Life Stresses

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This summer truly has been a struggle for us in the Monteiro household – and last week I promised to give you the low down.  I’ll start in July the last time my parents were here to watch Ezekiel.

Ezekiel has always been a great napper, right from day 1 he literally would only wake up to eat.  He very gradually increased his awake time but even at 8 months old he could only stand to be awake for 2-3 hours at a time.  When I went back to work he went down to one nap because that was easiest with the dayhome.  Even when he’s tired he’s mostly pleasant but certainly you can tell when he’s exhausted.  Everyday he would come home exhausted and everyday I chalked it up to all the playing and stimulation he got at the dayhome.  When my parents were here it gave me an opportunity to notice that he was a lot more tired than I had thought.  For 10 days he took naps that were consistently 4-5 hours long.  I know, who worries or complains about their child sleeping?! The thing is he was also sleeping for 12 hours at night for a total of 16-17 hours of sleep per day and was still looking and sometimes acting very tired.

Thankfully I work with my pediatrician and so on the Sunday after this had happened for 10 days I asked what he thought – he suggested bringing him in for some blood work to rule anything out but wasn’t too concerned at the time.  We did the blood work but didn’t hear anything back.

The mom part of me thought “Great, there was nothing worrisome in the blood work so I can just let him sleep and not worry about it.”

The nurse part of me thought, “I need numbers and concrete evidence that everything is ok.”

The next time I saw our paediatrician at work I asked if he had seen it – he hadn’t as it hadn’t been flagged for his review.

Let me take a second to do a bit of teaching – you are responsible for your health (and your children’s).  You are the advocate and it is your responsibility to follow up on everything.  So many people assume that everything is fine when they don’t hear back from doctor’s offices, but the thing is those doctors care for a large amount of patients and their staff are human.  Both of those things means: 1) mistakes are going to happen and 2) there’s no way to follow up on every single thing that is talked about unless that patient brings it to follow up.  My suggestion (I’m talking to myself as well) is that if you leave a Dr’s office with a task (get blood work, or go for tests, or take this medicine for such and such time and see how things are ) you need to make sure you book an appointment to follow up on that task and not assume that it’s going to all be taken care of. In this situation my paediatrician knows that I can’t always afford to take time off work and since we often see each other on the weekends at work that we could just follow up that way.  In the future I’ll always just suck it up and book the follow up.

Ok now I’m off that soap box.

He promptly went to take a look and then came back and pulled me out of a patients room (that’s a good way to cause a heart attack in a mother).  Ezekiel’s blood work looks a little funny – his hemoglobin is low, and his iron is half of the lowest normal.  So there’s the reason for the fatigue and lack of energy – however it goes a bit farther than that.  Based on the rest of the blood work that was done it is very suspicious of a genetic blood disorder called Thalassemia.

IF that is the case I doubt that he would have a severe form of it and at first I was feeling not really stressed about it.  However, the longer the time goes between then and knowing for certain the more stressed I am feeling about it – probably because that’s not the only thing going on with us.

Let’s move on to Carlos.  Carlos is a student and is very committed to doing well in school – this has resulted in a lot of stress for him and also a lot of anxiety.  Two weeks ago he was writing final exams for the summer semester and was complaining of a persistent headache.  I (as the good nurse and wife that I am) brushed it off and chalked it up to being tired and anxious.  Thankfully Carlos was doing some google research of his own and suggested that he take his blood pressure.  We’ve known that he’s had slightly elevated blood pressures in the past – but at that point he’d only had his blood pressure taken a hand full of times in Dr’s offices where he is always anxious.  Anyways, I sent him to the nearest Shopper’s Drugmart to use their machine by the pharmacy.  He came home and took Ezekiel upstairs to have a bath and get ready for bed, I didn’t ask at that point what his blood pressure was because I really wasn’t too concerned.  When I went upstairs he casually showed me the picture of his blood pressure reading – 198/125.  I nearly had a heart attack at that point thinking of the dangers of a blood pressure that high.  I immediately put Ezekiel to bed and asked our roommate to listen for him.  We went to Emergency – which was a big waste of time as they did nothing for him – that’s another rant in and of itself that I won’t get into.  The next day I took him to our family doc who is phenomenal and we started him on some blood pressure medication.  That was a week and a half ago and we’ve been diligent in tracking his blood pressure since then.  It hasn’t gone down to normal but I think we are on the right track.

