A Bad Day

Yesterday was a bad day.

Not only was I already feeling sick, when I went to work I found out State was all over our facility. I had a surveyor follow me during my morning med pass, and although I tried to be cool and just do my job, enough things went wrong that I got rattled and nervous. The State surveyor then latched on to me and started hovering, questioning everything I did, making me even more nervous, and late. Eventually he nailed me on two 8am meds that I failed to see when I did my check of the MAR after report and had to skip, since it was already 11am. This led to a citation for the facility, and a Medication Error write-up for me.

My coworkers and superiors were very nice and supportive. The administrators in particular were understanding and stood by me, even when they acknowledge that I had made an error and would be sanctioned. I still felt terrible; I hate letting others down. So now I need to do some Continuing Education credits on Med Administration before my next work day this weekend.

I was late, I admit it. I was late because of a lot of factors, starting with morning report taking an hour, to me helping out my fellow floor nurse while she was also Nurse Supervisor for the day and had to deal with call-offs, to me orienting the student nurses we had on our floor on the patients they would be able to learn the most, to me taking the time to listen to my patients as I deliver their meds. Not to mention being unit secretary and answering phone calls as well as making them for a myriad of reasons.

The really sad part? The State surveyor wasn’t even a nurse himself, so there was no understanding from him about what it takes to have 12 patients under your care.

[Game Idea] Wizarding Resistance

2 May, 1998. Outskirts of Hogsmeade, Scotland.

The Battle of Hogwarts is over. The school lies in ruins, ancient stones that had seen generations of wizards and witches now lie in rubble, many covered in the blood of giants and spiders, Death Eaters and wizards. When the spellduel begins in the courtyard, everything else stops. When the wands explode in an eldritch fireball, everyone closes their eyes. When dust settles, everyone gasps.

The Dark Lord lives. The Boy Who Lived lives no more.

A hundred sickly-green curses fly, instantly killing every muggle-born wizard and witch visible by the front rank of Death Eaters. They miss one, the one they most wanted dead, Potter’s friend. The attack snaps everyone out of stupor, and the battle is resumed. It lasts only a few minutes, long enough for a some students to escape deep into the ruins of Hogwarts. Everyone else is summarily executed.

The Dark Lord lives. And so begins the New World Order.

Three years later, the battle has moved underground. Once known as Dumbledore’s Army, the members of the new Order of the Phoenix have scattered all across the globe, hiding in wizarding and muggle cities alike, where they organize local resistance cells, train new fighters, and act as beacons of hope to those oppressed by Voldemort’s Death Eaters.

You are one of these new recruits. Grab your wand, and join the fight.


I came across these WWII-style propaganda posters for a Harry Potter alternate universe where Voldemort wins. The creator also made these awesome WANTED posters for the kids as they would be a few years into the resistance. These are all very evocative  images, and as happy as I was with the ending of the Harry Potter series, this is an alternate universe that I think would be awesome to explore. Not being one to wrote a lot of fan fiction, I’d do it via a roleplaying game, one where the players all get to explore the world along with the characters, where we get to make things up as we encounter them and are surprised by them.

The WANTED posters gave me the idea that the players are *not* the members of the Order. They are too high-profile, too known (and in meta terms, too laden with history and expectations). They act great, however, as focal points, mentors that the characters would have met, can look up to, maybe even call on once or twice. The members of the Order are the public face, drawing attention away from those carrying on the day-to-day fight: the new bright-eyed recruits eager to join the resistance and help liberate their world.

As for Potter himself? I prefer to keep the mystery. The NWO Ministry of Magic released this WANTED poster recently, so make of that what you will.

Yes, I realize this is basically a mashup of Harry Potter and Star Wars with a dash of Lord of the Rings thrown in, but I’m perfectly okay with that.

Cincy

On December 30th, while I was working and prepping to pass the afternoon meds, one of my residents walked inside the unit and said, “There’s a kitten outside.”

I sighed.

