Tag Archives: Nurse

The Aviary

My decision to accept a staff nurse position in mental health hospital was, at best, disconcerting to my husband. It perplexed him that after working solely with girls and women for 40 years I would consider and/or be able to care for adult men. He worried about my transition from the worlds of not- for-profit and privately- owned facilities with strong religious/spiritual missions to a state run, government culture and systems. It confounded him that I would go back to bedside nursing after years of management, entrepreneurship and community activism. Finally, it seemed most unreasonable to abandon beautiful, comfortable, modern buildings with nice equipment and ample supplies. After waving all the yellow, cautionary flags he said, “Do what you have to do.”

Please know while I appear confident and eager, I am not fearless, in optimal physical condition nor the quickest thinker at age 65. Day three of orientation, participating in Bridge Building Class was a first- time experience. Bridge Building skills are critical to employment. It entails de-escalation techniques and the use of physical and mechanical restraints for patients who become a danger to themselves or others. This was up close and personal, live demonstrations, practice and return demonstrations. Physical deflecting, blocking pads, spit masks, 2-4-way restraints and ‘the chair’. (recall Hannibal Lector, sans metal face cage). It was a lot to take in.

Nervous about the risks, in an adrenalin afterglow, I shared the day’s events with my husband while icing my knee. He was unusually quiet. In retrospect, I sense his concerns for my safety. I am typically close-mouthed about work. My spouse usually presents dinner and shares the details of his day. He tries to draw me out to share mine. His efforts go afoul as he tried to be comedic referring to patients as criminal, crazy and the like. I think the first time or two, I tried to ignore my ire- unsuccessfully. The third time- I gave my best Aretha Franklin, extended-arm, flat handed: “STOP! You better THINK about what you’re tryin’ to say to me!” “You can no longer talk like that! Those words are derogatory and mean. That language demeans me, my colleagues and my patients.” He was stunned. He is not a mean person. He simply didn’t know. Neither of us knew until that moment. Our rules changed. Both Maya Angelou and St. Mother Teresa have been credited with the adage, “When you know better, you can do better.”

Bless his heart. My spouse announced his newest brilliant idea a couple days after my patient/self-protective declaration. Excitedly, he announced, “I will now refer to your workplace as the Aviary and the residents as birds and various species! What do you think?” Our shared memory of the bird sanctuary in Liberty Park in Salt Lake City and our brief stint owning chickens held fond memories. “Brilliant!”, I agreed. As so it is.

I have no idea the social acceptability or if this breaches some mental health profession decorum. What I do know is that this is a way we can peripherally discuss our daily lives and for me to contain the anonymity of patients in a manner of loving observation and respect. The most fun comes with the wide variety of synonyms, idioms, and slang related to birds. For example; to bird- to watch, a lot of our work is observation and reporting. Giving the bird- this happens often and is ok if it’s a patient giving this sign of disapproval. It’s not ok for staff to act in kind. We have people who (WHOO) are owlish or nocturnal, and pacers who never take flight like emus or penguins. Sometimes patients repeated come to the nurse station or swoop like gulls and aggressive patients or those with a proclivity to escape reminds me of raptor behavior. But here a home I often am asked, “How were the loons or your loons today?” I kind of love this and them, the entire mismatched flock.

Just Peachey: Bearing Fruit

Just Peachey: Bearing Fruit, 20th Anniversary Edition was launched in the fall of 2014!

This new cookbook begins our largest fundraising effort in the history of the Catherine Peachey Fund. We are committed to this project and to raising our goal of $1 million dollars for breast cancer research at Indiana University!

51DpwsNmoTL._AA160_ (1)Just Peachey: Bearing Fruit is a beautiful hardcover cookbook featuring a collection of recipes, entertaining tips and breast health information born from the passion and commitment of those who want to see advancements in breast cancer research continue to “bear fruit” in Indiana. 100% of the Bearing Fruit net proceeds will go to breast cancer research and programs at the IU Simon Cancer Center. The Catherine Peachey Fund has a team of over 30 volunteers working to sell and market the cookbook. This new book is poised to become the foundation for our continued funding for research.

I’m sharing this with the primary intent of connecting with other foodies, bloggers, cookbook lovers, and anyone willing to spread some love and encouragement to sell Just Peachey: Bearing Fruit. Maybe you have a connection with writers, media professionals, and families touched by breast cancer. We need help, a lot of help to meet our goal of $1 million!

We are open to ideas, more volunteers and the right marketplaces. Did I mention this is a long ardous story?
It’s a love story. A historic drama. More to come on the old stuff.

You Can get your copies at:
Cookbooks available at Bright Ideas (Indy), Cerulean (downtown Indy), Joe’s Butcher Shop (Carmel), Goose the Market (Indy), Beauvoir Aesthetics (Fishers) and Hoosier Salon (Carmel) and at www.peacheyfund.org. and amazon.com.

In the Beginning

Blogging 101 Day 2

When I started to write it was with the intent of working toward some larger projects. The blog was to test material, to build confidence. The dream was to publish a couple of books I have in mind that are wildly successful and to be asked to read my own words to audiences. I’ve learned much in the process- the biggest of course is how little I know.

But I do know with certainty the importance of words gifted to this reader as lifeblood, an essence to living each day. So I will keep plugging away. In the meantime I am called to share stories, strength and hope as professional speaker. With that in mind, I’m making some changes to my site. I hope readers will respond and stick around.

If we happened to meet in an elevator or at a business or social function here’s my latest introduction.

Hi I’m Michele Wood
Nurse. Speaker. Crusader. Entertainer. A trained observer, fascinated by Humans –especially their interior and private parts that fuel writing and story-telling guaranteed to teach and amuse. A big, colorful, lifetime of experience, service, strength and hope are my credentials.
Looking for strategies to heal, improve and revitalize your organization, employees, and community? Could you use a jolt of child-like wonder, hopefulness and peace? Do you want your team to feel strong, confident, understood, respected and absolutely capable? Invite me to visit. I’m in the business of restoration, repurposing, laughter, and making people better.