The Story of the Dueling Wheelchairs

duel(1)This evening I was having dinner with my daughter and our conversation lead to a nursing story.  We often share stories about our work and today I shared one about a couple of my patients (names withheld of course so I don’t breach confidentiality).  This week I had 2 of my regular patients who are in wheelchairs and who were both scheduled to see me at the approximate same time.  One is near 70 years of age and the other in his 40’s.

They usually arrive within minutes of each other and over the course of several weeks, it has evolved into a competition regarding who can get off the elevator, open the door, roll down the hall and into my room for their treatment first.

Perhaps it was the unrelenting heat this week that triggered the fierce competitor in each of them.   Suddenly I heard a hallway door slam outside my room, followed by shouting and even cursing as the 70 year old pushed past the patient in his 40’s and rolled across the “finish line” of my office door.Had it not been for the obvious flaring of the temper of the younger, I would have laughed aloud that he had been outmaneuvered by the older.

Motherly chastening quieted their verbal exchange as I stepped between their wheelchairs and talked to them about what it means to ‘play well with others.’    Today the younger rolled in later, saying he really didn’t care if the elder went first every day.  Who can figure out what goes on in the minds of children masquerading as grown men?

My daughter reminded me of one of the favorite stories I’ve shared with her.  As you might guess, it is another wheelchair story, but I can’t beat this story no matter how hard I try.   I’m going to retell it to you as the very emergency room physician who had the experience told it to me.  It never fails to make me laugh, so I hope it will do the same for you.  After all, laughter is good medicine!

One night Dr. Aaron was working in the ER when two brothers were brought in by ambulance.  The police arrived with the ambulance to investigate as both had gunshot wounds.  These were two wheelchair-bound brothers, Sid and Jake Smith for the purpose of this story—with three gunshot wounds between them.  Sid had one gunshot wound, while his brother Jake had two.

While doing the assessment, Dr. Aaron inquired of the history of the shooting and the details of what had happened.Naturally the police officer was present for the questioning.  Sid said his gunshot wound was an accident that happened while he was cleaning his gun.  Apparently the two brothers had collaborated their stories prior to the arrival of the ambulance and the police.

When Jake was questioned about his two gunshot wounds, he too stated that it was an accident and happened while he was cleaning his gun.  At this point Dr. Aaron said,  “Mr. Smith, I can believe a person might have an accident and shoot themselves once, but nobody shoots themselves twice in a row.”

It was at this point that Dr. Aaron resorted to patient history to gain some insight into the behaviors of these two brothers.  Apparently there was a much older history about their notorious shenanigans; the truth was revealed in the details.   Medical history explained why they were both in wheelchairs.

Apparently they loved to challenge each other and see who was the bravest and most daring.  So they began to play the deadly game of “chicken” with each other in their automobiles.  They would drive toward each other at a high rate of speed and the “chicken” would be the one who first veered off to avoid the head on collision.  Hence the reason for the wheelchairs.

Knowing that vital piece of information, Dr. Aaron and the police officer called them both into the room together and the police officer confronted them regarding the true story behind those 3 gunshot wounds. They sung like canaries.

You see, they could no longer play “chicken” with their automobiles after they ended up in wheelchairs, so they had to figure out a new game to amuse themselves.    They both loved to watch Westerns on TV and thought it was really cool how in the days of the wild, wild west two men would challenge each other to a duel.  Duelers would stand back to back, then walk out a designated number of paces, turn, draw and shoot.

And so it was with that same glimmer of creativity that these two brothers decided on the new challenge of backing up their wheelchairs to each other, then rolling out to a count of 20.  They would then spin around in their wheelchairs, aim and fire their weapons.  You can guess how they decided the winner.

I can just imagine the types of entertainment they dreamed up for family reunions (if there are any surviving members).  If you were their mother, you’d have to be just bursting with pride.  Thanks to the marvels of modern medicine, they both lived to duel another day.

Pam Baker, RN

PamBakerRN.com

🙂

If you enjoy humorous stories, you might also like to read:  http://pambakerrn.com/tale-drivers/

AND

The Great Dungeness Crab Caper


Posted in STORIES and tagged , , , , by with no comments yet.

Night Time Leg Spasms: Natural Solutions

Knee and hamstring injury

It was 8 years ago when the strange onset of night time leg cramps first began to occur.  I was on vacation in Arizona when a series of severe leg cramps that I eventually realized were spasms caused me to jump to the floor abruptly from a sound sleep.  I couldn’t walk it off, I couldn’t stretch it out because it was in the mid to upper thigh region of my leg.  If you’re searching for natural solutions for night time leg spasms, this is my personal story of what worked for me.

The Agony of Night Time Leg Spasms

Finally, while in a standing position, I extended the affected leg onto the mattress and leaned in to stretch my inner thigh region.  I lingered there in that stretched position panting in agony for what seemed like at least 2 – 3 minutes.  Every time I thought the wave of painful muscle contractions had ended and returned to standing and started to walk, they would seize me again with such severity that I could hardly breathe.

Finally I could empathize with those basketball players I had seen writhing on the court while a huddle of people surrounded them for what seemed like an eternity before they stood to their feet and limped to the sidelines.  So that is why they’re always drinking those electrolyte beverages at athletic events!

Exploring the Cause(s) of Night Time Leg Spasms

When that first episode finally ended, I began to do a mental review to try and determine whether I was dehydrated, had the wrong shoes, or had just been on my feet too long.  I remember concluding after a mental inventory of preceding events that surely it had been just an electrolyte imbalance.  In addition to adding extra fluids, I substituted coconut water once I discovered that coconut water contains about 600 milligrams of potassium per cup compared to 362 milligrams for a medium banana.

I began to ask myself key questions such as what I could possibly have done to cause this sudden onset of the leg spasms from hell.  (Yes, they really are a personal hell if you suffer with them.)  My activity level had not changed. I even began to dread going to bed for fear of being awakened with more night time leg spasms.

When my lab results to assess for electrolyte imbalances were normal, my family physician had no definitive answers.  I began doing my own research.  I ran across many excellent articles such as  this article from Cleveland Clinic.

I found an article on the 8 different types of prescription drugs that can cause leg cramps but fortunately I was on none of those medications.   Furthermore I wasn’t interested in trying to solve a problem by adding yet another prescription drug that would have its own set of side effects and cause even more problems.

I considered adjusting my sitting and sleeping posture.  For days after a particularly severe leg spasm, I was aware of a knot in the location of the spasm.  I enlisted the services of a massage therapist specializing in deep tissue massage to help address the knots in my muscles afterward.  I did stretches.  I tried to find the best way to stretch the inner thigh muscles quickly in the event of reoccurrence of leg spasms.

Little did I know that those painful spasms would become even more frequent and (on several occasions) so intense and unrelenting that I would actually consider asking my daughter to drive me to the emergency room.