It was lightly snowing that day, and it was the start of a 3-in-a-row work stretch that would include the new year. A snowstorm was forecast for the next day.

I sighed again.

Back in Miami, my ex and I had three cats, all of them rescues that came to us in similar ways: kittens that somehow showed up in our lives and whom we couldn’t say no to. So when I heard there was a kitten outside, I knew the pattern quite well, and I knew better than to fight fate. So I went outside, got the kitten from under a car, put it in a box, and took it home. I had a new cat. I named it Cincy, in honor of my new city.

I cleaned it up as best I could and two days later, in the middle of the snowstorm, took it to the vet, and got the meds I needed to cure the eye infection normal to most street kittens. I also found out Cincy was a boy cat. That was two weeks ago, and as I write this, he is perched on my arm, having climbed up my leg, and attempting to swat at my fingers while I type.

I missed my cat Pippin a lot. By mutual choice, my ex and I decided he would stay with her in Miami, so as to not subject him to the trauma of a move up north. But I missed him. I knew I’d eventually get a cat, but hadn’t really made any concrete plans about it. I guess I didn’t need to; we never made plans with the other three, and Cincy would be no different. Now that I have him, I realize how much I’d missed having a cat in my life. In a city where everything is new, where I only have two friends (one I rarely get to see), having Cincy has been a blessing.

Even if he sometimes bites my nose while I’m sleeping.

New

CincinnatiThere’s a lot of new things in my life lately, from a new city, a new job, a new apartment, and now a new cat gotten just a day before the new year. New surrounds me. It’s fitting; in many ways, I am a new me. Oh, I’m still the same Daniel at my core, but there have been enough changes in my life in a short enough period of time that a new Me had to be created in order to survive. That’s pretty much all I did for the second half of 2013 – survive.

I’m not surviving anymore. I’m living.

Historically I’ve never been a big fan of change. In theory, it sounds grand, but in practice I tended to steer away from it. The new Me still feels a little like that, but I don’t mind it one bit anymore. I welcome it in many instances. I love seeing people’s faces when they learn that I moved from Miami/Orlando to Cincinnati for a job. They look at me like I have three eyes and fifteen horns. It makes me realize how many people are simply adverse to adventure anymore. Because that’s what this move is, an adventure. And that’s how I approach it every day, especially those days when something completely new to me shows up, whether it was my first snowstorm (the day I moved into my new apartment, no less), or the below-0° blast a couple days ago.

I’m embracing New, especially a New that honors and learns from what came before in order to improve. It’s all I really want to do in life right now, learn and improve. I want to be better than I was, I want to rectify what and who I was, so who I am from here on is better all around. It’s a daily project, and one of the worthiest of all.

I’ll be sharing about all the new things in my life, from my job to my cat, in between 12+-hour shifts at work, naps, and random explorations of Cincinnati.

Changes

It’s a time for change. The year is ending, we have a new Doctor Who, so what better time than right now, then?

This has been a year of changes. Big changes. Life-altering changes.

I began the year in Miami, a nursing student, an emotional mess. Along the way I graduated nursing school, achieving something I thought almost impossible at times. Along the way I also got separated from my wife, and two months later, divorced. Along the way I moved to Orlando, an emotional mess, and became a licensed RN. Along the way I became a school nurse in a high school, moved into a shared house with roommates that tried my patience on a daily basis. Along the way I lost–nay, threw away–my Judaism, then realized it was a far more integral part of me than I had thought. Along the way I fought with G-d, raged, cried, fell down, got up. Along the way I made new friends, which led me to visit Ohio, which led me to accept a job offer in Cincinnati. Along the way I packed my car, and drove 2000 miles, from Orlando, Florida, to Cincinnati, Ohio, visiting friends on my way north. Along the way I started a new job, moved into a new apartment, began a new life. I end the year in Cincinnati, a registered nurse, an emotional mess.

But I’m getting better.

One day I will make my peace with 2013. It’ll take time, but I will. In the meantime, 2014 is just three days away, and while I will continue to work in sorting out my past, it will not stop me from living my present.

