Saving lives, one mini baby at a time

The new parents in our family received a really useful gift from the husband’s place of work after Gisella was born. It is a clever kit that includes a DVD and blow up life-size baby of about 1 month. It is designed to teach or review infant CPR and choking.

In fact, I found it online here and this is a picture of the kit.


My daughter brought it over today along with the real baby in our life. She and the husband had just watched the video which I think is great. Although she is a nurse, and like every health care provider must re-certify in the basics of CPR on a regular basis she eagerly viewed the video as a reminder.

In my recent job changes I have been joking about all the paperwork, background checks, fingerprinting, badges and such that seem to be involved when working with babies and children under the age of eighteen. My daughter and the husband noted that while I don’t have to have a badge and they anticipate that my fingerprints will check out clean with the FBI they did ask me to watch the video on infant CPR and I readily agreed. In my previous occupation I had and still hold CPR certs, Basic Life Support certs, and just passed the expiration on Advanced Cardiac Life Support certification. These were mandatory for surgical assistants in an oral surgery practice and the dental field in general has long encouraged staff to have minimum training in CPR for each and every practice. It just makes sense and in the case of surgery, we had to be capable of maintaining life support if needed for our patients.

This little video was about fifteen minutes long and for someone who has this background was rather redundant but no matter how many repetitive moments it held, it is so worth the time for anyone, grandparent or otherwise to know this basic and important information.

What surprises me is that hospitals are not sending new parents home with this kit. It states on the website that the kit is $35 which I assume goes back into education and covers the cost of components of the kit and such. Why wouldn’t a hospital simply eat the cost of these kits and offer them to every new parent? They should. How many new parents are going to have the time to enroll in an infant CPR class? Yes, I know that you can now find these types of classes online also, which I suppose is a fine idea if you have taken the class already or have a background in healthcare but what an outstanding gift to send home right next to the baby in the car seat.

I see possibilities here especially as I will have access to postpartum staff while I am screening newborns. I think this idea is so well worth exploring some inquiry needs to be done once I am comfortable in my new job. It certainly couldn’t hurt to ask why these kits aren’t available and it just might spark something that could potentially save a baby’s life.


Can I Share? Epic flashes, armpit breasts, and the lose of womanhood

No stunning epiphanies. Nor did I find a way to achieve world peace, rid my community of crime or solve the feud between political parties.

The event of epic proportions I refer to was a menopausal hot flash greater than any I have experienced to date. So momentous in fact that I had to write about it before I can begin my day.

I feel I need to de-brief and sort of come to terms with the meaning behind this event.

I refuse to use the word suffer when it comes to hot flashes, although at times others may suffer because of my reaction to them as I erratically and vehemently toss off blankets, sheets and every layer of clothing covering my body,  but suffer I do not as they are a natural process of change. In that scenario the cat actually gets the worst of it since she insists on sleeping almost on top of me and only adds to the heat being generated from within my body. Many a night she has been rudely flung to the end of the bed as I scramble to rid myself of even the slightest covering.

This might be TMI for some, but if I’m going to have a flash it seems to come right around 3AM. I have no idea why. Anyone?? I have experienced them during the day, usually while working at my previous job as they have now been going on for the last few years. My body is taking its own sweet time in turning off all the hormones folks and as I am unable to gauge the end of other lady functions accurately due to removal of lady parts years ago I am at the mercy of all of these internal switches turning on and off willy-nilly until they decide they are just done and shut down for the last time.

Most of these illusive hot flashes come and go, waking me with that spreading internal warmth turning to the feeling of being on fire from the inside out without too much incident as long as I can bare all for a minute or two. The fire goes out relatively quickly, I go back to sleep after soothing the offended cat and all is right with the world.

Last night however, actually looking at my clock it was only 2 1/2 hours ago, I woke after the fact covered in so much sweat I am planning on changing the sheets on my bed when I have a moment today and my sleeping attire is headed to the washer post-haste. I actually woke rather befuddled from this one so who knows what was really going on. I was still covered and cat draped so the onset hadn’t been enough to motivate me to start flinging cotton and animal around the room, however this inaction in disrobing might (and I can only guess at this) have contributed to the puddles of sweat that were able to collect in crevices of my body I didn’t even know I had.

When my mind could actually register the situation I realized I was wet from head to torso. My face had beads of sweat running from my hairline to the pillow, and the back of my head was sticky and matted. I refused to raise my back off of the bed but I could easily make out where the rivulets of body fluid had caused adhesion of my t-shirt to both myself and the sheet. The greatest discovery came though when I made contact with the extremely large puddle of liquid between my breasts. Here comes another TMI alert for my sensitive readers.

I do not by any stretch of the imagination have a large chestal area. In fact I have that middle age lady syndrome of armpit breasts that occurs after breastfeeding three children. When us great moms lay down at night our breasts head east and west and disappear somewhere in the area of our armpits. Because of this phenomenon, you know the amount of sweat I encountered had to be of epic proportions if it could actually puddle in what would, during the day, be my cleavage.

I vaguely remember thinking just how gross and amazing that all was at the same time that I blotted the area with my t-shirt before it ran down my neck and over my shoulder to join the back sweat soaking into my sheets. I glanced at the clock. Yep, right about 3AM again. Is 3AM the witching hour for hot flashes or what? Maybe it’s different for every body as said body tries to adapt to the disappearing womanhood it claimed as its own for so many years.