The low point was the night I got severe spasms in BOTH inner, upper thighs at the same time.   I’m certain I used some profanity that night as I was pressing and grinding my knuckles into the most intensely painful areas in an attempt to release the spasms.

So far the fluids, coconut water, and massage had not eradicated the night time leg spasms.  There were no medications responsible; I wanted answers and I wanted the spasms to just STOP and never return. At the time I was averaging one night time leg spasm every week (and sometimes more often).

Supplements

I added a highly absorbable magnesium supplement, taking 200 mg. twice daily (every morning and at bedtime), which measurably reduced the frequency and severity of the leg spasms to about once a month.  My goal however, was to have zero leg spasms.  I added a sustained release potassium tablet (99 mg.) once daily at bedtime.  My doctor didn’t agree. He was concerned I was going to create an imbalance that would affect my heart’s natural rhythm. Regardless, he offered no other simple solution to end the agony, nor was he as vested in researching it.

My lab values had been normal, yet I was clearly showing signs of calcium deficiency. I stopped the magnesium and potassium and started taking 1000 mg. daily of calcium. I am happy to report that the problem has gradually resolved.   Clearly lab values don’t always give the total picture of what’s going on in your body. What our bodies need in terms of supplementation (and in what amounts) is very specific to the individual.

Recognizing Trigger Points

However, my best discovery in addressing the leg spasms before they occur started with recognition of intense spots producing the major sources of the tenderness Those spots are known as “trigger points.”

Athletes who do weight training have likely experienced trigger points in various regions of their bodies.  Trigger point massage devices are a worthwhile investment because you can reach your own trigger points and do your own massage.  (I own the Back Buddy but Thera Cane is an excellent choice as well.)

Once I located the trigger points on each of my inner thighs, I applied massage lotion and began to massage with my trigger point massage device.  Initially there was such an intense burning sensation and discomfort with massage of the trigger points that I found myself holding my breath during the massage.

The key is to massage through the discomfort until the trigger point releases.  Believe me, you will know when this happens and the benefits will be worth the moments of discomfort.  Every evening before I go to bed, I did targeted trigger point massage.   After several days of targeted trigger point massage, the burning and tenderness finally subsided.  It took a couple of weeks of focused massage to finally release a small knot at one trigger point area.

Meanwhile I have added a variety of leg stretching to my regimen every night before I go to bed.  It has now been several months since I have experienced a night time leg spasm.  The last ones I had were very short duration and the pain was mild compared to the agony in the beginning.

Concluding Thoughts

Let me be clear, these measures were a gallant attempt to find natural solutions and end my own suffering from night time leg spasms.  This was a very successful, drug-free, all natural approach. I am not offering medical advice or recommending this as something my readers should do for the same problem.  As a nurse, I must tell you to consult your family physician for guidance for all medical concerns.

What a journey this has been!  On a personal level, it was worth the research and I hope you find this blog to contain useful information that will help you as well.  My sleep has never been better.

Other Sources of Supplementation

Ounce per ounce, Moringa leaves contain far higher amounts of calcium than most plants, and 4 times the amount of calcium found in milk. Moringa Oleifera also has 90 verifiable nutrients, 46 antioxidants, 36 anti-inflammatories, Omegas 3, 6 & 9 as well as 20 amino acids (9 of which are essential), is 100% absorbable. Moringa Oleigera is the most nutrient dense plant on Earth.  For more information, visit my Moringa Nutrition Store.

 


Posted in Health, Wellness and Nutrition by with no comments yet.

How Do Red Blood Cells Impact Health and Performance?

Are you trying to build your house with junk materials?  Are you a junk food junkie who eats processed foods and 2-3 meals a day from a drive-thru restaurant?  Maybe you’re the person who carefully tries to eat whole, organic, unprocessed foods and avoid preservatives, GMOs and chemical additives.  Perhaps you’re a athlete, runner or body builder.  Some of you may be struggling with some real health challenges such as chronic illness or disease, making intake of proper nutrition a real challenge.

RED BLOOD CELLSWhoever you are, red blood cells are vital to your body and perform a critical function.  A single drop of blood contains millions of red blood cells, which are constantly traveling through your body delivering oxygen and removing waste.  If they weren’t, your body would slowly die.

Red blood cells are red only because they contain a protein chemical called hemoglobin which is bright red in color.  Hemoglobin contains the element Iron, making it an excellent vehicle for transporting oxygen and carbon dioxide.  As blood passes through the lungs, oxygen molecules attach to the hemoglobin.  As the blood passes through the body’s tissue, the hemoglobin releases the oxygen to the cells.  The empty hemoglobin molecules then bond with the tissue’s carbon dioxide or other waste gases, transporting it away.

Over time, the red blood cells get worn out and eventually die.  The average life of a red blood cell is 120 days.  Your bones are continually producing new blood cells, replenishing your supply.  The blood itself, however, is re-circulated throughout your body, not being remade all of the time.

NEW red blood cells being created based on your overall health and nutritional status at the time they were being formed in your bone marrow.  Building a healthy body is a process!   Once you begin giving your body the nutrition is needs, it begins generating healthy new red blood cells.  In the absence of disease, 120 days or so from today, your body will be circulating those all new healthy red blood cells.  So you see, you really “are what you eat.”  

We hear that over and over in books and news articles that Americans are overfed and undernourished. There are many documentaries that depict our broken food chain and the decline in nutrients in our food due to over farming methods depleting the minerals that were once in our soil.  Obesity is prevalent even among teens.  The problem of obesity continue to soar, yet those trying to lose those extra pounds are sabotaged by their own cravings for more.

Why do we have so many food cravings?  Because our bodies are searching for nutrients we’re not getting from the foods we’re eating.  Imagine eating something to satisfy your hunger then shortly thereafter wanting something else…..and something else….and something else.   Your body didn’t get what it needed for “fuel” in that “pseudo-food” you ate.  That imaginary “switch” inside your brain never registered the tank full of fuel.  So the brain keeps sending the same message “I need fuel!”  And so you eat, and perhaps you feel stuffed, but you’re tired, lack the energy or even the mental clarity for peak performance. Peak performance requires the right fuel.  Building and rebuilding or repairing your body requires healthy red blood cells.

What whole food or plant have you read about that contains over 90 verifiable nutrients, 46 anti-oxidants, 36 anti-inflammatories, Omegas 3, 6 & 9, 20 amino acids (9 of which are essential and cannot be made by the body)?   The most nutrient dense plant on Earth got little recognition until Moringa Oleifera was featured on a Discovery Channel documentary.   Moringa Oleifera is referred to as “The Miracle Tree.”

The story begins with one man viewing that same Discovery Channel documentary on a plant grown in far away lands. As he watched, his interest piqued when he observed people literally being sustained by consuming small amounts of this miracle plant.  That video sparked his interest and he wondered why that plant was not being used.  He enlisted a team of Scientists to formulate a plant-based liquid nutritional that is 100% bio-available and absorbable within 15 minutes of drinking it.

