Category Archives: Healthcare

Feeling a Change in the Wind

Greetings! And welcome to my little corner of the world.

Blog direction. I’m not sure about anyone else, but I have seriously struggled with this. I started this blog back in 2014. It was truly hit and miss. I knew I loved photography, travel, impromptu road trips and writing. So that is where I started. It was mainly for my family and friends, had a few that read it, and I wasn’t consistent at all.

Fast forward a couple years.

I started my first book, again a little hit and miss. Much going on with my family and career and the blog wasn’t a priority. I did become more active on Twitter and found many Indie authors and I kind of “went to school” as I had no earthly clue what I was doing writing a book! I just knew I loved writing.

Fast forward again.

Now I am active on Twitter daily and committed to that end. I have also committed to my blog, as I love writing more than just about anything. I have re-energiazed my book and am focused on that again. I feel I have “grown up” so to speak and am ready to commit and see it to its completion. I’m thinking first draft should be sometime early next year, It really has become a labor of love, and somewhat of another child of mine.

As for my blog, I’ve heard about choosing a niche. Making it an income. I just know I love to write. I have thought long and hard about a niche. And up to this point, I cannot do that. I love writing, I am writing a book, I am passionate about Mental Health both for professional and personal reasons, I will always love travel, road trips, and my amateur photography, I am a busy healthcare provider with many opinions, and have an opinion, thought, or experience on just about everything.

So I suppose?

My “niche” is just doing me.

So my blog won’t be focused in one area. I had considered making a certain day a certain topic, but trashed that idea as I felt pressure and restraint. I have committed to blogging three times per week (if it doesn’t kill me) and the subjects will be what they are. I am also very passionate about supporting and promoting my fellow bloggers in this wonderful blogging world.

I have always believed that we all must be true to ourselves. And so I have decided my blog will be exactly that.

Until next time……..be kind………always,

Polley93

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Understanding the Stigma Surrounding Mental Illness

Greetings and welcome to my little corner of the world. I thank you sincerely for visiting here and my hope is you can bring something away from your time away here to tuck away in your pocket. I call them Pearls. I am continually adding to my pearl necklace.

The subject being broached today is very near and dear to my heart, and for many reasons both personally and professionally. Mental Illness is everywhere. All around us. In those who we know are struggling and those who we don’t – as it is sometimes hidden so well. Mental Illness is a very broad subject with many pieces to it, all with their own symptoms, challenges, and specifics. But with all of these pieces, the struggle is real. It is relentless. It is sometimes non-ending.

It can also be deadly.

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The stigma that surrounds Mental Health Issues is world wide. What is stigma? Stigma in greek or latin, was a mark or brand, especially one that marked a person as inferior. When the word “Stigma” began to be used in English, it usually meant the kind of mark you cannot actually see. In our Current society, this stigma is everywhere. This silent “attitude” if you will held by those who have not either experienced anything like this themselves, or have not been close to someone that has. It is simply ignorance. A lack of information. A lack of knowledge. A fear of the unknown. A fear of asking or discovering. With some, it is just easy to ignore. After all, if you don’t acknowledge something, well then……it’s not real then, right?

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The above statistic should alarm anyone that reads it. One in FOUR. Do you have four friends? Do you work with four people? Do you ride the bus or train with four people? Do you have neighbors? Think about that above statistic. One in FOUR. Mental Illness does not discriminate. It can affect any gender or race or age group. A very alarming statistic is this:

From 2000-2016 the biggest increase in successful suicide incidence, related to Mental Illness, usually undiagnosed,  (by SIXTY PERCENT) is females between the ages of 45-64. Grandparents? Seriously?

For those that have never experienced, I have been told that the following description is close to what it could feel like:

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Also this:

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So what can we do? How can we as a caring society, help to curb this ignorance? How can we start to bridge this gap?

The first thing is NO MORE SILENCE. Start talking about it. Ask questions so that we might all know more about the struggle. Discover ways we can be of service, ways we can support those we love, those we know, and provide the kind of support that is NEEDED. Do not be afraid of the words. There is no harm in verbalizing “have you ever considered hurting yourself?” Don’t be afraid and be quiet. Be strong. Ask.

For someone struggling with the lengthy list of ailments, Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar, Eating Disorders, Schizophrenia, PTSD, and a plethora of others, a simple day can be overwhelming. Sometimes an hour can be overwhelming.

Also, a word, a gesture, a genuine smile, a moment taken out of your busy day filled with clutter, and details and lists and chaos…..

Can make a difference. It takes small steps to conquer a big journey. Small steps.

The bottom line here is don’t wait. Reach out. Be kind. Send a card, Send a text. Be present. I think that is the most important piece. BE PRESENT. Don’t ask “how are you feeling today”, or “How are you doing today?”, how can one answer that when one doesn’t even know themselves?

How about, “I’m thinking of you and just wanted to remind you I’m here” or “You are enough” or a simple “I love you”.

