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Code stroke

Today I attended our Annual Nursing Stroke Conference at work.  I learned a lot of new evidence based practice for the management of stroke care.  I think it is important in my line of work to have continuing education; to stay on top of any changes in practice either with new equipment, technology, or standards of care.  I was hesitant to write this post because the material is not as fun as writing about going to a concert or trying a new health craze, but I think it is important to share information regarding this health issue that affects thousands of people, which then could potentially save lives.


This was my view today driving to work at 7am.

Did you know that annually 800,000 people in the U.S. will suffer from a stroke and 130,000 people will die from it?  Pretty gruesome statistics.  I want to share some basic information regarding the symptoms of stroke and how important it is to receive quick treatment if you do have a stroke.  In nursing school we learn that “Time is brain”, meaning the longer you wait for treatment after having a stroke the more permanent damage to the brain will occur.  Don’t wait for someone to come home or for the symptoms to go away on its own.  If you have sudden onset of symptoms that you can’t attribute to be caused by any specific reason, call 911 to get to the emergency department as soon as possible.  The American Stroke Association endorses the typical symptoms of a stroke to be under the acronym F.A.S.T.

  • Face drooping
  • Arm weakness
  • Speech difficulty
  • Time to call 911

Depending on the area of the brain that is affected with a stroke from either an infarct (blockage of blood flow from a blood clot) or from a hemorrhage (blood in the brain) there are many other different symptoms. It is important to get to the emergency department if you have sudden onset of confusion, dizziness, trouble walking, numbness or weakness of face, arm, or leg, visual disturbances, severe headache, and nausea/vomiting.  It may be difficult to discern if these symptoms are from other causes, but when in doubt you should definitely check it out.

It is critical for someone having a stroke to be seen in the emergency department to assess if it is caused by a blood clot (cerebral infarct); and to receive the medication, tissue plasminogen activator (TPA), which is an enzyme that dissolves clots.  This is used within 4.5 hours after the patient’s last known normal.  The old literature used the parameters of less than 3 hours of last known normal, but we learned today that the requirement has changed.  If it is given to a person with symptoms longer than 4.5 hours then there is a higher chance for a hemorrhage to occur from the TPA, so then the medication is contraindicated.  TPA has evidence based practice to reduce stroke deficits and improving the chances of recovery from a stroke.

If the stroke is caused by a bleed it is still crucial to be seen and treated swiftly.  The buildup of blood causes increased pressure and swelling in the brain.  This can cause irreversible damage to the brain tissue and nerves and can ultimately be fatal.  I am seeing more and more people and at younger ages to be affected by a stroke. To learn more about risk factors for stroke go here.

The take home message is to be seen as quickly as possible if you have any stroke symptoms.  I can’t emphasize that enough.  Please excuse the technical medical jargon, but this is my line of work and I can’t help but use this language.  I care about you and your loved ones!  If you have any comments or questions I would love to hear from you.








Circuit Training

I recently signed up for personal training sessions at my local LA Fitness.  I had my second session today and it really kicked my butt.  It is essentially circuit training, where it mixes cardiovascular and resistance training to burn fat and increase muscle strength and tone.  My trainer runs me through 5 different exercises or stations to do anywhere from 30 – 60 seconds at a time and then repeat back for the duration of 25 minutes.

My first day I booked two back to back sessions to have an hour with my trainer to get any questions answered and figure out the process.  I shared my fitness goals and we talked about a feasible plan for prime execution.  That day we focused on legs and abs.  I will share my workout so you guys can use it to do at home or at the gym.


  • Kettle bell swings – 15 pound weights – 45 second reps
  • Walking lunges – 10 pound weights – 60 second reps
  • Box jumps – 30 seconds
  • Cable kickbacks – 7.5 pounds – 10 reps
  • Cable sidekicks – 7.5 pounds – 10 reps


  • Plank – 60 seconds
  • Flutter kicks – 30 seconds
  • Scissor kicks – 30 seconds
  • V-ups – 30 seconds
  • Russian twist – 6.6 pound weight – 20 reps

I did three sets of all these exercises and I was a sweaty mess.  The other exercises were manageable but the box jumps were killer.  It got my heart rate up very quickly and transformed my legs into jello.

