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The End

I figured I would come here one last time. This semester has been really tough but its over now. I had my pinning ceremony the other day. My graduation is Thursday night. I am no longer a Respiratory Therapy Student. I have 2 jobs lined up so I might not be writing a lot this summer. I am studying now for my CRT exam which should be in a week or so. My new blog will be at http://rt-blog.com (don't go there yet cause I haven't started it yet).

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WOW-almost done

I know I haven't posted in a really long while. You wouldn't believe how busy I have been. In less than a month I will no longer be an RT student. I took my Pediatric Advanced Life Support class today. I am now PALS certified. Some of the other things I have been up to to get prepared. I had to do 25 clinical simulations on a computer in the computer lab. I did them.. I had to do a community service project. I went to the local high school and talked to the health occupations class about Respiratory Therapy. I had to write a case study on a neonatal patient. I am almost done with that. I have Kettering which is a 4-day board prep class this weekend. I also have my final checkoff at the hospital with my instructor tomorrow.

I have my PRN job at the hospital I love. I'll remain there when I graduate and pass the boards. I also applied to another hospital PRN. I hope I get it cause I love the people there and will miss them when I graduate.

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My complaints

I'm gonna come here to complain about work because I'm not gonna do it at work. I love the hospital I work at and for the most part like the Respiratory department I work in. There are a few people that are tarnishing that for me. These people find it necessary to complain and talk ab out people. I try to find good qualities in people. They like to talk bad about people when they aren't around. Actually, it's mainly one person who apparently feels like they are the best RT there and like to trash others. It's really starting to annoy me. Then, theres another who is also complaning a lot. This is mainly about the doctors and the way they write orders. This is going to be a really long year as I bide my time between graduation and my last house payment. I am so moving to a bigger city and a bigger hospital when that day comes in 2010. It's starting to look like I may want to work at Duke to work with CFers.

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Great Strides Kickoff tonight

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*Let me preface this post by saying that I hate my camera and plan to replace it soon* You'll see by the pictures

Deanna Wilson from CFF with the House Family

The House family (from left to right) Morgan, John Michael, Sherry, Christopher, Christian, Todd, and Me

Tonight I went to the local kickoff event for the Great Strides walk. I have really gotten caught up with this great organization and a lot of the bloggers dealing with CF, but this is the first time I actually met someone living with the disease. I met The House family and Christian who has CF. They started the Great Strides walk in Fayetteville last year, Go check out their Caring Bridge site to see how Christian is doing.

I look forward to get to know all of these brave people in this area as the walk gets closer. Don't forget to check out my team page to see how you can help.

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21 hours or my day at clinicals

Last night (or early this morning) I sat in my car and updated my Twitteer/Facebook status from my Peek in the hospital parking lot. After an update like that I figured I should come here and tell you about the day I had. I did get home over 21 hours after I left but I didn't spend that whole time at the hospital. I did get a break.

I got to the hospital at about 6:30 AM for clinicals. I paired up with the RT who was assigned the ICU and we got report from the night shift therapist who was getting off. Before we could get to the unit, a rapid response was called. We rushed to the room where it was and saw a crowd of people. The patient was gasping for air with gurgling sounds and SpO2 ("SATS") in the 70's and 80's. The RT handed me a Non-Rebreathing mask and told me to get in there. The patient was on isolation but I had no time for the gown. I quickly donned the mask and gloves and began to weave my way through the nurses that were in there. I hooked up the NRB and replaced his Nasal Cannula with it. Another therapist opened up an NTS kit and thrust the sterilepackage at me to put on the gloves. I did and lubed up the catheter. The nurses held the patient's head becaause he knew what was imminent and began to thrash his head about. I suctioned him out 2 or 3 times and his Sats came up. We then got out of the room and moved him to the ICU.

The rest of the day was uneventful and filled with ventilator monitoring and breathing treatments. I did get to NTS this patient again and another patient once (that's 3 times total for the day). The evening shift came in and we gave report about 3:30. I had to be at work at 7:00 and didn't feel like going home between. I live about 12 miles away so I probably could've gone and taken a nap but I didn't.

I just hung around town. I walked around Wal-Mart, and Office Depot. I bought a mouse for my laptop. I love this mouse in case you were interested. I ate dinner at Zaxby's. Visited my grandmother before she ate dinner then went back to the hospital. The rest of the night was unexciting because as a student I can basically just take a patient list and give breathing treatments. Then I got off at 3 AM.

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Checkoffs this semester

As you guys know I am in my last semester of RT school. What this semester entails is one class a week and many hours of clinicals. During clinicals we have 220 adult checkoffs (130 general care and 90 critical care) and 20 neonatal checkoffs. I have now completed 219 of the adult checkoffs. I need to do spontaneous pulmonary mechanics one more time. That is when you use a couple of hand held meters to decide when a patient is ready to be extubated and come off of mechanical ventilation. I was so close to that final checkoff on Thursday too. It's frustrating to be that close.

I also need 5 neonatal checkoffs too. I have to try and get back to the NICU for those.

