School Progress (an update)

It’s finally spring break! I couldn’t be happier! This and Christmas break are the only breaks that we get at the school because you know, students taking up bachelor degrees are immortals! Nah, it’s just that we’re adults already and we should do adult stuff like worrying about our future through our assignment. :)) Kidding! Well, it’s the Lenten week (season) so it’s holiday here. I’m grateful for this school-free week because then my body can finally take the time to recuperate. All these roles (I’m a mom, student, gf, bff, friend, daughter, sister and a colleague) are making me insane sometimes because of lack of sleep and the stress I get from the deadlines and trying to have a social life in this time of pandemic.

Anyway, this semester started with the second part of clinicals or OJT (on-the-job training) in the hospital last January. This time I was back at Haukeland University Hospital (HUS) for the CT (Computer Tomography) clinicals for four weeks. I was excited and a bit tensed during the first meeting because I’ve never been on a CT clinical before and the last time I touched a CT scan machine was back in 2018 before I took a maternity leave. My clinicals last year was at the ER in Bergen and at Stavanger University Hospital (SUS) in 2018 and they’re both conventional X-ray clinicals.

One of the CT scan machines at HUS. Siemens Somatom Definition AS

I’m happy that I got another image modality the last time and in the right order too. Because this course always starts with the conventional x-ray then CT, MRI and so forth.

Unlike the conventional x-ray, a CT examination requires more time for the preparation. Depends on what type of CT scan examination, if it is with contrast or without contrast. If it is with contrast, the patient is required to have a PVC (peripheral venous catheter) in one of the arms. In Norway, the radiographer does this preparation. Then, it is also important to pay attention to the allergic reactions and contradictions to the examination.

After the CT clinical, I had to review for the exam that I failed last year. Because of the pandemic, exams are digitalized. Thus, turning the exams into home exams. While this type of exam sounds easy, no it’s not. At least not for me because I have a small kid in the house and radiation physics is not easy. I find it harder and brain draining because the exam load is more than doubled. So don’t tell me that I’m just pushing the button or else I’ll bite you! haha!

The control panel for the Siemens CT scan machine

Moving on, my efforts paid off after the stressful days and nights of reviewing for the exam and now I am qualified for the next clinical and it is after the spring break. This time I would be at the Oncology Department to work with radiation therapy. I’m ecstatic about this clinical since this would be the first time to work with a linear accelerator. At the same time, I’m sure that this is more challenging than my previous clinicals because this time I’m going to work with lots of cancer patients.

Till next update! 🙂

At what cost?

Some say that dreaming and dreams are free and that should be enough to reach it. My parents, mentors and friends have actually said the same. Of course I also did. But when I became independent and started deciding for my life, I have never looked back at dreaming the way I did when I was young.

For those of you who are new to my blog, I am taking up Bachelor in Radiography in Bergen and this is actually going to be my second degree. Most of my friends and family told me that I am lucky that I do not have to think about money when studying, because they know that Norway is kind to all its citizens. Well, I cannot say that I am lucky but I cannot say I am not either. I do not go to school for free despite of the student support from the government because it is still loan. Only a certain percentage is given to us students when we pass the exams.

This semester, I had two OJT’s. The first one is more inclined to basic nursing at the ortopedic department at the hospital and the second one is at the ER, taking x-rays of patients with suspected bone fractures. I had lots of fun and there are lots to learn that I got sad during the last days of my duty. However, my days (and evening/night) shifts did not go flawless because of lack of sleep and being a mom at the same time is exhausting. But exhaustion did not stop me from waking up early in the morning and driving late at night because I love what I was doing.

My microeconomic professor once told us during one of his lectures that nothing in this world is free. That we never get a free ride in life. In one way or another, we have to pay whether it is in monetary form, energy or for instance time. If you choose to stay at home rather than attend a lecture to save lunch money, yes you have probably added more to your savings but at the same time you pay for the missed information/knowledge.

Both of my OJT’s this year made me realized that it is never easy to work for your dreams. There is always turbulence along the way even though the skies are clear. In my case, every day at the hospital and the ER is very educational and memorable but at the same time stressfull and sometimes filled with anxiety because some shifts are just really busy and energy draining.

So, the cost of my dream this semester is two weeks of migraine attacks, stiff neck, a trip to the ER, time away from my little one, tears and a minor car accident.

Unknown Water

Staying at home for the past weeks has been though for everyone. Though I understand the sentiments people who complain about the community quarantine, I find it hard to accept that rudeness around the globe arises. I was like, they should just shut their mouth and focus on other things rather than hating on other people in this time of crisis.

Then it came to me that fear and angst lead to anger and despair when they are for instance get exposed to a sudden change. I should have known this because I act kinda same when my inner balance is being threatened. Social media is one of the factors why people are rude against each other, because we cannot accept the fact that people are different and think differently. So knowing other people’s reaction through comments on Facebook/Twitter is like having the ability to read someone’s mind and getting a clue about a person’s character.