Ken Brailsford had created two other Legacy companies, one in the 70′s and one in the 80′s. Both companies are still in business today.  The company that brought Moringa Oleifera to the world in 2006 was ZIJA INTERNATIONAL.  ZIJA is “The Moringa Company.”

For more information:

Pam Baker, RN

PamBakerRN@PamBakerRN.com

 

 

Posted in Health, Wellness and Nutrition and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , by with no comments yet.

“The Weakest MRSA+ Germ Can Jump 10 Feet”

hand washing  MRSA

 

Now that I have your attention, NO, that is not correct information!  Methicillin-resistant staph aureus (MRSA) is otherwise no laughing matter.  MRSA doesn’t “jump” but it definitely does get spread around by unwashed hands

When I recently overheard this misinformation in a comment from one of my patients to another, I broke down in laughter.   MRSA germs can actually live on surfaces for weeks to months.  So the next time you touch such items as the handle of a gas pump, a microwave handle, door knob, computer keyboard, telephone receiver, elevator button, menu in a restaurant, hand rail, gym equipment, Free Weights  MRSA articlemagazine (or even shared toys) in a waiting room, think about where you are putting your hands after touching them. 

 MRSA is the bacteria commonly known to cause boils.  If you’ve ever had it, I promise you won’t forget it.  It can be transmitted by improperly disinfected equipment such as nail implements (even in your doctor or podiatrist’s office).   For this reason, I am not a proponent for cold sterilization of nail implements.  I do however support autoclaving for high temperature sterilization of reused medical instruments.  nail implements

Over my past 18 years in specialty practice in wound care, I have seen more and more patients presenting with reoccurring, symptomatic wound infection,  requiring oral and intravenous antibiotics.  Antibiotic resistance has become a major problem in health care and we now have bacterial resistance to our most broad spectrum antibiotics.  Because of these ongoing problems with antibiotic resistance, I support the use of isolation gowns (& gloves of course) with every wound dressing change.  By the time you actually receive your patient’s wound culture results, your clothing has already come in contact with their skin and clothing and MRSA has begun it’s journey of spreading from patient to patient and possibly to you and your family  as well.

And what about the nose or nares?  MRSA often loves to set up base camp inside your nose.  How does it get there?  Unwashed hands!  Longer fingernails Manicure MRSA  or chipped nail polish becomes a place for MRSA to hide because the bacteria is often missed by haphazard hand washing attempts.

If I were the patient, I would be very proactive about my health.  I would not dream of having a surgical procedure (& especially orthopedic/joint replacement surgery) without first having my health care provider do nasal swab cultures to determine whether my nares were colonized with MRSA.  When you think about the prevalence, suffering and cost of post op surgical site infections, it is well worth the extra precaution to screen (and to treat if necessary) prior to any planned surgery.

 The very best way you can protect yourself is good handwashing, keeping your nails short and well groomed, your polish unchipped, and do not share personal items with other people.

For more information, visit the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) website.

 

Pam Baker, RN

pambakerrn@pambakerrn.com

 

 


Posted in Health, Wellness and Nutrition and tagged , , , , , , , , , , by with no comments yet.

Sack Race-Rookie-Triathlete-Marathoner: Run Your Race Like a Winner

Shawna, Pam, & Shelley after Thoroughbred Classic on Thanksgiving DayAre races only for athletes? Who is the REAL winner in an, Ironman Triathlon, Marathon, a 10K or   5K run? Is the lone athlete who crosses the finish line first and takes home the trophy the only winner or do those who endure the miles and complete the race against the obstacles also win?  What a change in perspective I have experienced over the years!  Ecclesiastes 9:11 (NASB) says:  “I again saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift and the battle is not to the warriors, and neither is bread to the wise nor wealth to the discerning nor favor to men of ability; for time and chance overtake them all.”

Until the late 1990’s, I had never worn racing numbers on my shirt.  Entering a race wasn’t even in my frame of reference.   I was not gifted with athletic ability, in fact just the opposite.  However, I was blessed with determination, endurance, and a great deal of just plain stubbornness in vowing not be let my temporarily setbacks turn into failures.  I was inspired by Oprah Winfrey’s story about training and running her first Marathon, but this blog is not about me achieving a 26.2 (which I actually fantasized about after I read Oprah’s story.)  Rather what I write was inspired by what I learned about myself during the pursuit of fitness and the camaraderie of veteran athletes.

After nearly 10 months of working with a personal trainer who stressed the importance of diet, good choices and sound nutrition, my body slowly started to respond after years of neglect.  I learned from my trainer that a great work ethic of consistent, intense cardio and weight training had a critical impact on peak performance at any level of fitness.   As I began to look for fitness challenges outside of the gym environment, the posters began showing up for registration for Lexington’s annual July 4th Bluegrass 10,000  race.   While I knew I wasn’t physically in shape to actually run, I had made such wonderful friends at the gym who were running that I decided to enter the race as a walker.  My daughter (& gym buddy) and I entered, along with many of our gym friends.   I mentioned that I was considering the race only casually to my trainer, who probably never imagined I was serious.  Who on Earth does a 10K before they ever do a 5K?  My daughter and I!  We began asking for the advice of a seasoned Boston Marathon runner (our spinning class instructor) regarding what we should eat and drink the day and evening before the “race.”

 So here we were on the dawn of race morning with our brand new anti-blister socks (a rookie mistake).   As the crowds gathered in, the excitement escalated and the adrenaline kicked in, I couldn’t believe that I was actually going to do this!  The runners gathered in; the fastest and most competitive were at the front of the pack.   They pressed in all around me and I could feel my heart racing before the real race even started.   Here I was, an asthmatic carrying 80 extra pounds at the age of 48 and running on knees that were 23 degrees out of proper alignment (valgus deformity), but nonetheless determined that I was going to finish this race no matter what.

 The loud bang signaling the opening of the race exploded over the bustle of the crowd and the real runners—like thoroughbred horses out of the starting gate–charged out ahead of the pack.  Runners waved to crews of our local TV stations as they filmed the opening of the race from an overpass on Main Street.  As long as I live I will never forget what that felt like!  I can feel the emotion surge even as I write about that memory of my very first race.

In the beginning, I was hindered by the crowd, yet walking at a very brisk pace, weaving in and out to pass those moving slower, while the faster runners were weaving around me.   Runners pushing children in strollers were passing me up.  I remember feeling both annoyed and insulted.  As the initial wave of runners had gone, the crowds thinned and there was a little more room to breathe.   Spectators were lined up on either side of the streets cheering and clapping as we passed by.  I was caught up in the momentum of those who were actually running, which in turn caused me to move at a pace faster than this body was trained to move.  My heart was pounding, I became short of breath, almost gasping as I began to perspire profusely.  We hadn’t even made our first turn off Main Street!