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The Vest...I have a question for my readers

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In school when we went over airway clearance we learned about the vest. I didn't think much about it until I started talking to all of you, my new friends, living with Cystic Fibrosis. Now I know that the vest has cut mortality rates in half, I also know that it costs over $15,000. Now I have some questions. Do you have one? Is it easy to get and get covered by insurance, medicaid, or whatever you use? Do you know of kids with cf in families that cannot afford one? Is the company that makes it receptive to this and willing to help you get one, even if you can't afford it? I don't mean to pry but I have plans and ideas and the answers to these questions will help me. Please leave a comment or if you'd rather it remain private please email me at marcus.williford(at)gmail(dot)com. Thank you.

Oh, before I go I wanted to tell you guys about a new blog I found. Her name is Salty (I'm sure thats not her real name) and she seems to be living with CF and diabetes. Her blog is Salty and Sweet. She's a hottie too(sorry,I just had to throw that in there. I am a guy after all). Here is what she says in the "about me" section

"Other Cystic Fibrosis warriors must be out there. I believe we must band together, share with each other, and fight these horrendous diseases together. Knowledge is power. The more we know the stronger, and healthier, we each will be.

I have dedicated many hours of my life reaching out to help my doctors find a cure and new treatments for Cystic Fibrosis. Now I want reach out and connect with others who have CF, those who have CFRD, friends, family and anyone else who knows what it is like to live with health issues, and those wonderful people who support them."

Let's get to know her too.

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A Great Strides Idea

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I was at clinicals this weekend and someone was selling raffle tickets for their Relay for Life team. That got me thinking. I should have thought of it before because wedo raffles all the time at school. I want to raffle something for my Great Strides team. I set a personal goal of 500 bucks and am at 180 now. I haven't donated any personally yet but I will. I figured I would donatelast when I got closer to the goal. That leaves me at something like 380 left to raise.

I don't what to raffle. I thought about a blu-ray player. Those are about 200 bucks so I would need to sell about 300-400 tickets to make a substantial donation.Thats a lot of selling and I just don'tknow if I am up th it. The lady for Relay for Life was raffling a gas card. Those are always good. I could get a 50 dollar one. Then I would only need to sell 100-200 tickets to make a good donation.

What do you think. I know I have a lot of awesome readers who have a lot more experience raising money for Great Strides than I do. Please chime in with comments on what to raffle. Thanks.

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A Source of Inspiration Blog Carnival

A while back I submitted a post to a Respiratory Blog Carnival that a fellow RT student is hosting. It's called a Source of Inspiration and it's up now. Go check it out. I would post a longer entry telling you about it but it's 3:20 AM and I'm up for Clinicals. Actually, I'm barely up. Go check it out and tell them I said hello.

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Just hanging out

I was sitting here alternating between studying and surfing the internet. I've gotten to the point where my time spent here is alternating between facebook and twitter. I decided I'd tell you about my new little buddy. It's my Acer Aspire One and my friend the domestic diva first introduced me to it. After reading about her experiences I decided I wanted one. It's got a built in webcam and I used it to take this picture. I may start video blogging too.

This is me on my couch. Anyway, back to the AAO. It's a little computer with Windows XP and a 160 GB hard drive. It's perfect for what I need. Plus, I graduate in May and plan to do some traveling so this will be perfect for travel blogging. The keyboard is small and sometimes I mean to hit the space bar and don't actually get a space. That's my only drawback. Look for videos too. I also shouldbe shutting this blog down in a few months to start 2 new ones. One about me and my life (personal blog) and one about my work life. I already have a domain name for the second one.

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Great News

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Well, you guys know that I am a Respiratory Therapy student who has recently developed a passion for doing my part to raise awareness for cystic fibrosis. Since I've started this blog I've met other RT students throughout the country. My buddy the Trauma Junkie wrote me today and said that he decided to sign up for his local Great Strides walk in Texas.

"Hey, just found out there is a Great Strides walk here in April. Will be going..inspired by your efforts."

I am so excited to have inspired someone to get involved with a cause that has come to mean so much to me. Go visit his blog, My RT Life, and tell him how proud you are too.

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Well, I'm up at 5 am for clinicals today and I'm just killing a little time before I leave. I thought I would share something about me. I think I am opposite from all RT students. You see, with the normal student General care is something to be tolerated until you get to critical care. Everyone wants to get to the ICU to take care of the ventilator patients. Not me though.

I love general care. I love getting to know a patient, even for the brief time I am in their room. Now, I do hate having 10-12 patients on a list for one hours round. Then I have to shovel out the meds. You know the drill. Introduce self, slap pulse ox on finger, listen to breath sounds, put meds in nebulizer and slap the mask on their face, only to move on to the next patient. Even then I try to talk to them while I am doing this. You can learn a lot about a person in 2 minutes.

I'm still a student so I am by no means an expert. Just enjoy your time in General Care with your patients. There will plenty of Critical Care clinicals to go around. Now I am heading out to a hospital that MAY have one ventilatr patient (but probably will not).