 

img_1670-1I remember the horrible stigma and misinformation when HIV and AIDS became an issue. It took two decades for this to be adult conversation and erase a lot of the fear. This epidemic and the ensuing stigma surrounding Mental Illness reminds me of that time. Let us be a better generation. Let us speak up. Educate the ignorant. Embrace the afflicted. Let us be the people we are.

I am looking for those who are comfortable telling their stories. It is heavy on my heart to allow you to have a voice. We all need a voice. Any and all mental illness, therapists, parents, children, or interested people wanting to learn more, share more, learn more, educate more. I will be highlighting these stories every Friday. Please consider! My email is Lifeinasuitcase2014@gmail.com or DM me on twitter @Polley93

Until next time…….be kind…….always,

Polley93

 

 

Living With Intention: Meal Prepping Ahead of Time

Greetings! Welcome to my new installment of Wednesday Lifestyle blog posts. I thought it may be helpful to my readers for me to share some things I have learned along the way on this journey we all call Life. Weekly posts every Wednesday,  starting today.

For those that know me, you know how much I value time. I truly value moments. All of the moments that connect together to create our days, weeks, months, etc. Moments are incredibly important. Once they are spent, they are gone. Invested in whatever you have chosen to spend them on. Time is fleeting, it can be very quick, and it is important that we all spend our moments wisely.

With that being said, I am incredibly busy! My weeks are borderline insanity with heavy patient loads and complicated people with various problems to solve. I am usually at my clinic at 7am and don’t get to go home until 7pm. It is the last thing I want to think about in the morning is making three meals for me to bring along with me to my job. The only thing I think about in the morning is COFFEE!!

So I started “meal prepping”, and have perfected it to get the whole thing done in 2-3 hours on my last day off before I start my workweek again. It has freed up so much time, I eat better and more healthy, and it actually has saved me money.

Are you ready to learn? Good! Here we go!

The first thing you need to do is pick out some recipes, that are cost effective, easy and/or quick to make, and that will last a few days in your fridge. I find the website “skinny taste.com” very helpful. I usually choose at least one new thing per week, and have a few “go to’s” that I love and that meet the requirements I am looking for. I make a grocery list, and buy exactly what’s on the list.

You will need storage containers. I don’t use anything special. You can get great containers on Amazon, and some you can freeze which is very helpful. Here is an example:

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You will need to get organized, chop all that needs to be chopped, boil what needs to be boiled etc, and then start creating and storing your meals.

PASTA SALAD

This is definitely one of my go to’s. To make it you will need:

Pasta – any kind, I like Mini Penne, it cooks well, and lasts nicely in the fridge.

You can add anything you like. I usually use cherry tomatoes, black olives, grated cheese, a little feta cheese and sometimes a protein like chicken or pepperoni or whatever you heart desires. You can add salad dressing on the day you will be eating it, Makes for a really nice lunch. Each serving about 3/4 cup. Approx 350 calories.

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TURKEY CHILI

Another favorite. You will need one pound of ground turkey or ground beef, whatever your preference, and the rest of the ingredients are pictured here:

img_1628Brown the ground meat of your choice, mix it and the above ingredients in either a crock pot or slow cooker (4 hours on low) or a big dutch oven or pot on the stove (low 4 hours on slow simmer) Each serving is about one cup, plenty of protein! And again, about 350 calories per serving.

PORK LOIN

You can find these on sale, and when you do, pick one up! 45 minutes in the oven with some veggies drizzled with a little Olive oil and Wha La! You have delicious ready make and healthy dinner!

Use the rest of the loin and chop up in small cubes, add a couple small tortillas and cheese and you have some delicious street tacos! (Pictured later)

GARBAGE SALAD

This is a great way of using everything in your fridge or cupboard that you are not really sure what you will do with. Lettuce of your choice in the center, and then about 2-3Tbsp of whatever you like surrounding the lettuce. I usually use chickpeas, corn, cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers and some kind of a protein. YUM!!

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PROTEIN PACKS

A quick go to for those busy days you just need something extra. Hard boiled eggs peanut butter crackers, single serving cheese, and I love Craisins! This is an excellent quick and healthy snack that boosts your energy and helps you feel full on those busy run around like crazy days!

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THE END RESULT

I mix a variety of fruits I find on sale and take them for breakfast along with a yogurt. I have my turkey chili, my pasta salad,  bunless cheeseburgers (super easy) protein packs, street tacos, and a garbage salad or two.

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This really is a time saver. It’s easy and what a treat to come home after a very long day and have so many choices to heat up and make for dinner! All of the above is plenty for two people, you can accommodate and tweak a little to meal prep for families.

I hope you found this helpful, and even more so, I hope you try this out for yourself. You will personalize it to your own lifestyle and needs, but I can promise you this, you will LOVE the time it frees up for you!

I would love to hear your ideas, recipes, and thoughts on the information I have shared with you. Please leave a comment, it is very appreciated! Subscribe to my site if you would like to share in my Wednesday Lifestyle posts, they are sure to either be interesting, informative and entertaining!