 At that moment, my mind scrolled back to the memory of Field Day on the last day of school when I was in 4th grade.  It was the very first race I ever ran.  I was always the chubby kid who was chosen last when teams were being chosen.    On that day, kids were teaming up in pairs to do a sack race on the playground.  I was the next one up to run.  I had no desire to face the defeat I expected was sure to occur.

After much coaching by the Nuns at the Catholic School where I attended, I relented and stepped into that big burlap sack.  The bell sounded and the race started.  I was easily left behind until my worthy opponent, trying to jump faster than the sack would allow, stumbled and fell.  I caught up.  The crowds yelled louder.  The Nuns cheered and called out my name “Come on, Pam!  Keep going!”  I pushed harder.  My heart raced and pounded harder.  I could feel my face getting hotter and hotter.  My opponent passed me again….and oops!  Down he fell again!  This time I wasn’t very far from the finish line.   The crowd got even louder!  This time it was more than the Nuns yelling, it was also my classmates cheering “Come on, Pam!  You’re almost there!”   I was still jumping, but this time my heart was beating so fast, it felt like it was going to explode in my chest.  I was feeling faint and for the first time in my life, I actually listened to my body. I think I would probably have collapsed if I had continued at that pace trying to run ahead of my own physical ability.

 At that moment, I did something that had haunted me throughout my life.  I stopped.  I took myself out of the race.  I threw in the grade school version of the proverbial towel.  No one defeated me that day, I simply quit and allowed my opponent to win.   I listened to my own body with great remorse and feelings of guilt.  Still I learned some valuable lessons from that experience:  Don’t try to race ahead of your own ability and never, ever just quit.   This applies to all areas of life.   My opponent likewise taught me a lesson.  Keep getting back up when you get knocked off your feet in life.  Eventually you will reap a reward if you simply do not quit.

 After mentally returning to the present moment, I began to I listen to my body.   I continued to keep up my own steady pace and learned to control my breathing.  I was focused on not exceeding my own limitations so as not to trigger an asthma attack.  By the time I passed the first mile marker of the race, I was aware of blisters forming on my feet.  I could feel them enlarging with every passing step.   My pace slowed even more.  My daughter, who had been ahead of me all along the course began to slow and even began talking to me over her shoulder.   Sure enough, she also had developed blisters.  At some point in that 6.2 mile race, it became apparent to me that I just needed to overcome the memory of that sack race of long ago and F-I-N-I-S-H my own race at my own pace.

 I passed a wave of applauding spectators.  What wonderful encouragement!  I was grateful to those volunteers who stepped out along the race route and offered runners cups of water.  I was conflicted as those runners in front of me drank, then threw those cups on the asphalt as they ran on in total disregard of the mess they were leaving for someone else to clean up.  Litterers!  I thought as I approached the debris of all those carelessly tossed empty cups.  Then I too momentarily relinquished my opposition to littering and became one of them (at least for race day).  J

 The route looped around and I met those inbound runners on the opposite site of the route who were already on the return leg of the race course.  We cheered and applauded and encouraged each other as we passed.  You have to actually be part of something to experience that feeling.  You have to be a participator.  No spectator could ever know how it feels to be running a race together, even though each runner ultimately runs his/her own race.

 I continued to feel those blisters getting larger and larger as the miles passed.  I remembered the day I took myself out of that sack race, but I was not going to allow a few blisters to defeat me this time!  I was determined to cross that finish line if I had to crawl across.  By the 5th mile, my daughter and I had arrived at the same conclusion.  Our goals were to simply finish what we’d started and we were going to do it together.

 Our friends who were the experienced Marathon runners had, by this time long since crossed the finish line, rested briefly and stood there watching and waiting on us to come into view.   Something amazing happened that day that I never knew happened with runners.  Two of our Marathon-running “angels” ran out to meet us; one ran on either side as our “Wing Men.”  At that last exhausting home stretch to the finish line, they appeared.  They had literally run their race but then came to run alongside my daughter and I to encourage us as we struggled through the very half mile of our race.   In my exhaustion, I choked up with emotion but I didn’t have the breath to spare for conversation.

 FINALLY I could see the finish line in sight!  People were cheering louder and louder as the route bottlenecked down to a single lane and each runner’s number was recorded with their official finish time.  There were a multitude of high 5’s and sweaty hugs that followed.  I didn’t need a trophy.  I had overcome a childhood defeat in exchange for a victory that day.  My “trophies” were two large blood-filled blisters the size of half dollars on the balls of both feet and I showed them off with pride.  No Marathon runner at that race could ever remember seeing or having blisters that large.  There was some degree of satisfaction in that odd superlative as I observed their grimacing faces.  Lucky me!  I was both starter and  F-I-N-I-S-H-E-R that day.   What an Independence Day to remember!

***

Energy is key to peak performance at any age or level of fitness.  Striving and achieving one major fitness goal inspires us to reach still higher.  None of this can be achieved without proper nutrition.  REAL NUTRITION.   I remember my own recovery time after that first big race.  Remember there’s a good deal of tearing down after an athletic event.  Sometimes there are minor injuries with ensuing inflammation that limit mobility and the resumption of training. How would it help you meet your training goals if you could shorten your recovery time after an intense workout, decrease inflammation and have the energy to begin rebuilding toward your next fitness goals sooner?  Many well known athletes have learned they can achieve that competitive fitness edge through plant-based, 100% absorbable and bio-available nutrition. Getting the right nutrition on a consistent basis can be life changing.  It was for me.  To learn more, visit my website link below.

 Pam Baker, RN

Email:  pambakerrn@pambakerrn.com

 The same year at the Thoroughbred 5K on Thanksgiving Day.  I am #242; our friend Shelley is #473 and my daughter is #241.  We RAN all the way! 🙂

 Shawna, Pam, & Shelley after Thoroughbred Classic on Thanksgiving Day
If you enjoyed this story, you might also like to read:  
The Spirit That Never Quits


Posted in Health, Wellness and Nutrition and tagged , , , , , , , , , , by with no comments yet.

A Nurse’s Perspective on Pain

For this nurse, pain has no value unless it prompts you to take action.

For this nurse, pain has no value unless it prompts you to take action.

I have provided direct care for many patients in pain over the course of my 28 years as a Registered Nurse.  I have seen those patients who were in acute pain from trauma, child birth, post operative pain, chronic pain such as from wounds/leg ulcers, back pain, an old injury, fibromyalgia, arthritis and the pain of terminal illness.  I have taken care of those who have taken so many narcotics that they’ve developed a tolerance and pain medication no longer seems to be effective.   This is a nurse’s perspective on pain.

The Faces of Pain

I have observed how people react to pain.  Some have  low tolerance for pain (who could bear little) while others have high tolerance (who were the silent soldiers).  I have observed the stoic faces of those “silent soldiers” who I knew must be in pain, but who would ask for nothing.  I have observed the grimaces, the groans, the shrieks, and even the agony of those suffering from acute pain.

Causes of Pain

What causes most pain?  Inflammation! What causes the inflammation?

