Monthly Archives: April 2012

Why Adults Maintain Sibling Relationships

Well, at least Mary hasn’t forsaken the academia part of her upbringing because she emailed me this article once she read the previous post. It’s a pretty interesting and short read for all you people who have siblings. And it’s super relevant to this conflict of interest that has developed between Mary and I.

One participant stated, “I maintain a relationship with [my sister] because no matter what, she will be my sister, and I have to love her even if sometimes I may not like her.”

Sigh. For the record, I obviously do not approve of her new life choices. However, I will still tell her most of my secrets and get her a Christmas present every year. Just a heads up though, Mary… next year you’re getting a Pens license plate holder and I’m super gluing it on to your car.


Never Forget Where You Come From

I think one of the most important things you need to do when you move away from home and/or get older is to never forget where you come from. This is so critical to me that it’s the second pillar of my “Four Pillars of Living with Integrity.” If I have time at some point, that will be a whole post.

For the purposes of this post, all you need to know is that remembering where you come from helps you stay grounded which is a relatively obvious connection that requires no further delineation currently.

I’m bringing this up right now because Mary has completely lost herself. As evidenced by the fact that she put a freaking NY Islanders license plate holder on her car. ARE YOU KIDDING  ME?!

(I whited out her plate number so you internet creepers can’t stalk her.)

This is beyond disgusting and I feel like I’ve failed as an older sister.

Going to school on Long Island changed her in a lot of ways. She got way more high maintenance. You would not believe how particular this girl is about her clothes, hair, eyebrows, etc. She won’t wear anything less expensive than Uggs on her feet in the winter and can’t eat until she puts on makeup before breakfast… even with the immediate family who saw her almost every day for the first 18 years of her life and knows exactly what she looks like without it and does not judge her at all.

I mean, I’m not a disinterested slob by any means but I can go to Dunkin Donuts with mascara from the day before on my face and an old pair of Converse on my feet without feeling like I’m about to have a panic attack. Caring too much about how you look becomes an unhealthy fixation and that’s not at all how we were raised. Vanity was not part of our upbringing in any way. But… fine… whatever. Become obsessed with how you look. I don’t have to like it but I can tolerate it. If I have to. I guess.

But what’s TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE is supporting any hockey team other than the Pens. What a disgrace. I’m about to disown her.

ESPECIALLY ANOTHER TEAM IN OUR DIVISION. This is so gross. All my happy memories involving Mary are forever tainted. I can’t even talk to her right now.

The boundaries have clearly been breached with this license plate nonsense.

In terms of her new high maintenance tendencies, assessing her level of corruption is somewhat subjective. There are shades of gray in there. You can’t really decisively say that she’s completely given up on her roots based on that type of evidence.

But with team allegiances, it’s like you either are a Pens fan or you aren’t a Pens fan. And you can’t be a Pens fan and an Islanders fan AT THE SAME TIME. So clearly she has decided to no longer be a Pens fan. And that’s not ok.  In our family, you are born a Pens fan and you die a Pens fan. Any other deviation is considered to be an outright betrayal and it’s disloyalty at the highest level. I bet my mother’s heart is broken. She will probably have to skip work tomorrow once she finds out because she probably won’t be able to get out of bed and all the blinds will be closed and the room will be dark and the TV won’t even be on and she won’t be able to eat.

Mary has been corrupted all the way down to the deepest level of her soul. Everyone please pray for her salvation. And anyone know a good Catholic priest with a lot of exorcism experience just in case it comes to that?

Physiology with Liz… Episode 2: All-Purpose Muscles And Knee Replacement Infections

Intro to Psych started my obsession with the human brain.

A&P started my obsession with bones and muscles.

And nursing has started my obsession with the respiratory system. Breathing is so cool, guys. You don’t even know. Our body so finely regulates every level of everything we need to live via so many mechanisms across so many systems. Changes are subtle and swift and that’s how we stay alive. I love homeostasis.