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My First Post

Ok, not my first post but this is my first one on my new computer. It's a netbook called the Acer Aspire one.It's very tine and portable.I am getting used to the keyboard which is a little smaller. I definitely love it. It's got a gig of RAM which I may upgrade a little later. It also has a 160 gb hard drive. I'm in the process of doing all of the updates and stuff. I'm switching all of my files over. It doesn't have a cd drive so I've installed open office instead of microsoft office. I do think I'm gonna love this little netbook

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They changed the date of my Great Strides walk to June 27th. I'll still be able to do the walk. I am so excited. Next Monday night the 16th there's a Meet and Greet so I'll get to meet some others who are walking.

Unfortunately it looks like my team will only have 3 members because thats all that has signed up. Thats ok though, because this is my first year. I will also be walking at another event in NC with a friend I met on here. I may start fundraising with her after my walk is over in June. I'll take pics of the meet and greet next week. I am so excited.

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NICU week 2

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Well, I just got home from day 3 (of 4) in the NICU. It further solidified my beliefs that that is where I want to work. I just wish that the one we do our clinicals is at were a little closer. It's about an hour and a half drive from here.

The day started ok. I got there and found out that the night shift had a patient airlifted to a bigger hospital. One of the therapists had to go with them. We also had a patient on the ventilator. Remember, last week we had no vent babies so I was kind of excited to go see. I got to actually suction out the ET tube which is more difficult than you'd imagine with the isolette, circuit, and cables all in the way.

After lunch we got called to the delivery room for a 36 week meconium baby. When we arrived the patient was intubated and the umbilical cord was really green. They said he had been swimming in the meconium for a while it seemed. We got the baby down to the unit and the NNP and doctor struggled to place a umbilical artery catheter and umbilical venous catheter. It looked like I was going to give surfactant (which is like the holy grail for RT students in the NICU here. It's so very rarely done). The chest x-ray came back and there was a pneumothorax. The doctor was preparing to place a chest tube when I left. It's looking like the baby will be on the oscillator (wait til you learn about that one) in the morning. Maybe I'll get to give surfactant then. I'm really feeling like there's no doubt the NICU is where I belong.

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Enlightenment Tag

My friend Katey over at My CF Journey with God tagged me with the Enlightenment Tag. It's basically a post that I have to tell you ten things about me. Now I just have to figure out 10 things.

1.) I love animals but am more of a cat person than a dog person. I know thats rare but I feel cats have more personality and are easier pets to take care of.

2.) Can be very political with views that are very liberal.

3.) As Katey said and as I commented in her post, I don't eat vegetables. I do like corn, potatoes, lima beans, and sweet peas.

4.) I love sports but mainly football and basketball. My favorite teams are the Carolina Panthers and UNC Tarheels

5.) I've been laid off from 2 jobs that I thought were careers I would retire from. That is why I'm going to Respiratory Therapy school. For the job security

6.) Since 10th grade I've wanted to be a writer. That is probably why I maintain a blog and have already started making preparations for closing this one and starting a new one (On May 20 I will no longer be a RT student :)

7.) I love to travel and love Austin, Texas. It's my favorite city. I am going to Pittsburgh for the first time.

8.) I'm sorry Katey, I can only think of 7 things. I will post a picture for # 8 since I don't know if a lot of you know what I look like. This is me about to leave for clinicals one morning.

I will tag 2 people like she did. Carolyn over at A Thousand Pictures and Cindy at Cure CF for Reilly.

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I'm praying for Tuesday

I just read the saddest story at a blog that is new to me. Go read the story and pray for little Tuesday and her family.

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NICU day 2

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Well, I made it through day 2 of 4 in the NICU. I go back next Wednesday and Thursday. Today we had more twins and I even got to set up a baby on a Nasal CPAP. It actually looked a lot like this.

I then got home to find this nice comment "I'm a CF Mom and I got your blog from some of my CF friends out in blog land. I think it's great that you are getting to know new families and that you are getting the word out about CF. Good luck in school. If you have time stop by and check out our family. Melissa is 19 months old and has CF. She is doing really well. Her lungs are clear at this time. She never had to spend any extra time in the hostpial when she was born. She is only on enzymes and vitimens at this time."

Of course I had to go check out The Liberto Blog. I added them to blogs I follow but if you haven't met them, you definitely need to go meet Melissa. She's one of the cutest little girls I've ever met. I look forward to getting to know them and I'm sure you will too.

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NICU day 1

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I usually don't come here after a really long day but today was different. So many of my readers have spent time in NICU's I thought I would check in. First off I must tell you that this unit was huge. It has about 40 rooms.

The day started slow. We had no patients on ventilators and only 2 on nasal CPAP. We went and did the CPAP settings check and entered our stuff in the computer. It was pretty slow. Most of the kids were on a Nasal Cannula so it was no big deal. We had a patient going to the OR to get a bowel resection. Not real sure what that is but me and one of the RT's went to the OR hoping to see something cool. With such a tiny baby the doc, surgical tech, nurse anaeshetist, and anesthesiologist were crowded around so I couldn't see anything. We were there about an hour and a half.

