Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Here I Am In Phoenix

Yes, here I am in Phoenix...

But wait!?  What is this?????

Yep, its a Houston mug.... Thanks to wonderful Sandy - Hurricane Sandy that is.  It was Sunday that I got a call from United saying that my direct flight from Chicago to Phoenix on Tuesday morning had been cancelled.  Strong winds they said -- hmmm - they can anticipate that far in advance.  I find it interesting.  But at least they rebooked me, on a flight from Chicago to HOUSTON with a 2 hour layover and then from HOUSTON to PHOENIX.  So - I did get to Phoenix AND I did get to Houston.

Wow - its amazing the places you can go...

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Observation Day 2

Today I was back downtown and working sterilizers.  I did steam, Sterrad and gas/ETO.  Knew most of it, but never actually did it.  My friend is an awesome trainer and she had me putting some loads together so it was quite cool.

Did some general set assembly.  Love hanging out with those crazy CS people.  They really are a blast and it was actually cool just hanging with them and getting to know them better.  I'm usually zipping through the department or working on something and don't really get to spend time talking to them.  Its amazing because when I travel around and meet people who work in CS, you usually find out they've been working in the department for like 20 years and you'd never guess it.  This one woman today said she's been in the department for 42 years!  42 YEARS!!!!  And the crazy thing is that she didn't look a day over 40.  This happens all the time!  I'm always telling people that I think it the ETO sterilizers thats letting off some crazy chemical that keeps people preserved.  I only hope that I'm down there enough that it takes effect with me.

Back again tomorrow.  I know have to work at the Women's Hospital just for general work, but don't know if I'll be able to get into surgery this time.  I may need to go back another day.  We'll see.

On another note, I failed to mention that last Saturday I did this day trip downtown.  My friend Heather and I went to the Russian Tea Room for tea and then we mosied around the city for a while between raindrops.  Its crazy because Heather grew up in IL but NEVER goes downtown so she'd never seen the Bean let alone see Millenium Park.  I had to take her and show some plain old Chicago stuff just to catch her up to speed.  We're doing it again in a few weeks to try another restaurant and maybe hit the Art Institute - she's never been and I do love that place.

After lunch and city tours, I met up with Kim and we went to the CSO and saw YoYo Ma and The Silk Road Ensemble.  I'd heard about it before and figured since I was going to be down there.  I really like YoYo Ma so I figured I'd get tickets.  The first half of the concert was pretty good - very creative and used so many different unique instruments.  The second half, I unfortunately forgot to bring my pillow and blankie :(  Oh well - it was an experience and it did get better - when they finished and we al l clapped and left :)  HAHAHAHA.  Seriously - look up some of the stuff on ITunes because some of it is actually kind of cool.

Tomorrow after my observation I'm headed out to dinner with Seiko who lives downtown at Moody.  I'm saying a little prayer that Purple Pig isn't horribly crowded so that we can get in for dinner.  I'm DYING for the Pig!!!!!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


I'm working on a new certification program which includes testing and all this yucky stuff, and one aspect that I'm starting to work on is observation at hospitals.  I have to do 32 hours total at two different hospitals.  So I'm getting a little bit of a head start at one of my big hospitals downtown today. I'm having to do second shift right now as the one woman who is working with me had to switch to second shift for a few weeks.

Today I was back in clean assembly.  So - after a procedure, they send the set down to dirty decontam where its pulled apart and washed and then put through the washers.  Thats my side - I'm good at that and know it like the back of my hand.  I'm fuzzy once it gets through the washers.

So today my friend Patti laid out 21 instruments and I had to go through an instrument catalog and name them all and me, being a semi overacheiver, listed the length the curve the tip diameters.... I probably made it way harder than Patti was expecting, but I did learn a lot.