Until next time…….as always……..be kind.

Polley93

Orange Is NOT The New Black

When my recruiter called and asked me if I’d like to do an assignment in Corrections an hour outside of Flagstaff, Az, all I heard was the Flagstaff Az part. I would be closer to my three out of four kids and rest of family and I had been up in Crescent City, Ca (most northern city, five miles shy of Oregon) for several months. I finished work on a Wednesday evening, 1500 miles away, hit the highway on Thursday morning because I was to start at the new assignment on Monday morning, when I really started thinking about the word……”Corrections”……meaning “Prison”…..well, I thought to myself, with an inmate population of over 1800, I would be working with another provider OBVIOUSLY, so I was okey dokee….love that team work thing.

I could literally write a book on my seven  month experience at the Winslow State Prison but I will keep it blog worthy. Even now I can sit back and think “what the HELL…….”

I had a couple days training, quickly came into the realization that I would be the ONLY provider for this massive group in orange pajamas. The first week I got used to finding things, everything being locked, and that dreadful sound of doors slamming shut and locking behind you. A sea of orange everywhere you looked. “Hey Doc!! What are we gonna do about my __________” (fill in the blank here with any ailment you could possibly imagine) as I walked down what felt like “the green mile” every morning to the gate I got to open with keys that all looked the same to get into the Medical building.  This was all gonna be ok….right?

Yes….it was true…..I was living and working right smack in the middle of an episode of “Prison Break”. All the characters were there. I played the Dr. girl in the white coat, there were the racial groupings with the leaders, the staff and the CO’s. Yep….Prison Break. The only difference is there was no Scoffield, and the prison wasn’t brick. Oh boy…..but still…..an awesome staff, very friendly, very funny, and a routine that I could handle. This truly was gonna be ok……

Then? Reality…..yes Tink, you do work in a prison…..

One of my very first days of working by myself I was looking for some form and went across the hall from my office and exam room to the main hub where all the nurses worked and the CO’s had their working area…..I looked out of the window and saw a sea of orange kinda float into one big massive pile out on the yard as all kinds of walkie talkies were blowing up with language I did not understand (no new employee orientation for me until I was there for months) so I stood there, looking like a deer caught in the headlights, saying “what the heck is going on???”….One word, said in unison…..

“RIOT”.

*Enter flashback to an episode of Prison Break that was filled with blood and shanks and weapons made out of everything possibly imaginable…..but thats television right?*

Wrong.

All I could seem to  mutter was “What do I do?” Answer? “Go to the ER and we will start bringing in bodies……”

Really????

It took about two seconds for my brain to flip that switch from deer in the headlights, not really knowing anyone, the routine, or where anything was, into my ICU/ER alter ego and ran into the small ER within the medical building. I looked at three gurneys, equipment against the wall, over the bed procedure lights, and a wall covered with cupboards….and then? Yep, the bodies started coming in.

I won’t describe the full event, because quite honestly, I don’t remember details it was so quick. I felt like an air traffic control person, directing traffic and doing quick triage. Everyone was cut or stabbed, the worst being a carotid artery, but there were quite a few bodies that were either brought in, treated or bussed out in ambulances. It was surreal.

That was the first week.

I was there for a total of seven months. There were a total of three riots while I was there. The worst in my book was the one where there were loads of inmates brought into that little ER but very little blood. Just little holes in bodies. Come to find out the damage was caused by pieces of fence that were slowly but surely worked off as small pieces, wrapped around the middle finger and bent down the palm to not be seen and the when whoever was leader gave the signal, the fence pieces were bend and turned to stick straight up from the fist and with every punch there was a stab wound. Kidneys, spleens and lungs were all stabbed. Again, thankful for my ICU/ER years where you could quickly see internal bleeds…….

To sum it up:

I never got used to orange, I still have an aversion to the color. I worked  harder than I ever could have imagined. I learned more than I ever thought I would. I saw squandering of state funds. Underpaid employees responsible for great feats in a dangerous environment. I saw tax money being spent on a high percentage of Mexican illegals. The Mexican cartel is alive and well in our American prison system. That prison is a world of its own with its own language, rules, and heirarchy within the prison walls with the inmates. That the gang mentality and behavior was a daily thing, the ethnic groups were clearly divided, ran their own side businesses, and somehow communicated with their outside counterparts, even in other prisons. Saw more tattoos that I thought was humanly possible. Became an expert on Hepatitis C.  That drug availability is easier within the walls than out. That not ALL prison inmates are bad. And that I worked with the best group of people I have ever had the pleasure of working with.

Not sure I would ever repeat the experience. Top story you ask? Well prepare yourself because to me? It was the infamous MARBLE MAN, who had surgically implanted a full sized marble into the shaft of his you know what with a RAZOR BLADE, it had been there for five months, became severely infected and wanted me to “get it out”…….I had no words. To the ER he went. No way…….

You can’t say what I do for a living is dull…..

Until next time……Cheers!

Leave a comment and let me know you were here!

Polley93