When we returned to the unit the nurse told us that the other RT had gone to a delivery. Twins at 28 weeks. It was about to get exciting. They came in and as is usually the norm the first twin (twin A) was in better shape than twin B. We had ventilators on stand by and a nasal CPAP in each room. I think they weighed about 1200 grams each. We got twin A settled first and focused on B. It (I hate referring to the babies as "it" but I don't want to give away any more personal information because of HIPAA) was grunting and had very noticeable retractions. The baby was in respiratory distress. We got it on a CPAP but the grunting was still present. They decided to give the baby surfactant. That is where you push this liquid straight into the baby's lungs. It helps decrease the surface tension of the alveoli in the lungs so they will not collapse when the baby exhales. The RT intubated the baby and instilled the surfactant. It was an amazing experience to see that.

The rest of the day was relatively quiet. We just basically kept an eye on the babies from then on out. I was a little nervous at first because the babies are so tiny. I had never seen anything like it. You definitely get a satisfied feeling when the babies condition improves. I think this might be somewhere I'd like to work. I still have 3 more clinical days so that opinion could change. I'll definitely tell you more about it.

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NICU tomorrow

I just looked at the schedule and I have my NICU rotation tomorrow. In case you don't know, that is the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. It is where the premies go. I've dealt with kids before but this is a whole different story. I will let you know on twitter how it went on my way home tomorrow. Wish me luck.

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My Update...sort of

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Last week was an amazing week here at the blog. I had a snow day and a lot of free time to meet people. I met some awesome people who are dealing with lung diseases. Unfortunately I am back in school, clinicals full time and don't have the time to blog like I did last week. I will keep an eye on the blogs I have discovered and keep you updated on my Great Strides progress (55 bucks so far..woohoo!!!). Go visit my friends and have fun getting to know them

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Another new friend

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Thursday I had a crazy day at clinicals. I didn't get to eat breakfast or lunch. I did get to see a couple of procedures that I had never seem before. I saw a transesophageal echo which was neat. You could actually see the heart. I also saw a bronchoalveolar lavage done without a bronchoscope. It was done to clean out the lungs of a patient who had aspirated grits. I'm getting off the subject though.

When I got home I had an email from Carolyn, the mom blogger of A Thousand Pictures. "
Thanks for all you are doing for cf!!". Naturally I went to check out her blog. She is the mom of 3 who lives in Austin, Texas (I'm jealous) and is going to nursing school. Her 2 oldest boys, Kyler and Branson, have CF but from the pictures on the blog, it doesn't slow them down. I saw pictures of them doing all kinds of stuff like roller skating. I posted this one because they are at a UT baseball game. I'm definitely jealous because I love sports and would love to go to a UT game myself.

Go on over to A Thousand Pictures and check out her blog. Don't forget that you can do your part to help find a cure for CF by donating to the Great Strides walk.

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CF adults


Ok, so the past week I've been telling you about these amazing kids growing up with CF. The last couple of days though I have gotten to meet some adults who have cystic fibrosis. These guys were blessed with the chance at life by receiving lung transplants. I've said it before but I believe organ donation should be an opt out system instead of an opt in system. Go check out my new friends Christy, at Color Me Healthy, Katey at Katey at My CF Journey with God, and Steven at Breathin Steven (kind of catchy). I will warn you though, when you read Steven's story about Kari, the girl whose lungs he received, have some kleenex handy. It'll bring up a few tears. Oh, and Katey also has a post that I think is very special. Go see for yourself :)

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Heart Broken


I just looked at my schedule yesterday and just discovered I will not be able to do the Great Strides walk this year. We have a 4 day class to prepare us for the certification exams upon graduation. I will be in class when the local Great Strides walk is going on. The kicker is that the class is at the same school the walk is being held. Thats ok though. It's not gonna stop my fundraising and efforts to reach the goal I have set. That is the most important thing anyway, getting money to the CF Foundation for research.

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The coolest kid with the coolest name

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Once again I have gotten a comment from another mom dealing with CF. This time I heard from Angela in Kansas who has a 9 month old named Phoenix (coolest name ever). I'm gonna warn you though, when you click on the link you'll immediately fall in love with the cutest little boy you've ever seen. The blog is called Phoenix's Fight and it's about their fight with CF.
Their blog is an awesome place with lots of videos and even Phoenix's Quilt of Love (go see what that is)

"Phoenix was born April 30, 2008 in
Topeka, KS at Stormontvail Hospital. Two days later he had surgery for a mecinium ileus at Children's Mercy Hospital in
Kansas City, Mo. The surgeons told us it was greater that 95% Phoenix had
Cystic Fibrosis. Two weeks later his tests came back positive for CF. Phoenix is a double carrier of DF508. (For more information on CF please visit http://www.cff.org/)
Together with family and friends Phoenix has started the fight of his life.
This is his story!"

I know you want to help with this horrible disease. Go here to see how you can help and win a nice camera.
Also, go check out my Great Strides page and donate a little.