Curiosity has me wondering just how many more of these things I will have before all is said and done. I honestly and quite readily deal with these interludes just fine, and as noted in a previous post, prefer them almost 100% more than a migraine headache. Those have disappeared into another realm thankfully.

I know that some women find this time in their lives to be a struggle. Their sense of self as a woman is changing and depending on their own self concept and the addition of body image, gender identity issues and societal views on aging, it can be rough. I’m doing okay. The cat may think otherwise.


Didn’t someone once say something like “it’s funny how life works out”

I presented a letter of resignation to my new boss yesterday. I like my boss. I like my co-workers. I am not leaving out of frustration or angst or some long simmering feud. I will not return to brandish heavy weaponry to assuage a prior wrong done to my person.

The short and complete story is that it simply was time to move on.

This was my first career:

I was a dental assistant. I thoroughly enjoyed the job. I did not enjoy the employer. During that career I got married and became a stay at home mom which I loved.

This was my second career:

I was, and still occasionally am, a doula and childbirth educator. I loved this job. Unequivocally. This was the best career in the world. One that really fit who and what I am and believe about life and mothers and women and babies. I faced a conflict though as my children grew and this career seemed to want to sneak into special moments that I felt needed to be reserved for my children. I let this career go with much regret but one does what seems right at the time. I have however never quite been able to let go completely as every now and then I run into a couple who seeks my service.

Later, when the little people in my life had grown a bit it seemed time to get back into the working world again and again making the decision that seemed appropriate at the time, I went back to career number one. It actually was relatively easy to slip back into the dental office even after twelve years away. That return has guided two separate jobs in the last fifteen years. The last five of those at the position I just resigned. That position in an Oral Surgery practice was truly the culmination of a dream I had since attending dental assisting school way back in 1978. I loved surgery and I vowed that one day before all was said and done, that I would work for an Oral Surgeon. Through the keen eye of a fellow dental assistant, some luck and my wit and charm, I landed a position with one of the most respected surgeons in our area. This man had practiced for nearly 30 years and had a following to match.

I was in heaven. But this surgery was nothing like the extractions I had been doing for years as an assistant in a general dental office. This was SURGERY.  This was half dental, half medical, with all the trappings of an outpatient surgical practice and the need to be fully capable of saving a life if necessary.

Oh, the things I learned. The amazing surgeries I assisted with. The great staff I came to call my friends. The emergencies that I never expected but as a part of a trained team, handled rather well I believe.

Borrowed from Sclar Center, Cosmetic and Reconstructive Dentistry, Miami

Then the arthritis reared its head, or more appropriately settled in my hands and all that you see above was to be no more. Holding heads to maintain airways, holding and manipulating small sharp instruments, working with tiny parts and pieces became a part of my past. Thanks to some ingenious re-working of my job description, I hung on and was able to stay at the office turning into a jack of all trades.

Then my daughter announced her pregnancy, my original employer made the ultimate and this time final decision to sell his practice and slowly step into retirement and I had some decisions of my own to face. I knew I wanted to care for my grandchild. That was a given and an offer that I refused to turn down. I also knew that I was more than ready to stop being a full time employee. My hands were tired, changes were coming to the office and it seemed rather apparent that fate was standing in front of me telling me to take advantage of what was right in front of my face.

When the decision was made it felt right. An opportunity opened up before me and as I am a firm believer in grasping opportunity as it dangles right in front of your face, I am now employed in a part-time position which allows me to care for my granddaughter; takes the stress and strain off of my hands and in a rather ironic way brings me almost full circle in my career path.

So this is my latest and I believe my last career. Grandma and caregiver to this precious, beautiful baby girl:

and this position one or two days per week:

I will be doing hearing screenings on newborns at one of our local hospitals.

I get to be back in an environment that I love and feel so comfortable with: the postpartum unit of a hospital. I get to work with and educate new parents and most of all I get to interact, even only briefly with new babies. What could be better than that. This position allows me to manage myself, my interaction with families, develop affiliations with hospital staff and probably more than anything, have fun at my job.

It is time to say goodbye to surgery; to dentistry. It’s time to work a little bit less and have a little more time to be a student, to take care of myself, to enjoy my family and to just be. We talk a lot in sociology about “doing” social topics. Doing gender, doing race, doing group dynamics. It’s time to jump on that bandwagon. For the near future I am going to be “doing Debbie”, whatever that may be.

Maybe I’ll write a paper on that subject. The “doing” of oneself. The discovery of one’s personal reality in middle age.  Maybe I’ll just let things ride and see what I discover. I have all the time in the world and I’m going to enjoy every minute of it.

And now…

Obviously being a grandma means pictures inundating the far reaches of the galaxy for any and all to see.



And Gisella’s dad tried his hand at photography. If you are wondering, she is in the cat bed.


Ending on a cuter note

More from the photo shoot

The photographer at Orrissa Photography just keeps giving us sneak peeks of baby Gisella during the photo shoot. Here are a few more as she works on putting them all together.




This one just melts my heart. I couldn’t stop looking at it yesterday.

Beautiful baby girl

Just had to share this

Gisella is having her first photo shoot today, obviously unimpressed with the entire thing but oh, so pretty in pink!