wrong, when you clearly know it is? How can everyone- professionals especially- doubt what you feel so strongly every day?!

Now imagine that same negation, doubt, and being brushed off but no physical symptoms. Or the ones you do have aren’t even considered. I’m talking about undiagnosed mental disorders. I’ve gone to the doctor. Other than being overweight and having a twinge of high LDL cholesterol, I’m fine. You know, the last time I went to the doctor, the nurse asked about any signs of depression or anxiety. It’s a complicated, but simple question. I mean, the whole concept of mental illnesses are things most lay people (in my experience at least) don’t seem to understand. It was nice to be asked. I replied, “yeah, some anxiety”. I was too anxious to mention my depressive tendencies.

 My Experiences at the Doctor’s

I’ve been going to therapists/ support groups on and off for the last four years now and I can say that it’s really helped me. However, all of that was when I was in university. It was either free or really cheap, super close to where I lived, and on my own account. I remember the doctor I went to a couple years ago didn’t say a word to me about mental illness. But she sure did waive the mood screening she supposedly did. Just because I wasn’t bawling my eyes out or trembling as I spoke, I’m ruled out for anxiety and depression, not to mention all the other known disorders? I didn’t know the DSM had changed their criteria!

Mental health isn’t that easy. You can’t just look at someone and know they are mentally okay. Sometimes you can. I would argue that when I went to the doctor this winter, I was a stereotypical depressed person. I looked tired even through most of what I did during the day was sleep, I hadn’t showered in several days. I know the doctor and everyone else could tell by my greasy hair that fell slick over one side of my face. Maybe I looked better than I remember feeling, but the not having showered thing was evident.

Despite that and the fact that the nurse seemed to have written down something about my anxiety comment, the doctor didn’t mention a word about mental health. I understand doctors are much more physiologically inclined, but health is multifaceted! You couldn’t run a hospital with just cardiologists. What would people with diabetes do? Or burn patients? How about a hospital filled with dentists? No! Each medical professional has a role.

Collaborating with other Medical Professionals as a Dietetic Intern

As you guys may know if you read my weekly blogs, I am doing a nutrition internship at the moment with the end goal to become a licensed dietitian. My first rotations were mostly clinical which meant I was evaluating patients at hospitals. One thing that I got harped at for? Not referring patients to other medical professionals. At first, I assumed, well they called a nutrition specialist so I should focus on the nutrition aspect. Makes sense, right?

Yeah, well it isn’t that simple. Some patients were sedated, others had a tube down their throat, and yet others just didn’t understand their disease. I couldn’t just waltz into their hospital rooms and focus solely on nutrition. Everything was entwined. From the patient’s medical diagnosis (doctor), their ability to move (physical and/or occupational therapists), ability to swallow (speech pathologist), will to live and eat (psychologists), any damage/ deformity that could alter nutrition intake or absorption (surgeons), to when blood sugar was checked (nurses) and how much family support/ financial stability they had (social workers), it is all intertwined. If I had a patient who was hungry but was in too much pain to eat, I couldn’t do my job. Or, more like, it wouldn’t matter if I did my job because the patient still wouldn’t eat. That was doctor territory. I wasn’t about to tell a doctor what to do.

The Intertwined World of Medicine

Health is a complicated thing. It even goes beyond medical professions to each individual. It includes, yeah, any diseases, dental caries, and so on, but also diet, physical activity, sleep, stress management, and emotional balance. I knew that when I was doing nutrition evaluations at hospitals, but I didn’t want to overstep my boundaries. I didn’t want to boss around professionals with more studies than me. But that wasn’t what I was supposed to be doing. This is what I mean when I say health is simple and complex.

I don’t have to know all the inner workings of the body or mind or even that patient’s life. All I have to know is that if I see something not quite right, it’s okay to consult someone. It’s okay to take a couple minutes of someone’s time if I believe it would help. I am not a dentist, but if I have a patient who can’t eat because their dentures don’t fit right, it is my responsibility to call one. Otherwise, I’m being negligent. It’s wrong to recognize a problem (worse if you also recognize a solution and even worse if it’s a relatively simple solution) and then do nothing about it.

A medical professional shouldn’t leave a patient to figure things out if they have already figured it out. The least they can do is mention the observed problem to a patient and suggest they seek help from a specialist. Better yet would be to call in a referral. That being said, it is all health care worker’s responsibilities to be observant and help where they can. I know every profession is busy with their own work, but if you see something that’s not quite right, no matter your line of work, say something!