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The lovely blog

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The other day I told you about how my new friend Julie (Seamus's mom from Mugga Bugga) had given me a lovely blog award. I am to send it to my new blog friends, and they are to pass it along to their new blog friends. It should go to those who step outside their comfort zone, and make new bloggy friends. I'm pretty sure most of my new friends have gotten it already but I will pass it on.

Katey from My CF Journey with God In an email she told me " I have a huge passion for CF and doing everything I can for other CF patients and families!". She also has CF and received a LIVING DONOR Double lung transplant from her mom and a family friend. She was given a second chance at life and is doing great things to help others. I really am in awe.

I think everyone that I have met and been writing about this last week. You guys deal with this horrible disease on a daily basis. I will see this from the perspective of a caregiver in the hospital, but you are the heroes.

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Guess who I got a comment from

The other day I got a comment from a lady named Julie. As you know by now I am talking about Cystic Fibrosis and the brave people who deal with it on a daily basis. Julie is the mom of an awesome little boy named Seamus (who apparently is a spider-man fan like me). You can read about them at her blog mugga bugga. (not sure what that means) She said "Thanks for getting the word out about CF. There's a very tight knit community of CF bloggers but it's nice when "outsiders" also are interested."

I was reading this blog a little and Seamus seems like a cool little dude. I especially like the post Ladies man where "Seamus is so cute and charming that all the girls at pre-school keep kissing him. They fight over who can get his coat for him when they go out to the playground.". Isn't that awesome? Now go on over and check out ther blog, and tell them I sent you. If you feel like doing good

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Do you use Vicks VapoRub with your kids

I've recently gotten a bunch of new readers with kids so when I saw this I thought of you. It's an article in RT Magazine saying that Vicks VapoRub is harmful to infants and Toddlers.

Read it here

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clinical papers

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One of the harder things about the clinicals is the paperwork we have to do each day.
We have to find a patient who's on a ventilator and do a bunch of paperwork on them.
It's actually only 2 papers, front and back. I thought I'd share them with you here.

This is the front page where we do the vent check, get an ABG, Chest X-ray, lab work, and patient assessment.

This is the back page. We have to calculate ideal body weight, anion gap, and a bunch of other formulas. You can see that in the above image.

And here is why the formulas are hard. Because we have to not use calculators and we have to show our math. It's crazy but definitely helpful.

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Exciting News


I got an email from Julie over at one of my new favorite blogs, Mugga Bugga, sent me an email today. She told me about an award she had given me. It is the Lovely Blog Award.

"I send it to:
Marcus at RT Student Blog who doesn't have CF or have a family member with CF but has quickly become a friend to many in the CF community. He is getting the word out and raising money for us all."

This is a very nice thing that she has done. I feel honored to get to know her and the other brave mommy bloggers who are dealing with CF. keep coming back here every morning to read about them, their brave kids, and their awesome blogs.

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My hero today


I won't bore you with the introduction today because by now, you know what these posts are about. They are about the people out there who are dealing with cystic fibrosis and who are blogging about their experiences. I've only recently gotten behind this when I discovered the Great Strides walk and decided to put together a team.

Today I am going to tell you about one of the cutest, bravest little girls out there. Her name is Sydney Anne, she is 5 years old and was diagnosed after her first birthday. Like most of the kids with this terrible disease, she doesn't let the disease slow her down. You can tell this by the pictures and video's her mom has posted.

So, as I tell you after every post, you should go check out her blog. Once you get to know these awesome kids dealing with this disease, like me you'll start thinking of ways you can help. Tell them I said hello.

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Easily amused

I know I've been talking about CF the last few days. When I get onto something I get excited about it. I don't know if you've noticed but I finally have a follower on the blog. For the longest time I've had 0 followers. I almost went over there and followed my own blog. I didn't. One of my new friends has become a follower of this blog. It's such a small thing but it's huge to me. Thank you to my follower. Come back in a few days. I'm doing my CF hero posts where theres a new one each day.

Now, If I could just get some subscribers to the feed through feedburner. That big goose egg in the little window is kind of depressing. Maybe I'll go subscribe there. :)

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My Hero of the Day


The last couple of days I have jumped on the CF bandwagon with my enthusiasm for the Great Strides walk that I have signed up for. BTW I now have 2 confirmed team members (besides myself) and my first donations. Another thing I have is new friends who are dealing with cystic fibrosis on a regular basis. They are familiar with things like "The Vest" , "Chest Percussion Therapy", and nebulizer treatments. Things that I only became familiar with as I progressed in Respiratory Therapy school.

Because of this stuff I have started meeting these brave cf parents and decided to start profiling them here. My few (very few) readers can get to know them. This should help since most of my readers are RT's or fellow RT students. We are the people who will be taking care of them when they come to the hospitals.

Today I got a comment from the mom of Lil' Chris. She's also about to become a mom again (like within the next week or 2) so she's dealing with a lot. Chris is a one year old who doesn't let CF slow him one bit. You have to go check out the awesome videos she posts over there. Don't forget to tell her I said hello.

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Another CF Hero


Yesterday you followed me as I met a family dealing with the horrible disease Cystic Fibrosis and my decision to participate in the Great Strides CF walk. As a future Respiratory Therapist, it is a disease I will become very familiar with I'm sure. I woke today to find an email from someone else dealing with CF (after looking outside and taking pictures of the snow, that is). Her name is Cindy and her daughter Reilly has CF.