Last week I was really feeling the stress of both of those things and on top of that I had been sick for the 4 weeks prior to that and am just starting to feel like I’m getting back on track health wise.

In the midst of all of this I have realized that even when I mentally don’t feel stressed – like in these situations, physically my body is responding to the stress.  People always talk about feeling stressed and I always assumed that applied to mentally feeling the stress.  I’m learning that mentally I rarely feel that stressed, I can rationalize my way through most situations and that contributes to not feeling a lot of mental stress.  I’m thankful for that coping mechanism because when I do mentally feel stressed I shut down and can’t motivate myself to do anything.  However stress is felt in so many ways other than mentally.  I can tell that my body is continually fighting off sickness because I’m physically feeling the stress of our current health situation. Eventually it has boiled over to this general feeling of anxiety that I just can’t pin point – I am NOT an anxious person at all but lately I’ll have a day or two where I just can’t seem to fight off this feeling of a bit of anxiety.  I’m so thankful I work with amazing people who continually help me talk through each situation which helps me forget about it and move on.  Later on I’ll talk about some natural strategies I’m using to help my body deal with the stress.  Yesterday I got thrown another curve ball that’s piled on the stress so I’m going to be trying very diligently to combat the stress with some natural remedies.

I’m sorry this turned into a book! Thanks for reading this far.  I’m so glad for great healthcare and amazing doctors who look after my family.

What’s Up – Long Weekend Adventures

Working 55 hrs and 6 days per week I rarely get a chunk of time when I can just go and adventure with Ezekiel.  On my one day off I try my best to get him out and about allowing him to explore to his hearts content.  This past weekend I decided to take Sunday off and I had Monday off as it was a holiday and we were able to do so many fun things.

Both my husband and I were feeling the need to get out of the city, and we are blessed to live so close to the Canadian Rockies – we don’t go often enough considering they are only about an hour away – so we decided that Saturday we would make a day trip to the mountains.  We left around 8 in the morning and drove to a small town about 30 minutes away for breakfast and coffee and I was so lucky to find a place that served one of my favourite local roasters.

IMG_0321We were planning on going to a popular and easy hike to Grassi Lakes in Kananaskis but accidentally drove right past it, and I thought we could get there a different way.  Long story short we were 45 minutes away and found a different hike we knew nothing about that ended up be perfect called Burstall Pass.  It was quiet trail with not many other hikers and the first part of it was super easy.  We only ended up doing about a km of the 7.4 km trail but Ezekiel was able to do most of it on his own and really loved exploring everything.  At one point we veered off the trail and followed the sound of water and ended up finding a nice little secluded spot that we could sit and watch the water and it was shallow and safe enough for Ezekiel to play on the edge.  It was gorgeous and so worth the extra drive! 

IMG_0124IMG_0129IMG_0322IMG_0152IMG_0320IMG_0211IMG_0328IMG_0325IMG_0326IMG_0328IMG_0345Right while we were driving away we got to visit with this fella.

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We then drove to Canmore for something to eat and do a bit more exploring.  We found a non-busy Mexican restaurant that served REALLY good food.

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After lunch/supper we walked down to the river and did a bit more playing in the water.  I think this was Ezekiel’s very favourite part.  I actually couldn’t believe how much he loved it considering how cold the water was.

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After that it was home and to bed for us.

Sunday Carlos spent some time studying while Ezekiel and I went out for another adventure walk in Fish Creek Park and then to visit a good friend.  We ended up finding some Raspberry and Saskatoon berry bushes and just foraged for a good 30 minutes. Ezekiel was covered in berry juice and very upset when we ran out of berries to eat.

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That evening we went to the market and then met Carlos for supper at a restaurant we’ve been wanting to try out.  It is very pricey considering our current financial situation, but seriously worth it.  If you are ever in the Calgary area you should definitely check out The Nash!