Today we worked on full body exercises.  The battle rope was tough.  My goal was to do four sets but I was only able to do three sets of these exercises.

  • King Kong (squat to a bicep curl and overhead press) – 5 pounds weights – 45 second reps
  • Lunge with lateral raise – 5 pound weights – 45 second reps
  • Sit up to bridge – 60 second reps
  • Ground pounds – 5 pound weights – 30 second reps
  • Battle rope – 30 second reps

After each session I finished my workout with 15 minutes of cardio, which was the stairmaster or elliptical machine.  Overall, these workouts were effective at getting my heart rate up and working different muscle groups.  After the first session I was sore for three days, which is expected because it takes your muscles 72 hours to fully recuperate.  I am excited to start this new conditioning regimen.  Do you have any tips or exercises that you find helpful?


This will be my cheat treat.






Feature: Clean Eats

Tonight Brian and I went to a “Meet and Greet” event for the local health conscious meal service, Clean Eats. Clean Eats offers a weekly changing menu of five different salads and five different entrees.  The salads contain a protein with fresh vegetables and a delicious homemade dressing.  The entrees include a protein, complex carbohydrates, and fresh vegetables.  The meals are a mix of Asian inspired flavors such as curry or larb (Lao minced meat salad) and familiar American flavors including pastas and stews, see this week’s menu here.  Recently they started incorporating a vegetarian option to their weekly menu as well. The salads are $6 each and the entrees are $8 each.  You can pay a one time nominal membership fee of $50 and then you get a $1 off each meal.


Whole wheat spaghetti with turkey meatballs. One of my favorite entrees.

I have ordered from Clean Eats for six months now.  It is so convenient to have portion controlled meals that are less than 500 calories but are also nutrient dense.  The ingredients are always fresh and organic when available.  What I love most about these meals are the flavor, I am not being short-changed by eating healthy.  The meals are delicious with a lot of variety to choose from to keep my palate interested.  I like having the flexibility of being able to order as many meals that I need for the upcoming week to keep me reaching my fitness goals.  I can work out a lot but if I don’t change my eating habits, my body will not tone up.



The event was held at Siam Thai Cuisine in Seattle with hosted full bar and appetizers served.  They gave out brand filled schwag bags and logo t-shirts.  There were three raffle giveaway drawings for $100 gift certificate to Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, Beats wireless headphones, and the grand prize of $500 worth of meals from Clean Eats.  I tried to muster all my good luck juju but sadly did not win anything.  It was a fun filled evening hanging out with friends and meeting new folks that are on this health food kick as well.  We all shared a cheat meal together tonight.  I especially loved the macarons.  





Cardio for the soul

This weekend the trendy Soul Cycle and Target held a three day pop up in Seattle at the Foster White Art Gallery.  The pop up is to promote the launch of their new partnership and was only held in ten cities across the country.  I was so excited that Seattle was chosen as one of those cities and happy to sign up and get in for a complimentary indoor cycling class.  Soul Cycle is the pioneer of the indoor cycling craze and I wanted to try it.  This was my chance!



I was immediately greeted by a friendly gal who walked me through the check in process and I got assigned my bike, lucky number 22.  I went into the makeshift cycle room which was illuminated only by candlelight and got help setting up on my bike.  Justin was our instructor for the 45 minutes and he went into a quick tutorial about the bike and positions.  There is only one knob to adjust on the bike that would control our resistance and we either dial it to the right to add on or to the left to back off.  Justin explained the hand positions that we would be in throughout the ride which essentially placed us in three body positions as well.  He had us introduce ourselves to our neighbors and talked a lot about riding as a community; to connect with each other, to have no judgment, and to be present.  Then the ride began.