Refer to my articles:

Personal Experience With Pain

Let me be very clear that both from a nursing perspective and a very personal perspective, I know about pain.  I have experienced intense post operative pain, the pain of trauma, procedural pain, childbirth and the chronic pain of arthritis. I have at times been that same “silent soldier” who just didn’t talk about the pain that wouldn’t go away.  Instead I continued to traipse up and down those long hospital corridors working 12 hour shifts, helping others while I was in pain myself.

I am actually thankful that I have firsthand knowledge of pain because I was never slow to respond to my patient’s needs because of it.  In fact, I have advocated for my patients to some doctors who had deaf or calloused ears on behalf of their patients whose pain was not being adequately addressed.

As for me, I have bought both acetaminophen and ibuprofen in 100-200+ count bottles.  Often, I would take 800 mg. of ibuprofen several times a day and still be experiencing pain.  Pain would keep me awake at night.  When the alarm sounded in the morning, I dreaded to step my feet on the floor because I knew the pain was only going to get worse throughout the day.  I would mentally ask myself this question:  Do  I want to harm my liver with acetaminophen or harm my kidneys with ibuprofen?  So I would alternate between the two and still never be comfortable.

Narcotic pain relievers for chronic pain weren’t even an option.  Nobody needs a nurse whose judgment may be impaired.  There’s always the issue of developing a high tolerance to narcotics, requiring more and more to achieve the same level of relief.  I have known too many nurses who lost their licenses over mismanagement of narcotics and vowed I would never go down that dead-end road.

Does Pain Have Value?

Does pain have value?  My answer would be yes….but only if it prompts you to take action.  So what value does pain have for me?  Absolutely none!  Pain is not an old familiar friend I hesitate to part with; instead pain was a hindrance to me living life to its fullest. Yes, you just read the words correctly; I just referred to pain in the past tense! J

Decrease the Inflammation, Decrease the Pain

In late November, 2011, another friend (also a nurse) recognized my need and shared information about a natural product, Moringa Oleifera, that has changed my life.  For the first time since I was a child, I know what it is like to live my life pain-free!  The discarded all the remaining ibuprofen and acetaminophen from my own medicine cabinet.  They expired because I didn’t need them anymore!

Now I begin (and end) every single day with 36 all natural plant-based anti-inflammatories that don’t harm either my liver or my kidneys— made from Moringa Oleifera.  For me, pain has no value and was definitely not my friend—it prevented me from living “life unlimited.”  Is pain limiting your ability to enjoy life? J

This was my personal experience.  Nothing I share on this website is an attempt to diagnose, treat, give medical advice or take the place of your own health care provider.  Moringa Oleifera is a nutritional product that contains 36 all natural anti-inflammatories.  You might also life to read:  Nutrition:  Moringa Oleifera

Check out  MORINGA OLEIFERA NUTRITIONALS

I sincerely hope you’re living your life pain-free.

Pam Baker, RN

PamBakerRN.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Posted in Health, Wellness and Nutrition by with no comments yet.

A Critical Organ for Weight Loss and Health

 

Detoxify naturally with Zija's Premium Tea

Detoxify naturally with Zija’s Premium Tea

The liver has well over 500 functions and is known as the laboratory of the human body. The liver is tied to all bodily processes because it is responsible for filtration of all incoming foods and fluids. The body relies upon the liver to remove toxins so that nutrients supplied to the body are pure and capable of providing nourishment. Many scientists believe the liver is connected to, or at least aware, of every disease or dysfunction that is happening inside the body.   Consequently the liver is a critical organ for weight loss and health.  Below are some of the major well known functions of the liver:

  • Metabolizes proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, thus providing energy and nutrients
  • Stores vitamins, minerals, and sugars
  • Filters the blood and helps remove harmful chemicals and bacteria
  • Creates bile which breaks down fats
  • Helps to assimilate and store fat soluble vitamins (A, E, D, K)
  • Stores extra blood that can be quickly released when needed
  • Creates serum proteins that maintain fluid balance and act as carriers
  • Helps maintain electrolyte and water balance
  • Creates immune substances such as gamma globulin
  • Breaks down and eliminates excess hormones
  • Vascular (blood management)
  • Provides blood clotting factors
  • Breaks down ammonia (and other toxins) created in the colon by bacteria; thus preventing death
  • Helps to maintain blood pressure
  • Constructs cholesterol and estrogen, reconstructs hormones
  • Humanizes nutrients, metabolizes protein, carbohydrates, fat for energy
  • Synthesizes urea, constructs blood protein, interconverts amino acids
  • Constructs 50,000 systems of enzymes to govern metabolic activity throughout the body
  •  Removes damaged red blood cells
  • Converts the thyroid hormone thyroxine (T4) into it more active form triiodothyronine (T3). Inadequate conversion may lead to hypothyroidism, chronic fatigue, weight gain, poor memory and other debilitating conditions.
  • Creates GTF (Glucose Tolerance Factor) from chromium, niacin and possibly glutathione. GTF is needed for the hormone insulin to properly regulate blood-sugar levels. Manufactures bile salts which emulsify fats and the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K for proper absorption. The liver also removes some fat-soluble toxins from the body.
  •  Activates B vitamins into their biologically active coenzyme forms. Virtually every nutrient must be biotransformed by the liver into its proper biochemical form before the nutrient can be stored, transported or used in cellular metabolism.
  • Stores various nutrients, especially A, D, B-12 and iron for release as needed.
  •  Manufactures carnitine from lysine and other nutrients. Carnitine is the only known bionutrient which can escort fats into the mitochondria where they are used to generate ATP energy. The mitochondria generate 90% of the ATP energy at the cellular level.
  • Converts lactic acid from a toxic waste to an important storage fuel. Lactic acid is produced when glucose is metabolized through the energy production cycle. When excessive levels accumulate, you experience sore muscles. A healthy liver will extract lactic acid from the bloodstream and convert it into the reserve endurance fuel, glycogen.
  • Serves as the main glucose buffer, preventing high or low extremes of blood sugar. The liver is the key regulator of blood sugar between meals due to its manufacture, storage, and release of glycogen, the starch form of glucose. When blood sugar is low, a healthy liver converts stored glycogen into glucose, releasing it into the bloodstream to raise blood sugar levels. When blood sugar is high, a healthy liver will convert the excess into stored glycogen or fat.
  • Chief regulator of protein metabolism. The liver converts different amino acids into each other as needed.
  • Produces cholesterol and converts it into the various forms needed for blood transport.
  •  Converts essential fatty acids such as GLA, EPA, and DHA into the lipoprotein forms necessary to allow transport via the bloodstream to the 50 trillion cells requiring fatty acids.
  • Main poison-detoxifying organ in the body. The liver must break down every substance toxic to the body including metabolic wastes, insecticide and pesticide residues, drugs, alcohol, etc. Failure of this function will usually cause death in 12 to 24 hours.
  •  Removes ammonia, a toxic by-product of animal protein metabolism, from the body.
  • Breaks down hormones after they have served their function. i.e., if the liver does not break down insulin fast enough, hypoglycemia results because the circulating insulin continues to lower blood sugar.
  • The liver is vital to a host of other metabolic functions, but this brief overview should serve to illustrate the central role the liver plays in maintaining good health and the importance of implementing life-style change if necessary.