Little things make me happy. Like the fact that it’s harder to do exercises that have a lot of arm raising movements because your accessory muscles for ventilation are used to stabilize your arms and shoulders. Multi-purpose muscles! Muscles that help you breathe AND help support your skeletal system depending on the situation? Awesome. It’s like having a substitute teacher to flexibly cover deficits wherever/whenever they’re needed. Like “Hey, breathing muscles, need some help? Let’s be super efficient together” then later “Hey, arms. I see you’re doing some intense activity over there. Don’t worry, I got your back. Although the breathing muscles are gonna have a little tougher time of it now.” Our bodies are staggeringly functional in such a minimalistic way.

Sometimes muscles are multi-purpose to the point of difficult classification. From Wiki:

There is some controversy as to which muscles may be considered accessory muscles of inspiration (Kendalll, McCreary, Provance, Rodgers, Romani, 2005). The sternocleidomastoid (elevated sternum) and the scalene muscles (anterior, middle and posterior scalene) are typically considered accessory muscles of breathing, however the following muscles have also been observed contributing to the breathing: serratus anterior, pectoralis major & minor, upper trapezius, latissimus dorsi, erector spinae (thoracic), iliocostalis lumborum, quadratus lumborum, serratus posterior superior and inferior, levatores costarum, transversus thoracis, subclavius (Kendall et al., 2005).

On Thursday, I saw a real x-ray of a bone that was screwed together and it was so cool! The x-ray was right in front of me on the computer at the nurses station while the doctor was looking at it and I was in awe. It was so clear and beautiful.

And one of my classmates got to work with a patient who was recovering from a knee replacement and hearing about that was pretty neat.

Here’s a sad fact about knee replacements (and other types of replacements, too): If an infection develops for whatever reason at any time (post-surgery or later in life), a lot of times the limb has to be amputated because your body is less able to clear the infection via regular immune system means because you have replacement parts that aren’t natural human tissue. Essentially, the fake knee parts can’t mount a tissue immune response because it’s not actually real tissue. For example, there aren’t blood vessels in the fake parts because they doesn’t need perfusing because they’re not alive so the WBCs and everything that travel through the blood to fight the infection don’t really clear it the way it normally would be cleared.

I’m not explaining this well. Let’s try it another way. Basically when you have an infection, the whole tissue changes and responds to the infection so that the immune system can do it’s job. But because the fake parts aren’t really part of the body, the only way to clear the infection is from the surrounding tissues and that’s not as effective. It’s like the germs are sitting on a surface and the only way you can get to them is from the outside instead of from the outside AND inside and every other side like it would be if the original knee tissue was there.  I still don’t think I explained that well. But I hope you get the point.

Moving on…

I kind of wish I was a physical therapist sometimes. They are some of my favorite people in the hospital. Almost everyone on a med-surg floor needs some type of physical therapy. No matter how sick you are, you gotta move your muscles so they don’t atrophy. And even aside from that, just laying in bed all day is bad for many other reasons and can actually add to your list of illness-related problems and cause your health to further decline due to complications. The physical therapists modify each plan of action to fit the patient’s abilities and needs and it’s awesome to watch. They’re also super cheerleaders. So encouraging and great with the patients. They really connect with the patient and get so genuinely thrilled when the patient does extra well that day. Even when the patient doesn’t do well that day, they’re super pumped and positive and encouraging about what they were able to do. And they’re optimistic about how well the patient is gonna do the next day too. It’s just a very positive thing. I kind of love the idea of having a job where you constantly encourage people to do something that’s difficult but good for them. Because people are more likely to do a difficult thing if you’re very encouraging.

Even getting a person to be able to reach their knees or sit up on their own for 10 seconds is beautiful to me. And then you have the even more extreme cases where people recovering from a stroke and paralysis on one side of their body are able to walk again.

Zero To Sixty

Up until the moment I saw this video, my biological clock had not been operating  whatsoever. I was beginning to wonder whether I even had one at all. Now it’s running in TICKING TIME BOMB mode.