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Sunset view from our terrace.

 

Back to Normal?

Norway is gradually going back to normal again. From next week, the gyms, shops, salons, kindergardens and primary schools will open again. Yes. You read it right. Kindergardens and primary schools. The government said that the risk for spreading and getting sick by the disease (Covid 19) is smaller in children compared to adults. That’s why they think it is justifiable to open the schools and day care centers again as long as the strict measures are being followed. So far, Norway’s Covid 19 statistic looks good despite the increasing number of infected. The health minister said that we have controll over the situation. The hospitals are doing great so far.

As a parent, I’m concerned of course about my child. The health sector has updated the guidelines for the Covid 19 prevention. Today, the guideline is more focused on the schools and day care centers. While the idea is good, I still doubt that it is going to be practiced. Well, a good hand hygiene and social distancing and dividing the groups into smaller groups can be of course fixed. But, I doubt that small children will do that. Because they are kids. They do whatever they like. They run, they sing and they are going to touch anything from their bums to their faces!

So, no. I’m not going to send my little one to the kindergarden yet. Even if all the children in this area are symptom free but they could still be a carrier of the virus. I’m worried not only for my child, but also for my hubby and I. We can’t afford to get sick now.

 

 

Reference:

https://www.fhi.no/sv/smittsomme-sykdommer/corona/

https://helsenorge.no/koronavirus/arrangement-og-aktiviteter

https://www.dagsavisen.no/nyheter/innenriks/bent-hoie-vi-har-fatt-koronaepidemien-under-kontroll-1.1695570

 

 

The Negativity We Need these Days

I got tested for the virus last week. Thank God it’s negative! But as I’ve told my hubby, we should still stay cautious and careful. The reasons why I got tested is first, my hubby have been abroad two weeks before the lock down and community quarantine and after his trip he developed some flu like symptoms. And then the other reason is that I’m a health worker. It’s not mandatory to test but we should because we’re working with high risk people. At the same time, I got sick too.

I’m not afraid to get the virus. I’m confident enough that my immune system can handle the Covid19. But, I worry about the people around me. Who’s going to look after my child if I get sick? Did my boss found someone to work in my behalf?

I got tested inside the car in a parking lot. The nurse in full hazmat suit came to me and asked me to remain seated in the car and gave me the instructions on taking the sample from my nose (nasopharyngeal swab). I was surprised because I never expected that I had to do it myself and I’ve never done it before. Not even on the nursing lab at school! So there I was sitting anxiously in the car. Pulled the car visor down while the nurse tried to cheer me up. She then handed me the long cotton bud (ca 10 cm long) and asked me to close the car window. The first 5 cm went well even though I find it disgusting and uncomfortable but after that I took a pause because it’s starting to irritate my nasal passage. I tried to bargain but the nurse insisted that I should keep pushing down the cotton bud thing further down my pharynx. Huhu.. I hate you Covid19!

It took two days before they called and told me the result. I was relieved that no one in the household is sick with this killer Covid19 and finally we don’t have to isolate us. It means that we can finally go out to buy some groceries and I can finally come back to work after my flu symptoms are gone.

About the situation here. Norway is still on a lock down. The line and the numbers are looking good so far. The department of health said that the imposed community quarantine and social distancing rules are working so far (they believe). They are hoping to gradually losen the lock down and quarantine maybe after the Easter. It’s alright to hope but I’m sceptical. Maybe Norway’s numbers are still in the “calm before the storm”.

Anyway, I hope everyone stays healthy and sane in this very special situation that we’re in right now. The world is full of negativity but a little negativity is good, like a negative Covid19 test result.

Pasalubong

Pasalubong is a Filipino term for gift/s usually from people who have been on a trip to other places or even just after a trip to the grocery. It could be anything from snacks to toys. The one who is buying the pasalubong does it out of love and expects nothing in return. So, as I’ve said it’s a gift. It doesn’t have to be expensive too. Because the idea of pasalubong is sharing your blessings and at the same time showing the person who is receiving it that you think about him/her while you travel. It is also a part of the Filipino culture.

Last month, my parents came back from their vacation from the Philippines and they bought us lots of pasalubong. I was surprised because I never expected that they’ll buy me more than 2 packs of banana chips. They bought us 2 small Purefoods corned beef, 2 packs of Sustagen chocolate drink, 10 packs of Quaker Oat cereals, a pack of Lengua (a butter cookie type), pajamas and books for my L.O., and 2 packs of Meiji Macadamia chocolate. I guess they just missed me and their grandchild a lot! 😀 lol! Aside from that, they asked me for a list of stuff that I wanted them to buy for me (will make a separate blog post about that). Like for instance, some prescription free meds. My parents know that I miss the Philippines so much and my favorite snacks are there. 🙂

How about in your culture? Do you buy pasalubong to your love ones as well?