Lets put it this way - instruments come in several different classes -- there are graspers, cutters, forceps, clamps and cutters.... Those are the basics.  But - then you open up an instrument catalog and its divided into sections -- General, Cardiac, Gyn, Thoracic, Ortho and on and on.  AND within those sections there are about 10 pages of each of the types of instruments listed above.  So there are retractors that are just for cardiac and forceps that are just for ortho.  Now, Patti has laid out three different needle holders and 2 sponge clamps and 3 ribbon retractors and 5 Debakeys and they're ALLLLLLL different and all listed separately within the 1400 pages of the instrument catalog.  HELPPPPP!  Ok - I admit, I have another friend who was working back on an assembly table by me and I did cheat once or twice.... Shhhh....

Then, after about an hour of trying to figure out what was what, I got to shadow another tech who was working cardiac.  I did some assemble with her and then we went up to 7th floor where they do specifically transplants and cardiac and we worked with a bronchioscope.

That was today.  Tomorrow I go back and I think I'm working sterilizers.  Friday Pattis going to get me up in surgery.  I'm kind of hoping that she gets me into a transplant.  The hospital I'm at is one of the leading transplant hospitals and they do tons of them every day.  We'll see.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Stationery card

Peppermint Snapshots Christmas Card
Click here to browse our Christmas photo card designs.
View the entire collection of cards.

Just a sneak peak at what will be in your mailbox soon :)  I put it as an embedded link because I get a gift card back from Shutterfly - yay :)

International Diet 101

I've not been on-line due to the hottest new trend!

So - picture, if you will, travelling Europe, enjoying haute cuisine and local delicacies such as chicken paprika and pinched noodles with a rich sauce, sour cherry streudel loaded with butter and topped with sugar crystals, amazingly deep mochas topped with tons of real cream, weinerschnitzels and bread dumplings, boiled potatos and beef, palachintas stuffed with nutella and sprinkled with powdered sugar..... Yay - delicious, hearty, creamy and - perhaps just a little fattening???  Even with the running for trams and walking blocks to get to your destination, the waist bands still get a little snug and you're thankful for the new, classy stretch jeans.

So - with all that, it imperative that when you return home you begin back with your work out regime; however, sometimes drastic measures are needed.  Albeit, sometimes, the drastic measures are not necessarily elected, but given as a gift.... The gift of weight loss.

Here's the plan.  Take two regional flights (vise a vie EU) and one 9 hour 30 minute long international flight on everyone's favorite German airline - LUFTHANSA!  Courteous, orderly, timely.... They roll those wonderful little in-flight carts through the cabin and ask "Vhat vood you like to dink?" and then "Chicken or beef?" (its hard to put a German accent on those...).

You look across the aisle and eye the little tin dishes sitting on other tray tables.  You make your decision and confidently say "beef".  You'll never be able to take that decision back.

Two hours after the delicious little pan of gravy soaked something with those two tiny squishy baby carrots and the chamboard cheese square, your stomach begins to make a few little declarations of thanks.  Up your throat crawls a noise that you can't stop.  The kind, 90 year old gentleman in the bulkhead row in front of you with plenty of leg room and a new squeeze snuggled up next to him under a flight blanket suddenly throws his seat back to relax a little more, wedging you firmly between the back of your seat and the back of his seat.  Suddenly things get a little clausterphobic and you fight some more rumblings in your innards.  Quickly you get an urge, loosen your seatbelt and make a break for the luxurious airplane bathroom.  Throughout the remaining 6 hours, you make the same trip 6, 7, or 8 times. 

Ooops - time to buckle up.  Grab those wax coated baggies and prepare for landing!  Wheels hit the ground, the gate rolls up, the little light goes off and you find the strength of lions as you push little old ladies and pregnant woman out of the way to reach your new favorite plane place.

The drive home you're stocked with the wax airplane baggies.  You reach home, kick your shoes off and fall into your bed with your handy wastebasket by your side.  For the next day you wear a path in the carpet between bed and bath - no sales or coupons here... You begin praying for sweet death.

You think you're doing better the next day - it returns.  The next day - returns again.

Towards the end of the third day, you're feeling a little more normal and you realize - your pants are fitting great again, your thighs have slimmed down.  What an amazing way to end a fatty, delicious vacation.  Once you get through the death part - the results are fabulous!