This is just the start of an extremely long list of liver functions. It is still uncertain exactly how many functions the liver is responsible for, but currently the list exceeds at least 500 different functions.

Have you ever been trying-to-lose-weight and been stuck-at-a-plateau or a “set point” in your weight loss that you just couldn’t seem to get below?  It is this kind of discouragement that causes many people to abandon their weight-management efforts.   Perhaps now you have a better understanding of why the liver is a critical organ for weight loss and health.  It actually makes sense that the liver needs to be detoxified.

How complex is it to begin to support and detoxify your liver?  It is as simple as drinking a cup of Zija’s Premium Tea 3 or more times a week! 

Pam Baker, RN

PamBakerRN.com

 

 

 

 


Posted in Health, Wellness and Nutrition by with no comments yet.

My Father, My Daddy: Storyteller, “Scientist”, Coal Miner, Teacher

 Me and DadNever does a year pass on Father’s Day, that I don’t remember my own Father….who to me was called Daddy.  The term Daddy is an informal term of endearment for Father’s like mine.  My first memory of my Daddy was the image of a man leaning over my crib wearing in a red plaid cap.  If that is a true memory, I do not know, but nevertheless, that image is one I remember. 

Later, I remember the piggyback rides and I remember the storytelling   Saturday mornings were a special time because my Dad would be home and I would I snuggle beside him and ask him to tell me stories.  He wasn’t much of a reader, but he was a great storyteller.  I always asked to hear one special story over and over.  It was the story about a goose that injured a wing and was unable to fly south for the winter.  Staying behind when his mother and siblings flew away, Little Grey Neck had to try and avoid the Fox who was determined to have her for dinner as inch-by-inch the pond little began to freeze over, allowing the hungry fox to get closer and closer.  So if you think you ever had abandonment issues, at least you weren’t Little Grey Neck!   Nevertheless, the story has a good ending and I have spent my life trying to heal the wounded ever since! 

 Several Christmases ago, my daughter presented me with a VCR tape of the original animated cartoon of this story she had managed to find on the internet.   Immediately the memories flooded back as I watched that animated cartoon.   My children watched with me (as children often watch their parents, whether young or old), curious to see that legendary cartoon I had told them about so many times.   As I watched and the memories flooded back of my Daddy, who has since passed, my eyes welled with tears.  They thought it was because of the story itself, but for me it was the intense memories of my Daddy from the perspective of a small child and missing him that elicited strong emotions.   There are many, many Fathers, in this world today,  but far too few “Daddies.”  I believe our children’s lives and our global futures would be positively impacted if we only had more real Daddies.

I still remember the day my Daddy taught me how to tie my own shoes.  To this day, I haven’t met a single other person who ties their shoes the say way I tie mine.  Unique as the method is, what really matters is the final outcome and there are life lessons to be learned even in that simple example.  What my Daddy lacked in formal education was more than compensated by his abundance of common sense.   I learned to develop and use mine as well.  When you add formal education to common sense, it becomes an overflowing wellspring of knowledge that will serve you in your ability to communicate with people from all walks of life. 

My Daddy was also far ahead of his time, an untrained “scientist”  and a problem-solver.  He taught me, around the age of 7, about the Gate Control Theory of pain.  I wasn’t to be formally taught about this theory in terms of textbook knowledge until almost 30 years later when I was in nursing school.  How on Earth did a man with no formal education manage to teach by example the Gate Control Theory of pain management?   It happened the day I got a bee sting.   After the initial pain of the sting had passed, the intense swelling and itching began.  He was trying to keep these little fingers from scratching and making the problem worse.  What he did was teach by example how to take my finger and rub around and around the outer border of the area to relieve the itching.  It worked better than scratching for immediate relief of the sensation but without the trauma I could have caused with fingernails. 

But today I honor my Father—my Daddy—for the man he was, the integrity he had, the examples he lived before me and the strong work ethic he exhibited.  There was not a single lazy bone in that man’s 5 foot 5 inch body.   He started working in an underground coal mine at the age of 16 and eventually retired after 42 years of working underground to extract coal when he began having epileptic seizures and could no longer safely work around mining machinery.   X-rays of his lungs would show the extent of the damage of breathing coal dust and rock duct (silica) over a span of decades as he had both “black lung disease” (coal workers pneumoconiosis as well as silicosis)  In spite of his circumstances of growing up in a large family in extremely tough times and living through The Great Depression, he has a spark for life and a sense of humor I will never forget.

In my Daddy’s “free” time,  he was always busy with a purpose,  hunting for wild game or raising a garden just to help provide food for our family.  I spent a lot of time helping him plant, hoe and harvest the crops he raised.  Don’t you just love the law of sowing and reaping?  You reap what you sow, you reap later than you sow, and you reap more than you sow.   So if you sow and sow and plant enough seed, eventually you will reap a harvest if you do not quit. My Daddy had faith that when he planted, eventually there would be a harvest.  Our family depended on that harvest.  So it is with all things in life!   Once the harvest came, I spent a good deal more time helping my mother preserve the abundance  of my Daddy’s harvest to last us through the winter months.  There is nothing that tastes better than fresh vegetables from your own garden!

 Daddy was also quite the banjo picker, but only for private performances for the family.  He would sing and play that banjo clawhammer style and sometimes even dance at the same time.  His infamous “bottle rump Jim” dance would leave us in stitches as this wiry little Irishman did a hilarious version of an Irish jig.    When he wasn’t playing a banjo, he was playing a juice harp.   A merry heart truly is like a good medicine!  In spite of all his hard work, he found time (though too little of it) to sing and dance.

I remember asking my Dad once what would have been his dream job if he hadn’t been a coal miner.  After a moment of silent reflection, he would always say he “couldn’t think of anything else.”   I wonder if it was because mining was all he ever knew or because of the limits imposed by his lack of formal education.  In either case, my Daddy’s circumstances had caused him to lose the ability to dream.  His “world” did not expand beyond those mountain ridges of Eastern Kentucky he knew as home.  

I thank God for the gift of my Daddy and the blessing he was to my life.  He taught me many things without realizing it.  He taught me the blessings of family and the value of being able to relate to and empathize with people.  He taught me humility and he taught me to work hard and do my best.  He taught me, by the lack of his own dreams, and through his storytelling, how to have dreams of my own.  

He did not dream, as I always did, about what was waiting on the other side of those mountaintops. I remember lying across my bed as a young teen, listening to music and wondering what the world was like on the other side of those mountains.  Every time a heard a train whistle is the distance, I wondered where it came from and where it was going.  I have seen and experienced some of the world beyond those mountains, traveling across the U.S. and to a few other countries, but there is so much more to see!