If Only my Doctors Read my Blog…

I’m getting better at it. I wish my doctors were better at it. I know I need some sort of mental health specialist to get out of this rut I’m falling into again. I’ve never experienced such extreme symptoms as I am right now. Yet, my doctor didn’t mention a word about mental health. She asked if I’d gone to the dentist though, so I guess that’s some positive points there.

I don’t know if I am certifiably insane. I don’t blame my doctors for the fact that I haven’t gotten up the courage to set up an appointment with a psychologist. I’m not saying people’s health is solely a doctor’s responsibility. In the end, you are in responsible for your health. What I’m saying is doctors are the gatekeepers that connect most other health professionals and a quick referral can change someone’s life for the better in a matter of weeks versus the months or years it may take that person to figure it out on their own or, as is my case, build up the courage to do something for themselves.

Oh, well, I guess that’s what natural selection is about, right? Hooray for not knowing what, if anything, is wrong with my mind!! Maybe I’ll feel like making an appointment with a psychologist next year…

Posted in Uncategorized

Week of October 15th 2018- Nutrition Support (Beware of Burnout)

My life is stress. I know this. I feel like I should be prepared for this. But no matter how much I’ve lived through, I feel as though I’ll never be ready for what lies in front of me. Maybe I never will be. I definitely wasn’t ready for this week.

Monday, October 15th-First Day at a New Hospital- Nutrition Support

New rotation! Another clinical area, this time Nutrition Support. For those who are new to my blog, I am doing a dietetic internship with the Puerto Rico Department of Health. This consists of completing assignments from the Health Department itself plus going to different hospitals or community locations to experience a week or more in about 20 areas over the course of one year. Each rotation has its own dietitian preceptor that is in charge of us. They essentially guide us in that area and give us more assignments/ work to complete for them.

This preceptor had us define 36 medical terms that relate to nutrition support. Nutrition support is exactly like it sounds. When a person can’t eat in the traditional way (by mouth) hospitals support their nutrition by feeding patients via a tube to their stomach or intestines or through a vein (using an IV or catheter, basically a tube attached to a vein). There’s much more to it than that, but I hope that gives y’all an idea.

Our first day we turned in the vocab and saw our dietitian preceptor do patient rounds. 11am, we were on our own. We were given a patient to do a case study and that was it. No further instructions.

Tuesday, October 16th- Learning TPN Calculations?

So, we got all of Monday to work on the case study. After a while we went to ask the preceptor for further information on how to do the case study and she gave us our patients’ laboratories and told us we needed to interview the patient. My patient (which I essentially got randomly, since we didn’t get much information about who was whom) was so ill, even the preceptor didn’t go evaluate him. She told us he was on death’s door, and wasn’t about to go in and ask him how he was doing. …great.

Today the preceptor dashed through an example of a TPN (Total Parenteral Nutrition) calculation. This is the math a dietitian does to figure out how to “feed” a patient through their veins in order to meet their total needs for the day. My internship partner, Gia, and I had done this during our general clinical rotation at another hospital, but were both completely confused by the end of her “teaching” us.

So, after going to see the daily patient rounds it was about 11 am and we got the rest of the day (until 4:30pm) to work on our three calculations that were part of our homework. We spent the day puzzled trying to figure out how to calculate things the way the preceptor did. I was sleep deprived. Don’t remember from what, but I was running on about two hours of sleep and couldn’t think enough to figure out the math. Gia went to ask the preceptor and came out even more confused.

Wednesday, October 17th- All Nighter for Nutrition Support Homework

What did we even do at the hospital today? I don’t remember. So, I’ll tell you about something that I didn’t mention about Tuesday. At the beginning of patient rounds, our dietitian preceptor turns to me and Gia and, almost like an afterthought, says something along the lines of “Oh Laura, your patient died”. … Okay. That was it. Then we went up to see the day’s patients. When we were in the hallway that led to my deceased patient’s room, the preceptor mentioned the family was still there as the medical staff were preparing his body for removal. …Alright.

I didn’t say anything. Later, the preceptor told me the nurse she works with had told her to give me a new case study, but she’d decided not to, because that’s part of life. That’s what happens. At that moment I said, “Yes, I know. He’s my third.” That I know of, he’s the third patient that I evaluate that I later learn has passed away. Even though I just had a conversation with them, it’s an odd feeling to know that one day you were talking to someone trying to help them eat/ get better and the next… there’s nothing to get better. They’re gone.