IMG_0429IMG_0427Monday Ezekiel and I met a friend and her son and checked out Calgary’s East Village.  We got a coffee (of course) and my other favourite roasters – Phil & Seb, and then walked by the river to the new St.Patricks Island.  It has a great area for kids to play in the water and of course Ezekiel loved it.  The playground is geared to older kids and was actually a bit dangerous for an adventurous toddler.

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Ezekiel and I ended the weekend with a walk and play in the park.

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Honestly it wasn’t a relaxing weekend.  In between the adventures I still did all the laundry, cleaning and food prepping that I normally do.  When I went to bed Monday night I was certain I was going to wake up very exhausted but today I have been surprisingly energetic.  I suppose even if you aren’t strictly “relaxing” time spent with loved ones has a way of rejuvenating you. It was worth it and I’m already looking forward to the next time I can do it.  For now it’s back to the crazy work schedule!

What’s Up

I suppose it’s time to revive the “What’s Up” series! It’s been an incredible week although I’m feeling far more run down than I expected.  Such is life as a full time working momma!
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My parents came this week to help us out.  Our Dayhome closes for two weeks in the summer – one in July and one in August so my mom was gracious enough to agree to come and watch Ezekiel.  It seriously has been so so so great to have them here. Ezekiel has LOVED getting to spend some one on one time with them and I’ve come home to supper every night :).
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One evening I even got to squeeze in a walk around the neighbourhood with Ezekiel.  We got this 4-in-1 trike for him and he’s obsessed.

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I made a huge change to my hair and cut off A LOT to donate to Pantene Beautiful Lengths.  Every day at work I get a compliment about how great my hair is, and usually from people without hair due to their cancer treatment.  I felt like there is no better way to honour my patients practically.  I also just love the haircut!

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My husband came up with a great idea for some outdoor decor – I’ll be doing a separate post on it.  I’m so excited to show you!

IMG_8836Finally, at 20 months old Ezekiel has started using some words.  I figured this would happen with my mom here.

Well that’s what was up this week.  I’m ready for a day off today!

Enjoy your weekend friends!

I’m Here!

Elkridge, Cypress Hills

Friends!

I’m so sorry for the 3 month hiatus.

The past few months have been so hectic that I decided to take a blog break but you know I can’t stay away for long!  The “itch” to blog has been nagging me for a few weeks so I’m going to try my best to get ahead of the game the next couple weeks and get some posts written and scheduled.  I have a plethora of ideas of posts so that’s not going to be the issue, but getting the time to sit down and write them out is where the challenge is.

I started a new job in January and on top of that I am working at my old job every Sunday – 6 days a week and 55 hours a week.  Crazy, I know.  For a couple months we had one rental room vacant in our basement and that put a lot of strain on me financially – somehow we made it through!  I’m continuing to work most Sunday’s through the summer to get us caught up and comfortable and then I’ll drop down to every other Sunday or so.  Even though it’s busy and crazy and I’m missing my little man a lot during the week, I am finally finding the flow and comfortability in my routine.  It really helps that it’s summer and the days are longer, it feels as though I can accomplish a good amount of tasks each day to keep on top of the house work and yard work.  I can’t say that I would want to live like this for long, but for the time being while my husband is in school it’s a way to get us through.  I’m honestly just thankful that I have a career that gives me the ability to support my family and especially my husband while he pursues his dream.  I’m already living my dream – I have my dream job, my family and a nice house in a great neighbourhood.  He deserves the opportunity to be able to pursue his passions and I’m so grateful I get to be a part of that journey with him.

A lot has happened in the last three months and I’m not going to try and cram it in to one post.  What I’ll try and do is some topic specific updates over the next little while.  I’m excited to catch you up on all things Canadian residency, garden, food and DIY projects!

Have a fabulous Tuesday!

Surviving

Friends!

Hello!

Sorry for the silence, but don’t feel too left out, it’s not just my virtual friends who have felt my silence.  It’s been a socially silent time in my life as well.

But I’ve missed you! I always have a running post in my head but by the time I have a minute to sit down and write I’m literally too exhausted to do anything but sleep.