It’s a time for change. I welcome it.

 

Advanced MedSurg: Round 2

Today I find myself in the same spot I was a few months back. Tomorrow I take the final exam in Advanced MedSurg for the second time, and for the second time it all comes down to this test. It’s very simple: pass the final, pass the class. No other way around it.

Everything is riding in this exam. It’s not just the class, but also my continued attendance at MDC School of Nursing, since I can only retake a class one time and that’s it.

Better not to think about it.

One exam. Sink or swim.

I’m swimming. Here’s hoping I reach the shore.

Tired

I cannot properly convey how tired I am.

It’s just about the end of the first half of the semester, the end of Advanced MedSurg, and I am wiped. You may see me up and about doing stuff (I try to do my best around the house even if it isn’t a lot) and studying (not today Friday, but seriously, I’ve never studied this hard ever before) and working out (I’ve been running regularly for the past three weeks), but I am beyond depleted. If I had a little battery icon like my phone, I would be in the red.

The sad thing is that I’ll get to sleep tonight and tomorrow during Shabbat, but it won’t really help. Yes, I’ll feel somewhat refreshed and renewed, but in light of the two days after, during which I need to finish studying an entire semester of Advanced MedSurg for my final on Tuesday and ATI (standardized) test on Wednesday, it will simply be a like bandage on an arterial bleed.

Still, I have no option but to continue ahead and hope copious amounts of coffee will be enough to give me energy and focus.

A Recipe For Coquito

This creamy drink might camouflague as eggnog but it is something all its own. The mixture of evaporated and condensed milk with the coconut milk and cinnamon water produces a sweet flavor that is a perfect compliment for the rum that goes along, creating a mildly sweet but deceptively strong drink perfect to share with friends. Make it ahead of time so that it gets very cold, a great refresher for tropical “winter” nights.

Ingredients
Yields 5 cups.

1 cup of coconut milk
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup white rum
1 cup of water
3 cinnamon sticks
4 egg yolks, well beaten
Ground cinnamon for decoration
Instructions

1. Toss the cinnamon sticks in the water and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for 2-3 minutes, turn off the heat, then allow to cool to room temperature. Remove the cinnamon sticks.

2. Combine all the milks and the rum in a blender or food processor. If you have an immersion blender (motorboat), even better.

3. Combine all the other ingredients (except the ground cinnamon) and blend until well-mixed.

4. Pour into containers and chill. Puerto Rican tradition has it coquito must be stored in glass bottles, but I have buckled tradition there a few times. I leave it up to you where you store it.

5. Serve chilled with ground cinnamon sprinkled on top.

If you want to enhance the coconut flavor, use a bit more coconut milk or use
coconut rum. Adding an extra 1/2 cup of condensed milk increases the sweetness, if you like that (and I do). You can also make the cinnamon water ahead of time and chill so that the finalized coquito has less time to go in the fridge before it is ready for drinking and sharing.

I have made coquito following the above steps and also just blending everything together at once with my immersion blender. Both times the coquito has been fantastic, so feel free to try that as well. Lastly, double up all the ingredients to make about 1/2 gallon of coquito, a perfect amount for a small party or to share a few cups with friends. If you’re having a medium to big party, be ready to make 3 or 4 times as much, because coquito goes fast. You’ve been warned.

The End of NaNoWriMo

This year, unlike last, I did not “win” NaNoWriMo. On November 30, I ended up with a reported 29,170 words out of the 50,000 needed to complete the challenge successfully.

You know what, I’m perfectly fine with that.

Yes, I would’ve liked to win NaNoWriMo again, but even if I didn’t, I now have 30,000 words (I’ve kept writing) that I did not have at the start of November, and a story that I did not know I needed to tell a month ago. That is priceless right there.

Now is where the real work begins, where there’s no gimmicky challenge to get me to write each day but simply the need to tell this story completely, to finish this thing I started. Now is when the writers keep going.

And I’m still writing.