Tita’s Banana Chips. The best banana chips ever! It’s thin and crispy.

 

Filipino children’s books!

 

Pajamas from Landmark for the little one

 

We Have to Fight it!

A woman wearing a surgical mask. Photo by Anna Shvets

For the very obvious reason, Covid19 is making headlines. It has become a pandemic. I cannot blame the people from worrying, but what I think is unecessary thing to do is to hoard food and medical supplies as if the world is going to end because of the virus. The virus spreads through droplets by sneezing, coughing and touching contaminated stuff like for example money that came from someone who is infected and sneezed/coughed on the money. Many have died both private people and health workers. But it is still curable. It just that it spreads faster and has a higher mortality rate than for example, a typical flu virus. The best way to minimize the risk of transmitting the virus is to wash hands often and as much as possible to not touch the face.

We can try to prevent getting sick by staying at home and avoiding crowded places. However, there are circumstances that you are obliged to go out. And somehow and somewhere someone in your household might catch the virus and you get sick. I’m not scaring anyone but this virus could be anywhere.

Since there is no vaccine for Covid19 (yet) and since this a virus, there is no medicine against it. We have no choice but to fight it. Our body has to fight it. In our Biology class we are thought that we have this micro soldiers in our system that fights intruders, like viruses, bacteria and etc. These micro soldiers are the white blood cells or the leucocytes and these are produced in our bones. So, it is very important that we drink our milk everyday because of Calcium. Also, vitamin D is important too for our bone health and immune system, as it aids in the absorption of Calcium.

Scientists, microbiologists and medical doctors are working round the clock to make a vaccine. Our health workers especially those in the frontline are risking their lives to help the infected and give strength to those who are dying. We can help our medical team by staying inside and as much as possible avoid getting sick these days. Because what actually kills is not the virus itself, but the lack of medical attention due to the higher number of patients vs medical staff (respirators). Let the situation in Italy be a lesson to everyone. Do not underestimate the virus!

 

 

Lyngheisenteret

Lyngheisenteret or the Heathland Centre is a museum and an information centre about preserving the culture, traditions and lifestyle of coastal heathlands. According to their website this unique and beautiful landcape is dissappearing in a high rate not just here in Norway but also in Europe. The Heathland Centre is located at Lygra in Alver Kommune. From Bergen it is about an hour car ride. You can also reach Lygra by taking the boat for only 40 minutes from Strandkaien.

I took this trip out of curiosity (and spontaneity) and because I wanted to see and explore a new place that is not so far from home. Since I had a day off last Wednesday, I took the opportunity to be extra active by taking long walks with my dog. I was also lucky because the weather was perfectly sunny.

From where I live, circa at Vågseidet, it takes around 15 minutes to drive to Seim. Then from Seim to Lygra where the Lyngheisenteret is, in theory should only take around 15 minutes. So, in total 30 minutes. But, I found the car trip longer as I’m not familiar with the roads and plus the roads are also narrow as well. So yeah, I took it slow.

As I was getting near my destination, the views were also getting more and more picturesque. I had to stop at atleast one of them! My favorite is the bridge that connects Lygra to Børøyna. I find it fascinating because of how low this bridge is!

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The small and low bridge connecting Lygra and Børøyna. In the end of the bridge is a 79 meter long tunnel, the Lygra tunnel.

After a couple of minutes, my dog and I were finally there. There are signs along the way so it’s not easy to get lost. There’s a large info board by the parking area with a brief history of the Heathland Centre and the map of the place. It’s actually very detailed.

 

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The information board.

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Dogs should be on a leash because this is a grazing area.

 

One of the grinds.

 

The facade of the Heathland Centre

The Heathland Centre is closed during the offpeak season. However, people are free to explore and wander the place. Just don’t forget to close the grinds because there might be sheep grazing here.

Just another grind!

As expected of the west coast, the land is wet and moist. It has been raining a lot these past few months so there are short muddy trails. So I highly recommend that you wear good footwear here.

 

Zorro’s always excited to move on.

What I love about this place is that it has a beach. It’s not a typical mountain hike where there are mostly thick pine tree forest. Zorro and I took a break here on the way back.

 

The sign to the beach

 

The beach

For grilling

To sum up, I can say that this is a very easy hike for people of all ages who love to take long walks with their love ones or with a dog. The trails are easy to spot and the information is not lacking either. The duration of the hike from the parking area is around 1 to 2 hours depending on your tempo. My number one tip is to use a pair of waterproof boots or hiking shoes.

When it comes to public transportation, check the bus company Skyss’ website for the schedule. For the information about overnight stays, camping and other concerns, check out the museum’s information site.