Sometimes it is tough circumstances or a health crisis that causes us to lose our ability to dream.   Sometimes we just become so focused on getting an education, raising our  children and keeping up with all their extracurricular activities, performing our jobs and just meeting our obligations,  we lose sight of what it is like to actually have dreams of our own.

I honor my Daddy and I recognize  the value and necessity of all his hard work.  I wish now I had had more time with my Daddy instead of just those Saturday mornings I remember so well from childhood.  I wish he hadn’t had to work so hard and had had more time to play.  But he was always busy with a purpose, trying to provide for our family.   

 Even in my own life as I raised my own children, I wish I had had more time to play, to spend time with my children and to travel.  I would have done that more if I had had the financial means   However, as a nurse, I was never even sure I was going to have a weekend with them, or a holiday because I didn’t have financial freedom. I couldn’t tell you how many special occasions I had to miss because I was helping take care of other people.  But as the years have passed, I am reassessing and re-evaluating, as nurses often do,  and I don’t want to miss anything else! 

One of my favorite quotes is by T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia)   “All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake up in the day to find it was vanity, but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.”

 What about you?  Do you simply dream of having more “free time” with your family to do the things you love?  Would you rather be a ‘dreamer of the day’ and make your dreams a reality?

 There is an opportunity waiting.  It is a REAL opportunity to be able to supplement your income without having to take a second or third job.  You don’t need to work harder; maybe you just need to work smarter.   Instead of working to make the stockholders, CEOs and Boards of Directors rich, perhaps you should invest your energy into generating income from home.   If you are looking for an income opportunity, send me a message.

Let the dreams begin! 

 For more information:

 Pam Baker, RN

If you enjoyed this family story, you might also like to read:  

A Legendary University of Kentucky Basketball Fan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Posted in STORIES and tagged by with no comments yet.

The Great Dungeness Crab Caper

Ryan at Pike Place MarketI was thrilled when my annual nursing conference was to be held in Seattle, WA this year. I had wonderful memories from the last time I visited Pike Place Market where I dodged fish sailing over my head as orders were filled for waiting customers. This year I had my eyes on Dungeness crab. My daughter learned to love the bounty of the ocean when she spent a summer on the Oregon coast while in college. She in turn introduced the delight of Dungeness crab to me.

The morning of my departing flight, I made an early trip to the market with the notion that I would place an order to be shipped home as a special gift straight from the Washington coast. I had recently enjoyed fresh crab at a local restaurant near the wharf. Not bad for a girl who was raised on catfish! We might see an occasional crawdad in our backyard in KY, but really fresh seafood is a rarity.

After deciding on 4 large Dungeness crabs, I made my way with the special cardboard box back to my motel and caught the shuttle to the airport. The adventure begins!

I arrived at the airport in plenty of time. My shuttle left the motel around 10:30 a.m. and my flight was scheduled to depart at 1:15 p.m. I checked the large bag holding my clothes and nursing conference treasures in record time and headed to my boarding gate. This brought back a memory of an event many years ago, when I stopped for coffee and missed a flight to Toronto. To this day my family gives me grief over that one little error in judgment brought about by my love of good Java.

Other than the bag I checked, I had only a small carry on and that delicious cargo in a cardboard box. I rounded a corner and suddenly saw the line at security screening. It wasn’t a line, it was actually a web of despair that snaked back and forth single file, creating 7 rows of passengers all carrying what appeared to be tons of “stuff” and waiting to be screened.

The line didn’t seem to be moving. I entertained myself checking social media on my iPhone. After a bit, I checked the time on my cell phone and saw that about 45 minutes had passed. I was nowhere near the screening checkpoint. Finally, a TSA agent walked by and I politely asked “Ma’am, I have a flight that leaves at 1:15 p.m. What do you suggest I do?” At this point, the agent simply shrugged her shoulders and continued to walk past.

I was deeply touched by her support and show of concern for my dilemma. Actually, at that moment I was convinced she had a heart of pure stone and wondered how it managed to circulate the oxygen to her brain. The moments continued to tick by and I realized my flight was now boarding. My mood quickly escalated to frenzy and I could feel the trickles of perspiration on my forehead.

Finally I saw an opening in the crowd at one of the screening points. I placed my shoes, purse, etc. in the bin on the convey beltline. Next I placed the cardboard box and carry on bag on the conveyor. I told the screener I would alarm as I passed through due to the titanium joint replacements in my knees. The agent said I would have to submit to a pat search and asked why I hadn’t gone through a line with a body scanner. I had been waist deep in the crowd and all I wanted was to go through a checkpoint. I really didn’t care where or about available instrumentation.

I was told to step to the side for a full body pat down. I said “No problem.” The screener then began a long detailed narrative about what she intended to check and how and she wondered whether I minded being screened in public. Once again I told her that I didn’t mind and that I had been patted down before.

She continued explaining her method in explicit detail. I interrupted her abruptly. “Ma’am, just do the screening. You don’t have to explain every step because I‘m familiar with pat searches. I work in a prison. Just go ahead and pat me down.” I begged. “I am going to miss my flight. “ Her face was expressionless, totally unconcerned with my need to catch a plane.

Meanwhile another screener asked if I was carrying a laptop. I was not. I had long since grown tired of the battery of special tests done on certain portable electronics (including C-pap machines). I knew I was harmless, but they apparently did not. My bags were coming through the screener now. I could see my green carry on coming out the end of the conveyor belt beneath the clear plastic hood. Did I mention I was about to miss my plane? I reached for my bag. A large non-Caucasian lady with blaring eyes snapped at me. DON’T TOUCH THAT! You’re not supposed to touch your bags until they are through the screener. “I’m sorry, Ma’am. I’m just in a hurry. Did I mention I’m about to miss my flight? They’re boarding my plane this very moment in a different terminal.” I got no response.

“They want me to open this box” she said as she began ripping off the strapping tape placed so carefully at the market. “Didn’t it just pass through the X-ray?” I asked. “The box contains 4 Dungeness crabs. I have the receipt from the market.” I offered.

She pretended not to hear as she continued to rip off the tape. However, she was unable to break the strapping tape with her hands and had no box cutter at the checkpoint (I think they banned these a few years ago….) So now she had to leave her station and go in search of a pair of scissors.

As she was walking away, I asked (ever so politely) “Are you going to re-tape the box when you’re finished?”

I swear I saw fire shoot from that woman’s eyes at that moment. I returned visual “fire.” After all, I was invested in a full-fledged crisis. How much worse could it get?

Briefly she returned with scissors and a roll of duct tape. She did a quick look inside and then began re-taping the box lid. When she was finished, she asked whether I wanted her to put tape on the handles. I said “No thank you, Ma’am. You’ve done enough. Please just give me the box so I can be on my way. I’m going to miss my flight!”

So off I raced onto the train transferring me 2 terminals away and up two flights of escalators. I was praying out loud over and over again “Lord, please don’t let me miss my flight.”