Basically… Yes

Things from the interwebs that are funny and outrageously accurate:


That awkward moment when you wake your patient up in the morning

Physiology With Liz… Episode 1: The Surprise Attack Breath

No more crazy Steelers posts. I thought Drew already talked to you about this.
– Ben

Sigh. Fine… That’s the last one for awhile.

Here’s a super cool sciencey information post.

You know how sometimes you’ll be sitting or laying somewhere and all of a sudden you take a huge gasping breath out of nowhere?

Well, I guess it’s not really gasping. For me, it’s a super rapid and quick spontaneous inhale. It’s just like you kind of inhale really deeply out of the blue for no reason.

There is a reason, though!

If you’ve ever been like “Hmm, I wonder why I take that funny breath sometimes?” then this post is for you.

The answer is that when you’re sitting for a long period of time in the same position (or laying down), you’re essentially hypoventilating due to stillness. So what happens as a result is the CO2 builds up in your lungs and stimulates you to breathe that huge breath. With that huge breath, you’re able to blow off the CO2 and O2/CO2 levels go back to normal.

In everyone except COPD (or similarly compromised) people, the stimulus to breathe is actually a build up of CO2 and not lack of O2.

This is also why you yawn sometimes. It doesn’t account for every yawn. But it accounts for some of them.

I totally geeked out in A&P but now nursing has taken my nerdiness to a whole new level. I can’t stop thinking about how our bodies work.

Ok, boys… I hope that was intellectually stimulating enough for you since you seem to think that passionately discussing the Steelers is something only a neandertal would do.

Sometimes new friends ask me why I don’t date one of my best guy friends since we’re so close. Their inability to appreciate the Steelers is one of the reasons. And the fact that we’ve been friends for so long that I’m not really attracted to them. And we have different values and want different things out of life.

Real life isn’t like a chick flick where one day you wake up and realize that your best friend is what you’ve been looking for all along.

Here’s a hilarious “documentary” about why guys and girls can’t actually be friends though. Maybe I’m way off base about the nature of our friendship dynamics.

Hooking up is different than dating though. We’d probably hook up given the right circumstance. But never would we ever date.

Worst To First

This is the greatest 6 minutes currently on YouTube.

It perfectly captures one of the most incredible stories in the history of all sports.

It made me want to jump up and down on my couch with my Terrible Towel.

And that shot at 2:14 is BEAUTIFUL.

Also, I never heard the Ave Maria part before.

And at 5:24, when the guy says, “I think it made Pittsburghers proud to be Pittsburghers,” my eyes welled up.

Now I’m homesick as fuck. For real. This is like a Mary level of homesickness.

I just wanna watch some KDKA before bed.

The wedding is 33 days away. And I cannot wait to come flying through the tunnel and see the city pop out in front of me. And spend the whole weekend downtown surrounded by lifelong yinzers.

The “32 or pregnant” thing still stands.

I cannot possibly settle down in any other place. My love for everything that comes with being a Pittsburgh resident overrides anything else that may be attractive about living in another place. I don’t even care that it just snowed.

It is the only place that’s ever felt like HOME.

And I will forever be proud of my ferocious love for the Steelers, Penguins, and Pirates.

I don’t care that this is actually the most annoying song on the entire planet. It makes my chest hurt from homesicky happiness. And given any opportunity to do so, I will forever be singing it at the top of my lungs with every other Pittsburgher around me.

And the most amazing feeling in the world is that moment when you’re surrounded by people in Steelers gear after a critical touchdown has been scored and everyone is whipping their Terrible Towel around like they never have before. NOTHING can beat that. Absolutely nothing.

To everyone else, we seem crazy. So go ahead and judge us. But I will unashamedly uphold the time-honored traditions of Steeler Nation. It’s been part of my soul since birth.

Let me remind you… It’s not crazy. It’s sports.

Post update: text conversation with my dad

Dad: I don’t do Facebook. Can you email me the URL for the Franco YouTube?
Me: Haha yeah. How do you know about it if you don’t have Facebook?
Dad: Word is passing around the family.

Hahahaha. That is so my family. If you want to know why I am the way I am, look to this as insight into what it’s like to be born into a family of Steelers fans.