"My daughter, Reilly is 5 years old and has Cystic Fibrosis. Right now, her health is good, but every day I pray that today won't be the day that her health takes a turn for the worst. In September 2008, we completed our first annual Great Strides walk in Elizabeth City. I am happy to say that our event was a success. We raised over $33,000 for research and future drug development. I feel confident, that one day we can make CF stand for CURE FOUND!"

They are also from NC and as you can tell from their post above, are familiar with the Great Strides walk. Now I don't know that I will be able to raise $33,000 for the CF Foundation this year but with your help I'm sure gonna try. Go on over and check out her blog Cure CF For Reilly and tell them I said hello.

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First month's giveaway for CF awareness

As I told you a little while ago (actually earlier today) I started a team for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's walk in April. I was inspired by the Schellenberg's blog. Anyway, the blog's author Leslie commented here and wanted me to tell me about the blog. It's a family blog, so it's not solely dedicated to their daughter Ashley. You can go here to read about Ashley's story as she is growing up with CF.

Now let's get down to business. Over the next couple of month's I will be asking for donations to this worthy cause and will even be giving you incentives to do so. Today I am giving away a mini digital video camera. It's the DXG model 305V and it has 3.o megapixels. I don't know much else about it but you can go here to read reviews of it and go here to download the owners manual (save that link in case you win). Unfortunately I don't have any of the software with it but I will enclose a 1 GB SD card, 4 AAA rechargeable batteries with a charger, and the USB cable for attaching it to the computer. Now, here is what you have to do to win.

1.) Go here and click on the donate button at the bottom of the page. You'll get one entry for every dollar you donate. 5 dollars get you 5 entries. 100 dollars get you 100 entries. You get the picture. The more you give, the better your chance of winning.

2.) After you donate, post a link back to this post on your blog, facebook status, or twitter (on twitter you must go @mwilliford). Don't forget to come here and post a link back to your blog or twitter page. Each one will get you another entry into the contest for every 1 entry from step 1. So, donate 100 bucks and update twitter will= 200 entries. How sweet is that! Good luck.

This contest will run from now until february 20. The next one will be february 21-March 21, and the last one will be March 22-April 24. Keep up because the next prizes will be better, I promise you.

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Help Me Raise Money for a great cause

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The other day i was searching the net and found a blog about a family in Illinois. They have a brave little girl named Ashley who has Cystic Fibrosis. I don't know how much you know about CF but it is a horrible disease in the COPD group of diseases. As a soon to be Respiratory Therapist, this disease is something I am becoming familiar with. Anyway, The Schellenbergs blog got me to thinking. First, go check out the blog, then come on back. I'll wait...

...Ok, you're back. I'll move on.

As part of my last semester I have to do some kind of community project. From reading their blog and others devoted to people living with CF, I decided to start a team to do the CF walk. The closest one to me is in Fayetteville on April 25th. I signed up for a team and sent out some invitations to prospective team members. I even set lofty fund raising goals of $1,500 for the team and $500 for myself. Now we can get down to business.

You know I'm gonna hit you up. If you are in the central NC area and would like to participate and join my team, then that's great. I doubt there are too many of you because I don't think I have a great amount of local readers. You can donate though. Any donation is greatly appreciated. Even a buck. At the bottom I'll place a link to my page where you can donate with a credit card. If you would prefer donating with Paypal then just leave me a comment or email me and I will help you do that.

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What a day at clinicals

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I had a clinical day that would make my buddy TJ proud. He's the trauma junkie but I don't know if I am yet. I was assigned to the Emergency Department for the day. The day started basically quiet ( a word you never say in an ED) with a few ABG's and neb treatments. Then around 9:45 we got the call for an ABG in room 57. When we arrived we found the doctor, NA, and several RN's in the room. I'm not sure wheat they were doing at the moment. Then someone from inside said that we were gonna intubate the patient. We got prepared and moved the patient to the trauma bay. I bagged the patient during this trip.

The doc said to get the intubation and glidoscope ready. We got everything prepared. One of the new RT's who still needed intubation checkoffs got set up to perform the intubation. She got the tube in with no problem and I grabbed the end tidal CO2 detector. As someone bagged to check for CO2, stomach acid came bubbling up the ET tube. This was something I had never seen. The tube was quickly removed. A physicians assistant who was there quickly jumped in with the glidoscope and attempted the intubation. The rest of us watched on the monitor. The patients tongue was large and the vocal cords were not seen. The doctor took over and successfully intubated the patient. We took the patient back from the trauma bay to his room. End of story, right? Wrong.

I was standing outside of the patients room when my preceptor came out of the room and told me to hurry back in. I looked in and saw a nurse was doing chest compressions. Apparently the patient coded and had no pulse. The doctor was quickly into code mode and started ordering drugs (mainly epinephrine, the drug of choice for Code Blue situations) and I took over the chest compressions. In the code situation the RT usually handles the ambu bag and chest compressions and I got to do plenty of both. After about 15 minutes the patient got stabilized.