Justin had us get synchronized with our pedaling, right left right left, to the beat of the music.  We started with a sprint with mild resistance and did some choreographed movements to the beat.  Pushing up and down on the bike and tapping our bodies back and forward to different counts.  He was amazeballs!  So full of energy, never getting winded while leading us in the intensifying cycling dance.  The music was upbeat and high energy in the lane of Ru Paul and Danity Kane.  About 35 minutes of doing sprints, climbs, and jogs we slowed down and grabbed the 2 or 3 lb weights from the back of the bike and did some arm work. Then we did one more fast sprint and ended the class with a stretching series.

I was hooked!  The class was fun and different from Flywheel in that it was not competitive at all.  There was no leader board to look at to see if you are ahead of someone else.  Basically Soul Cycle’s philosophy is to ride along side your neighbor, dance to awesome beats, and be zen.  Soul Cycle taps into the spiritual side of exercise like yoga but with intense cardio.  I definitely came out of the class with sweat dripping and a beet red face.  I still love Flywheel but I am excited to hear Soul Cycle will be opening up a permanent Seattle location in the next year.






Ride the beat

Today I took my first work out class of 2016.  I decided to not meander with baby steps but to go full throttle and take an indoor cycling class.  This by far has been the most challenging work out class that I have ever done.  Mind you, I do not like cardio.  I hate to run.  I hate to run outside or run on a treadmill, it is my death star.  It looms over me, taunting me,  go ahead try to run…watch me fill your lungs with fire and when you think “hey I can do this”, I will shoot you with my super laser and watch you return to atoms.

I know, dramatic right?  Well cycling is more strenuous to me than running, but you know what?  I actually like it, I mean really like it.  Maybe it is because I have the safety net of the seat, so when it gets too tough, I can back down and be in the saddle and recuperate.  I have the comfort of having the lights out except a low beam on the instructor.  Also, I like being in the back third row, no one can see me except my neighbors on each side.  The lights go out, the music begins to pump, and if it is an instructor who I like than I get in the zone.  I have only taken a cycling class at Flywheel in Seattle.  I usually like taking a class taught by Aina who is an elite alpha instructor there, but I tried out a new instructor today after reading her bio.  Asher used to be on a nationally ranked competitive hip-hop dance team.  I mean…yasss…that’s my girl.  She did not disappoint.


We started with two even tempo songs to warm up, then turned our torque up, and began to take on the hills.  There is a knob on each bike that controls the torque.  The torque builds more resistance to work against as if you are riding up a hill, the instructors yell out different torque ranges throughout the work out.  Then they give you RPM (rate per minute) to pedal at.  There are also three bike positions, saddle, 2nd – straight up out of the seat into a jog position, and 3rd – out of saddle leaning forward stretching your arms out and grabbing the ends of the handlebars. Asher had us start the torque anywhere from 15-20 and RPM 70, then we slowly pedaled up into 80’s RPM, and then high 90’s. It got our muscles fired up and the whole class was ready.  Ready to take on the 45 minute high energy, lactic acid building, butt kicking class.

Whoosh, she played a mix of newer hip-hop mashed up with EDM.  When she played that 2 On by Tinashe featuring Schoolboy Q I was like okay girl, you are playing on my level.

Then she went into Say My Name by Odesza featuring Zyra and I really lost it.

I pedaled my heart out, sang to myself, and really followed Asher’s instructions. Big mistake! I began to get light-headed and nauseous, I knew I had to lower my heart rate and regain composure or I was out. I was thinking to myself “what is the most discreet way to get out of the room”, if I needed an exit strategy. But no, I was not going to quit. I slowed myself down and did not participate in the next song. I took lots of water breaks and wiped the sweat off with the towels they provided in the beginning of the class. I started to feel better so I knew that I could stay in the game. I have really good mind-body connection so I knew the signs to get myself off the bike or the signs that I can forge ahead. I got myself back to participate in the ride again.


Aftermath – red faced and feeling great



I am glad I completed the class.  It was a small victory but I conquered that little voice in my head that was telling me to quit.  She can be quite persistent but I know I am stronger than her.  I am all tingly with the surge of endorphins and am smelling quite ripe.  Job well done I say.