Okay - I wouldn't recommend to repeat or market this International Diet - but its the story of my dumpling, steudel-laced, pant-expanded journey home.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Fun In Austria!

I love to laugh at the Germans!  In a good way being as I'm one of them... :)  I love their words like Ausfahrt -- hahaha.... and all their "Bad ....." cities (Bad Aussee and Bad Ischl being ones that were by us.....) And then the signs below..... I don't know what it means, but I kind of wonder if it has to do with tourists?.... :)

Saturday we decided to spend some time up in the mountains in the salt mine.  Its apparently the oldest salt mine in the world?  Its actually still active as well, unlike the salt mine I visited in Krakow, Poland a few years ago.  Anyways - we had to take a funicular up the mountain and then hike up to the entrance where we then had to don "miners" outfits that completely covered our clothes.  They actually felt a little like the scrubs I have to wear in hospitals so it was quite familiar putting them on!

Apparently these are Germanic people from hundreds of years ago.  I thought it uncanny, the family resemblance that was between us.

So once we were in the mine, we had to go to different levels and the way the miners get to these levels is by slides.  You have to put your legs on either side, hold your knees and then lean back and go sailing down.  It actually went from terrifying to thrilling.... there was a small point where my stomach flew up in my mouth and I thought "I don't know if I'm actually going to stop..." but then I sailed down and all was fine so the next slide we had to go down was just dandy....
A fuzzy picture of the end of the tour when we had to straddle this little cart thing and zoom through this tiny tunnel of salt.  Thank goodness I wasn't too tall and I would have had to duck for most of the 3 -5 minute trip.
We took a hike down the mountain to a little restaurant and chatted with some sheep along the way.

The alternate path we wanted to take back down to the town, rather than riding the funicular back down, was apparently closed.....

Map of where we were in Hallstatt.

View from the restaurant at the top of the mountain.  Looking down on Hallstatt.

Looking down at our house - the one on the left side of the river inlet.
 Looking at renting a "boote"?

The marketplatz - the city center...

We loved these trees that they had trained to grow up the side of the houses - have NO clue how they do it, but they're awesome!

Its the "Beinhaus"...

We rented an electric motorboat for an hour and drove around the lake... It took forever as there was "1" speed and "2" speed....

This castle-house across the lake from Hallstatt.

We ate dinner at this great restaurant in the marketplatz.  It was great food and the staff was extremely kind and great with English.  If you travel in German speaking countries, you find that they do not go out of their way to speak English or even act like they know English....

Michelle and Jodi split the venison platter...


Smoked local fish, Reinenke..... delicious!


We just got back to Budapest a few hours ago,  Its bittersweet because I leave tomorrow early afternoon.  I'm meeting Flora first thing in the morning.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Look At The View From Up Here!

We're in Hallstatt, Austria for a few days.  AMAZING!  Its so beautiful here I'd love to stay wayyyyy longer!  Our little flat that we rented is great and right on the lake with our own private lake entry.  Love it.  The view from the place is amazing too!

Today we took this tram car thing (2 funiculars actually) up to a place called "5 Fingers" thats this look out point.  Really interesting.  Beautiful views down to the valley.  I believe its considered to be part of the Alps.  They call the lake we're on, Hallstatt, the Devils Dustbin.  Its a beautiful secluded area and I guess after WWII when the Nazis were trying to hightail it out of here, they dumped tons of stuff into the lake that they're still pulling up today.  Weapons and such and a lot of guys would dump their medals and all in because they didn't want to be associated with the Nazis.  Anyways - you can see Hallstatt in the pictures.

This is what Five Fingers looks like - eek!  Take that Willis Tower!

This is just walking outside the town of Hallstatt and looking back...

This is looking from the top of one of the little mountains in the town in the graveyard....

I had to sneak this pict in of Hans Von Hiker in his Yodel shorts with his super walkin sticks!

Off to the salt mines tomorrow..... no, literally.....!  Guttentag!