It’s been far more difficult returning to work than I anticipated, and I was already anticipating a lot of difficulty!  I was focused on being away from Ezekiel as being the most difficult part, and that’s very true, it’s difficult and doesn’t seem to get easier.  However there are other difficulties I didn’t account for.  The positive of returning to work is rediscovering my love and passion for nursing.  It’s one of those passions that you just want to talk and talk about and try and make everyone around you understand just how much you love it without ever feeling like you’ve accomplished your goal.

I feel like I’ve temporarily lost any sense of normalcy, and balance.  I’ve just been surviving the last 7 weeks but I feel as though I’m ready to get out of the survival slump and get back to feeling normal and balanced.  I’m just not sure how that’s going to happen or what I need to do to get there.

I don’t know that I’ll post a lot but I wanted to pop in and say hey.  I hope you are all well, and that you have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

What’s Up

Whew!

We survived my first week back at work.  I worked 3 twelve hour days and it wasn’t all sunshine and happiness, but I think we did pretty good!

Adjusting to new situations is never an easy thing, and for some it’s much harder than for others.  For my family, I adjusted the easiest, but I was going into a familiar situation, and a situation that I am passionate about.  So being at work was therapeutic for me.  It was great to get back to the ebb and flow of the unit, to interact with my coworkers, patients and families.  It was wonderful to use my mind in a different way, to think critically and medically.  Although emotionally Ezekiel adjusted fantastically his poor body was bombarded with germs of other kids and he is now fighting off what I think is a throat infection.  Thankfully I was off yesterday because he was the sickest then, not eating, not drinking and sleeping the day away.  I think with intermittent advil and tylenol he’s feeling a bit better today.  My poor husband is adjusting the hardest.  He’s finding the school/home balance to be quite difficult, I keep encouraging him that every new change takes time to adjust and before you know it this part of life with be our norm.

It’s a bit of a crazy week because of the way I scheduled my orientation shifts, and not all weeks will be as busy.  Ezekiel’s birthday is next week so my mind is stressing over the preparation for the party among the rest of my to do’s, and work shifts.  I keep telling myself that no matter what, in the end it’s all going to be OK anyway.  That’s been my life motto, and it’s never let me down.

So having said all that I thought I’d do a very delayed What’s Up post.  Here’s what we’ve been up to the last two weeks:

IMG_5271Getting our first community food box! 25 pounds of produce for $20, great deal and a great way to incorporate things I wouldn’t usually buy.

IMG_5284Taking a break from fiction and reading a book that blew my mind and will make me a better person.  Go get this now!

IMG_5296Late night cleaning in preparation for my parents arrival.

IMG_5300Learning how to stand up everywhere and consequently knocking things over.

IMG_5339Brushing up on some knowledge before my return to work.

IMG_5392Baking eggs for breakfast sandwiches to fail (I will never bake eggs again, worst decision ever).

IMG_5394Very slowly painting the buffet (this process has been agonizingly slow).

IMG_5396IMG_5398Enjoying having my dad around to do all the little tasks (and big ones).

IMG_5397Treating myself to my favourite coffee at the Farmers Market.

IMG_5406Learning how to hem pants, thanks to my mom.

IMG_5429_2Enjoying a snow day.

IMG_5439_2Recertifying for 12 hrs at work and getting my brain back into working mode.

IMG_5523Loving being back in scrubs.

IMG_5547Caffeinating myself after a long night with a sick babe.

Here’s to another week of enjoying the moments and finding simplicity.

What’s Up

Here’s what’s been up this week:

IMG_4976Trying to get E to eat more than just pureed food.

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Going on baby free Cheesecake Cafe Dates with a good friend (sadly the first time since Ezekiel was born).

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Mixing coffee time with play time.

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Giving in to exhaustion and eating boxed pizza and cupcakes for supper.

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Having just enough energy to straighten my hair, get dressed and hit the Farmers Market.

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Exploring the city while the weathers still good.

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Getting our flu shots (can you tell I’ve needed A LOT of coffee this week?).

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Reading and re-reading and re-reading and re-reading books (and being thankful to do so!)

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Forcing myself to get out and walk again.

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Easing my tired and sore body and mind. IMG_5230Drinking many homemade London Fogs alongside yummy homemade scones.

Here’s to another week of enjoying the moments and finding simplicity.