Cherry Creek Falls.

Having a Monday off, Hoang, Lando, and I decided to head out for a small local hike. We always like to find new places, so we chose Cherry Creek Falls from the Washington Trails Association website. It was a beautiful and easy hike in. Don’t forget to turn immediately after the largest creek crossing.Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 8.24.49 PM

Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 8.26.44 PMWe were immediately greeted by this astonishing view.

Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 8.25.12 PMWhen the sun came out, we loved being in the water.

Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 8.25.22 PMHoang couldn’t help himself and had to climb to the top of the falls to check his Instagram. Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 8.26.33 PMWhile he was up there, this Water Ouzel kept me thoroughly entertained. Check out the hungry mouths that had to constantly be fed!

Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 8.27.07 PMScreen Shot 2014-06-26 at 8.26.20 PMAll in all I would highly recommend this hike for anyone looking for a close and easy hike near Seattle. Waterfalls, wildlife, and we never saw another person at the falls. Know of any other great hikes in the area? Leave them in the comments. Thanks!

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Neck Update.

It has been two weeks since my surgery. My surgeon says that things look good. I still have a few months before I can play soccer (of course I will go back). It will take a full year to fuse completely.

Here are a couple of pictures of my X-rays.neck xray image 2In this picture, you have to look really close to see the scar.ne9UwFK2ueLFcseQ1iz2XI9Q9b4mz28WI0UAUM_K448Here is the zoom in for you weirdos that are into that.

Neck scar

I am back to “normal” living. I have a cervical collar that I wear while I am driving. That is all. I am still lucky and thankful.

I am very lucky.

After a soccer accident, I had a sore neck. I thought that it was seriously strained. I went to an urgent care facility and was given some pain killers, muscle relaxers, and steroids. The usual to conservatively treat a strain. I did not think that X-rays were necessary. A couple of weeks went by and every morning I would wake up feeling a little bit better. The end of the day was tough, but I have been injured enough to know that these things take time to heal. I was feeling a bit nervous as we were studying muscles and bones in class and I had a nagging feeling that I had done more damage than I would have liked to admit. I went in for X-rays. The PA (physicians assistant) checked my X-rays and wanted a radiologist to look at them. The next day, I got a phone call saying that I had done some serious damage and I should get myself to the hospital as soon as possible. This sort of news is difficult to take in. They tried to explain things on the phone, but I had stopped listening.

I went to the Swedish First Hill Emergency Room and was well taken care of. They took more X-rays and didn’t like what they saw. My C6 vertebrae was not aligned with the others. Most notably, the C7 below it. If the C6 fell off the C7 I could be paralyzed or dead. For two weeks, I was walking around, working, digging in the garden, and had no idea how seriously injured I was.

I was transferred (my first time in an ambulance) from First Hill to Cherry Hill and put on the neurosciences floor. The memories of my brother being on a neuro floor came flooding back. I kept telling myself how lucky I was to catch this before I was seriously injured. My brother is also lucky to walking and alive.

So I arrived at 1am and was put into a bed. I was told to keep my big collar on, not get up, and pee in the urinal. It took a couple of hours for the doctors orders to arrive. I was given a saline IV with 20 mEq/L of potassium. Apparently, my potassium levels were 3.3 mEq/L (normal is 3.5-5). Here is where my nursing friends and I start to geek out. My nurses and NACs that I met were all great. They treated me well and kept me updated before my surgery. One of the surgeons came in at about 3am to tell me that the team would be meeting in the morning and would get me into surgery the next day.

The next morning (really just a few hours later) I met with the surgeon and I immediately liked him. He showed me his scar where he has a similar surgery. It was nice to be able to ask real world questions like, “What will my range of motion be after the surgery?” and get a true answer. Instead of a textbook answer, he would move his head around. I was nervous most of the day just waiting for the operating room to be ready, but I had some great friends keep me company. My crew of support has been fantastic. I cannot thank Derek, Casey, Stefanie, Ed, Patty, Jenn, Adam, and of course Amanda enough.

I was eventually led into surgery and the staff was all great. They calmed my nerves and we made small talk until I slid onto the operating table. My neck was still in a collar, but I couldn’t bring myself to look around too much. The cold sterility of the room made me more nervous than I would like to admit. Surgery was apparently a success. I didn’t do much for the 45 minutes that it took, but I woke up glad that it was now time to start recovering. I was up walking around later that day. I am able to drink fluids and eat soft foods. They discharged me the day after surgery. Now I am at home recovering.

Standard ambulance selfie.

It is nice to sit by the fire sometimes. Before surgery.

Happy after surgery.

In summary, I had an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion.

ACDF

3D medical animation, not the real thing, can be seen here.

Ireland Day 1.

Travel is amazing. We sat in a plane and had people waiting on us. We traveled more than 500 miles an hour above 35,000 feet. We flew to the other side of the world in half a day. The jet lag is the bad part. Jet lag and the feeling of being shuttled like cattle is terrible. We made it to Dublin in an uneventful fashion and were greeted at the Budget office by a surprising 32 euro a day mandatory insurance fee. It turns out that Republic of Ireland has the same driving maniacs that Jamaica, Israel, and Northern Ireland contain.

We spent the first day trying to stay mostly awake.Screen Shot 2014-04-13 at 10.39.50 AMMy grandmother lives in Howth so it is always fun just walking through the village.

Screen Shot 2014-04-13 at 10.39.31 AM

November 10th – Food.

Here is a recap of what the onslaught of posts have been about this month:

Thanksgiving is an interesting holiday. People celebrate it for many reasons. Being thankful is probably one of the better reasons. I don’t give thanks to a spiritual being. My thanks come from all of my real world experiences. I would like to try and focus on one memory or experience every day this month and highlight them here. I (and most people reading this) have many things to be thankful about. Life can almost always be worse. The healthcare world is a fierce reality of death and dying. Especially when you are at the bottom of the barrel like a nursing student seems to be sometimes.

So today’s post is about something very important to me. Food.

A cheeseburger is one of my favorite things to eat. Here is one from Tamarack Brewery in Missoula, Montana. Rock Creek, I love you.

Screen shot 2013-11-10 at 11.17.54 AM Raclette from Paris.Screen shot 2013-11-10 at 11.15.49 AMBreakfast in Napoli.
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Pot muffins in Amsterdam.Screen shot 2013-11-10 at 11.16.38 AM

Crème brûlée because I can’t find anyone that makes it as perfect as my ex step..nevermind. Patricia, yours is still the best.
Screen shot 2013-11-10 at 11.16.02 AMThe good thing is that my enabler makes a spread like this for camping!

Screen shot 2013-11-11 at 7.37.27 PM

New Mountain Khakis!

I know that winter is here when I am reaching for my new favorite pants, the flannel lined Original Mountain Pant and my new favorite hoodie. In fact, you may have noticed me wearing both in my Not Really Christmas post when I was lighting a menorah. Unfortunately, living in the north west most of the time my cool new clothes are hidden under my rain gear!