We got set up to get an ABG before the patient was to go to the Cardiac Cath lab. We were all having a hard time finding a pulse. We decided to wait and get the blood from the cath lab once they had him. We went with him there and were prepared to hang out and wait for a vial of blood. Once he was on the table the doctor checked for a pulse and found none. He said to call a code and I started compressions. For some reason they were more tiring this time and we rotated out every 2 or 3 minutes. This went on for what seemed like forever but was probably only 10 or 15 minutes. We finally got him stabilized and tried to get an ABG again. Several people tried to no avail and the doctor stepped up and got the blood. We ran it and found a pH of 6.89.

They got him a bed in the CSICU unit. We rushed him for a CT scan and got him settled in his room. That was the last I heard of this patient. So, with one patient I got to bag, do chest compressions, attempt an ABG, and set up a ventilator. What an exciting day. I may just be a trauma junkie after all.

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Conference next month

I just signed up for the 23rd Annual High Country Conference on Respiratory Care. I'm not sure about the specifics but I know it's held every February in Boone, NC (one of the most awesome towns in North Carolina). Another thing we do at this is called the gladiator competition. We'll pretty much compete against other schools in the state in a skills competition. Unfortunately it is usually won by the local school, Catawba Valley. I think they have an inside track because they host it and probably see the actual layout of the place before the rest of us. Some have said it might be rigged but I'll have to wait until I get there before I know for sure. Unlike at the last conference, I'll more than likely get my own room. Can't sleep on the floor again this time in a room with 6 people.

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Back to School

Today is the day I go back to school. Some of my RT student blogging friends have already gone back, and some don't go back yet, but some of us are today. Good luck to everyone, regardless of when you go back. This is the beginning of my last semester so I am excited. The letter said we'd be there from 8-5 today and I am not excited about that. I do have my Peek with me if anyone wants to email (or comment) with good luck wishes...LOL

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Got my Peek today


This is my peek in the box

Here is the Peek
Here is the Peek in use

I've been talking about the Peek for the last couple of days. If you remember, I bought one on amazon with my spare change. Well, it arrived today and as promised, it was up and running in no time. I got the Aqua blue one and it wasn't my first choice but the price was right. All I had to do was put the battery in and turn it on. It came up with a message for me to enter my email address and password. I then received an email with my PIN. I just went to the website and put in my credit card and that was it. In no time I was receiving emails. I even emailed in my twitter/facebook updates with it. Now for the complaints

1) The emails come in about 5 minutes after they actually come to my email account. This is only noticeable when I'm sitting here comparing. When I rely on the Peek at work I won't know that they are 5 minutes behind.

2) The contacts won't let me type in the first letter of a name to jump to that section. I have to scroll all the way down. Now, in the "To" field in new emails I can type in the first letter of the email address (not the name) and it will bring them up.

We'll see if my enjoyment with the Peek continues. So far it seems like it's gonna be great.

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Almost time

Well, I've made a few changes here. As you can tell, I've changed the theme and gotten rid of my custom header. I think this looks more professional. I may abandon this altogether and go back to my own domain this summer. Also, my break is almost over. It's been great. I've been out of school for almost a month. Now, here is what I know about the upcoming semester.

1) I'll have to do some sort of community project. Not sure what that'll be but you'll hear about it here.
2) I'll have one day of class where we'll have a worksheet or quiz/test every week. This is to prepare us for the CRT and RRT exams.
3) I'll be taking PALS (Pediatric Advanced Life Support) class for certification this semester.
4) I'll be taking the Kettering seminar in April to prepare for the exams.
5) The final checkoff will be a one on one day with the program director to watch me do all of the procedures we do.

Thats what I know. There are a lot of things I don't know but we'll worry about that later. Good luck in your semesters.

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A new blog carnival for RT students

My buddy the trauma junkie (I know you've heard of him) way down there in Texas has come up with an awesome idea. He is starting a blog carnival on his blog. It's called "A Source of Inspiration". It is a great idea. You know that I've been blogging for a little while and have even hosted carnivals in the past as a way to gain readers and discover other blogs that you may not have read in the past. That being said, I'm just gonna copy and paste the particulars and rules for submissions and such.

Here are the basic guidelines:

  • A Source of Inspiration does not intend to compete with Grand Rounds or Change of Shift, thus:
  • If you submit a post to an upcoming issue of Grand Rounds or Change of Shift, please submit a different post to A Source of Inspiration. If you really want your post included in A Source of Inspiration but have already sent it to Grand Rounds or Change of Shift for inclusion, I can include it in A Source of Inspiration, but only after that issue of CoS or Grand Rounds has been posted.
  • Anyone is free to contribute to A Source of Inspiration:
  • --Respiratory Therapists: You're out there in the blogosphere already. Send your latest post.
  • --Doctors: What are your experiences with respiratory therapists at work? What are your experiences taking care of patients with asthma, COPD, bronchitis, pneumonia, CHF, etc.? Also, feel free to share your latest news and research related to respiratory diseases or DME (durable medical equipment) for respiratory home care patients. Medicare/Medicaid, whatever. As long as it is related to respiratory care.
  • --Nurses: You see all kinds of patients, and COPD is the fourth leading killer of people in the United States. Share your experience with taking care of these patients. Maybe one has touched your heart or left behind a memory that is hard to shake. Talk about working with RTs, what they're like, etc.
  • --Patients/General public: Perhaps you have spent your whole life living with a chronic lung disease or you have just been diagnosed with asthma or chronic bronchitis or... the list is endless. You've probably been in and out of hospitals your entire life, or maybe you recently had your first hospital stay for your illness. Reach out to other patients with similar problems. Or, if you're a member of the general public, and you find the respiratory system or healthcare blogs or new articles interesting, write up a post for submission. As long as it is related to respiratory care, I'll include it.
  • Anyone is free to host A Source of Inspiration, and is definitely welcome to. Just email me at js0095001 [at] gmail [dot] com.
Whew! That's enough for now. If you have any questions or comments, just use the comment form below this post. All comments are welcome and definitely encouraged. A lot of factors at once are going to help this work, but your input tops the list. More to follow regarding where to send submissions, carnival post dates-- that is, if you guys are interested, and topics for future issues (the first few issues will be sort-of "Anything goes").

Last but not least, here is the call for submissions:
All submissions should be sent to js0095001 {at} gmail {dot} com no later than Thursday, February 12, 2009 at midnight CST. The first issue will be published on Surviving RT School Friday, February 13th, 2009 (cause I'm risky like that...lol). Future issues will be hosted on other blogs and I will create a page in my header with more information on upcoming editions.

In the email, include the following to be added to A Source of Inspiration:
  1. The e-mail subject of, "A Source of Inspiration"
  2. The title of your post
  3. A direct link to the post (e.g., http://my-rt-life.blogspot.com/2008/12/posttitle.html, instead of http://my-rt-life.blogspot.com)
  4. A short description of your post
  5. How you wish to be listed on the issue (e.g., Jill, Anonymous Blogger, ER Nursey, etc.)
(Special thanks to Kim at Emergiblog for all her support and advice, Emily, of crzegrl, flight nurse, for proofing this post, and to Robin at Survive the Journey for help with the logo.)

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A few changes

Ok, I tweaked the header a little and changed it up. I also added some buttons on the side there. I figured that I have quite a few places on the internet where I have profiles, so I made it easy for you guys to catch up with me. I'm also preparing for my blogging return so I started there. I hope to see you around the net.

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Welcome Back Letter

I just got the mail today and got my "Welcome Back" letter. One of my teachers likes to send these out every semester. It is kind of to let us know whats going on the first couple of days back at school. I already knew this but she said that we will be in class from 8 to 5 on Monday and start clinicals on Wednesday. I'll definitely let you know more as it goes on.

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I couldn't resist

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Well, I was talking about the Peek email only device last night I did a little research. I found them on amazon.com for significantly lower than the $99.95 the company is selling them for. More specifically I found the Aqua one for $65.25. I took my change to the coinstar machine and came out with an amazon coupon for $68.23. Shipping pushed it to just past 70 bucks for the Peek so I had to spend about $4.50 for my Peek. I am excited. I have been preparing ever since. I set up my email to be able to update Twitter by sending an email. This will also update my Facebook status. I also finally figured out how to blog here from my email.

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I want a Peek

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I was just reading at my friend Julie's blog about the simple email device called the Peek. Now there is a blogger named Jenn that is giving away one. It works with most of the popular email services and I definitely want one. I totally could do without a cell phone with one of these. If I don't win though, I may put this on the list of my graduation gifts to myself.

Win a Peek at jenn.nu! Participating in the Peek giveaway is as easy as citing a blog entry that links to the giveaway and to getpeek.com. For more information, see the official giveaway blog entry: Win a Peek!

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My Thoughts

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Next Monday I start the last semester of the program. From what I've heard from many people it's just a review semester with a lot of clinicals. That means that I only have one semester left of this blog. I mean, after May 20th I'll no longer be an RT Student, so I can't exactly have a RT Student blog. Now I was a blogger before I was a student (you can see my old blog here). I'm even quite proud to say that I am friends with some of the more famous bloggers out there (Ted, Julie, Colleen, and Amy).

Even though I'll be a full time Respiratory Therapist I definitely plan to reconnect with the blogging world and starting a new blog. I doubt I'll make money from it like I did before. Now I just have to decide what to blog about and what the theme will be. First I need a domain name. My old one was http://willifordblog.com. Not very original, I know. I'll tell you about the idea that came to me tonight.

As a graduation present to myself, I plan to buy myself an Acer Aspire One laptop (the mini netbook that myfriend, the domestic diva uses). It has a built in webcam, an 8 inch screen, and is tiny and very, very portable. I was thinking I could take it everywhere and somehow use that as the blog theme. That's where you guys come into play. Maybe you can help come up with domain name ideas and blog themes. Leave me a comment and I'll get back to blogging about Respiratory school for the time being.

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