Thursday, October 18th- All Nighter for Department of Health Assignments

Since this week we had a meeting at the Health Department on Friday, our rotation at this hospital was cut short. This meant all of our assignments were due on Thursday. I typed up those calculations we didn’t really figure out how to do, the case study that we were also not 100% clear on, and the summary of an academic article about TPN. Gia and I worked on it all night. I was able to sleep one hour before waking up at 6am to take the train to the hospital. That hour was glorious. I felt renewed.

After presenting our case study and turning in our work I’d planned to sleep about 5 hours to then finish another case study I had to present during the meeting on Friday. I felt awake though, so I didn’t sleep. I worked on the case study and told myself I’d finish by midnight and then I could maybe sleep two hours before working on a grant proposal that was also due on Friday. Nope. I barely finished the 20 page case study and power point presentation that went with it by 6am. I didn’t take mindless breaks. I laid on the cold floor to wake myself up. I was running on an hour of sleep. But I finished my terrible work. I didn’t even get to begin the grant proposal.

Friday, October 19th- Presenting Clinical Case Study

6am. Meeting started at 7am. Printer issues. Chaos. I presented with a shaky voice and without an idea what I was saying. It was disastrous. At one point the director of the program (I was presenting to her and my fellow 9 dietetic interns) asked me a question and I was so tired, so beaten, that I responded the truth. She asked me why I’d decided on some supplement for my case study patient and I said, “honestly, because my preceptor told me to.” This was my first patient. Ever. This was during my first day at the general clinical rotation way back in September. I listened more to my preceptor than to myself. She’s the one with the experience. She was supposed to guide us. *Sigh* Trust no one. Make your own decisions.

Saturday, October 20th- Sleep Blissful Sleep!

I fell asleep at 8pm and woke up at 1pm today. It was so needed. When I woke up Gia and I went grocery shopping. Mostly ramen. Both of us hardly ate this week. That’s not okay. Hardly any sleep or food plus a ton of stress meant we were working ourselves empty. I didn’t even have pasta at home and subsisted mostly on ramen.

Luckily, this hospital feeds its employees and for the four days we were there, they fed us too. That was the majority of our food. Even there, I’d only eat a scoopful of rice or the meat. Because of the stress, I just wasn’t hungry. I bought a cookie and it tasted bland. Things were getting bad. My body didn’t care much for food. To avoid that, I bought pasta and tortillas. The most basic of foods for me. The easiest filling things to eat. I don’t want to go through a week like that again.

The rest of the night Gia and I worked on a powerpoint presentation and handout due on Sunday. Yes, our preceptor for the next week told us it was due on Sunday. …Okay. So we got it done, because I really don’t want another week like this one.

Sunday, October 21st- Catching Up on Priorities

Woke up at noon and then went to the store to buy some ink. Gia recently has printed a lot of my assignments because I’ve been having issues with the printer at my apartment. So I felt like I owed her. After that we wandered around the mall. I bought some food, but since I’d made an effort to have a filling breakfast (eggs and apple juice) I was stuffed. Gia put the fries in her bag and I did the same with my chicken nuggets. We wandered some more when I saw that the flower stand was there. (I posted a picture of the flowers I bought from there on instagram a few weeks ago. Links to my social media below!) Today I bought some yellow daisies before returning to our apartment complex. Gia went to her apartment and I to mine. Since then I watched a bit of YouTube and began writing this blog post.

Oh, and that grant proposal I didn’t finish? It’s due in two weeks now. Catch is, passing grade is an 85. This week is another intense rotation: Trauma (aka, critically ill patients). Plus! Gia and I were just notified on Friday that we will be going to another city (about an hour and a half away) this coming Friday to put up a little information booth about nutrition for older adults. OH! And! Next week our (five day) rotation is in that city. Ah! And we don’t have a car. We might just stay from this coming Friday till next Friday when the rotation there ends. But… how will I turn in the grant proposal? (It’s due as a hard copy.)

 

Who knows?! Isn’t life fun?! I should be going crazy, but I’m taking everything in stride. Either I can get through this internship or I can’t. Simple as that. I’m going to do what I can, because I can’t do more than that. If my best is enough, great. If it’s not, then I wasn’t meant for this. That’s okay. There’s much more to life than a  single career path.

Take care, friends. Eat well and sleep. Nothing is worth your health. I learned that this week.