My flight departed (of course) from the gate farthest from the terminal entrance. I continued to weave in and out of passengers who clearly were not in a time crunch. I made it to the designated gate, only to learn they were boarding at a different (but thankfully nearby) gate. I arrived with a full 7 minutes to spare before they closed my flight.

I reached Atlanta 4 hours later to catch my flight home to Lexington. I was to depart at 10:15 p.m. and arrive home at 11:28 p.m. My flight was boarded and my personal belongings were stowed overhead. We were seated on the plane waiting to depart when the flight attendant announced that runway lights were out at Bluegrass Airport and our flight had been cancelled. We were to report to the gate attendant for re-ticketing and motel accommodations for the night.

I headed to the gate, joining a long line of other passengers. The gate attendant mentioned there was one remaining seat on a flight to Louisville. In hindsight, I wish I had never waved my hand, but I did. I was directed to hurry to that gate (2 terminals away). I picked up my belongings and off I went. By the time I made it to the departure gate, I had discovered that none of my family or friends were going to be able to pick me up in Louisville. I had to let go of the hope of getting home and join yet another re-ticketing line (which was much longer than the one I had just left). I was directed to a row of phones where I would receive information and be booked on an early flight in the morning. Once I had my new boarding pass, the gate agent would tell me which motel would accommodate me for the night.

After hanging up the phone, I bent over to gather my belongings…….wait! Where is my box of crabs? They were gone! I looked left and right. Where were they? Did somebody actually steal my crabs? I imagined every scenario and especially the one about them feasting on meal I was supposed to share with my family. I interrupted the busy gate attendant to report that my package was missing. I would return later for motel information after I found my package.

I remembered boarding the train with them (or so I thought), but that was the last time I remembered having them in my possession. I began to backtrack my steps, even returning to the train and riding back to the other terminal. But wait! Wasn’t I just talking to somebody on the train about how excited my daughter was going to be about this box of Dungeness crabs? No, I was certain I had them when I left the train at terminal B. I had just gone up two escalators with them, but where were they now? I headed back to terminal B where I asked several people who (by their uniforms) looked as though they might work there in the terminal about reporting my lost package.

At this moment I became aware that I was distraught about this package and that I needed to calm myself and let it go. I began to resign myself to the notion that I would probably never see that box of crabs again and instead refocus on the important priority of where I was going to sleep tonight.

In one final effort, I approached someone in airport security and was directed where I could go to file a claim for a lost parcel. Once I completed the claim, I headed back to the gate attendant who would book me in a motel for the night. By this time it was well past midnight. I caught the shuttle to my ½ star motel where I stood in a line with other displaced passengers that extended out of the lobby and into the parking lot.

It was after 1 a.m. when it was my turn to check in. The phone rang and the desk clerk repeated my name to the person on the other end. Nobody knows where I am and yet the person on the other end of the phone does? I haven’t even told my family which motel. Anybody who knows me would have called my cell phone. The desk clerk hands the phone to me. “Hello?” I timidly ask, wondering who on Earth this male voice is on the other end. “Ms. Baker, did you leave a package at the airport?”

“Yes, I did!” I excitedly replied.

“I have it here.” He replied. “Can you come get it?”

“I have no way there, but I will be back at the airport tomorrow morning. Could you keep it there for me until tomorrow and let me pick it up then?” I inquired.

“I’m bringing it to you. Wait right there in the lobby for me.” He replied.

So I hung up the phone with renewed faith in mankind because this wonderful person was going out of his way to help a total stranger.

Shortly thereafter, a black police car pulls up in front of the entrance. A uniformed office from the Atlanta Police Department steps into the lobby with my very frazzled-looking box of crabs under his arm. The tape has been ripped off and the outer paper torn. That didn’t matter at this point. The contents were much more important than the box.

Frazzled package

“Thank you so much! I’m probably not supposed to do this.” I said as I wrapped my arms around him and gave this wonderful police officer a hug of gratitude. “You have been an angel and an answered prayer this evening. I will be forever grateful.”

He explained that the box looked a little rough because the tape had to be removed (the second time now on a single journey) and the dogs were sniffing it.

“Oh my goodness!” I exclaimed. “You called out the K-9s to sniff my package!” It hadn’t occurred to me until that moment that my lost package was handled as a security threat. I was getting an intense mental image I can attribute to watching too many crime shows on TV.

“I am so sorry for all the drama, but I want to thank you so much for what you’ve done and apologize for the extra work I caused.” I said. I went on to ask his name so I could remember his kindness.

“Moseley.” He said.

“Thank you Officer Moseley.” I said. “You were an answered prayer tonight.” As he turned to leave, waving his hand as he exited, the word “Wow” popped in my mind. Once again I began to play out the mental scenario of that discovery of my unattended package.

The next morning, I was back at the airport with my box of crabs safely in tow (this time like a mother who had allowed her child out of her range of sight for a moment and gone into a panic as a result).

It was a hassle-free check in and the severe thunderstorms that had created such chaos of cancelled and delayed flights the evening prior had finally passed.

As I approached my departure gate, I saw two airport security guards standing to the side. I stopped to ask about airport procedure when an unattended package is found, quickly explaining my lost box of crabs the previous evening.

Just then a lady in airport security uniform walked up, looked down at my package and then at me. “So you’re the one that box belonged to.” She said. “My gate attendant got the report of an unattended package and notified me. We immediately called the APD (Atlanta Police Department) who came with the K-9 unit. It is airport procedure.” What are the chances in an airport the size of Atlanta, that our paths would cross? Welcome to my reality!

I quickly apologized, then thanked her, explaining that these 4 incredible Dungeness crabs were the souvenirs I was bringing home from Pike Place Market. I hadn’t meant to cause such chaos, but in my distraught state, I hadn’t realized I left them while rushing to catch a departing flight. My story had now come full circle. I asked that she relay to the gate attendant the details of the person and situation behind that package.

In my own chaos, I had managed to cause still more with my unattended package. And so the Great Dungeness Crab Caper ends on a positive note with photos that speak 1,000 words. I have gotten a good many belly laughs when recanting this story to my son and daughter. They say it epitomizes the lived experience of my life and what it is like having me for their mother. I say it portrays both drama and humor along the journey of my life. So, to Ryan at Pike Place Fish Market, if you read this: ‘Ms. Lexington’ wants you to know if I had shipped that package, I would have missed this story. I say the story made a better memory and the evidence of the happy ending is the very best part! (Did I happen to mention that my baggage went to Louisville instead of Lexington? Oh well, just icing on the cake!)

Happy endingsIf you enjoyed this story, you might enjoy these other humorous stories:   The Tale of Three Drivers

OR  The Story of the Dueling Wheelchairs

AND  The Nurse, Evening Shift & The Parking Lot Mishap
Pam Baker, RN
PamBakerRN.com
notmywil@gmail.com


Posted in STORIES by with no comments yet.