Surviving COVID-19

I was initially avoiding writing a ‘How I am surviving COVID-19’ post, but thought about it, and had inspiration from my Alma Mater, CQUniversity. So I have compiled a short post about my experiences with COVID-19 and how I am surviving what has developed into a very interesting 2020 and Year of the Nurse.

My experience staying connected with family and friends

Thankfully for me, I have a fairly tech savvy family. We all own Apple products, so FaceTime gets a fair workout, and we were pretty good at staying in contact anyway. I call my parents every couple of days to check in out of habit, and I FaceTime the girls when they are actually sitting still for longer than 30 seconds.

I play Dungeons and Dragons with my friends once a week, on Saturday Nights. We chat during the week on Facebook Messenger and Discord, and generally share our days, what’s going in life, the struggles with our kids, the difficulties of being ‘essential’, and the day to day mundane facts of life.

The difficult people to stay in contact with are my extended family. My grandparents aren’t tech savvy at all. My Grandfather here locally has trouble working a microwave let alone a mobile phone, and I can’t visit him as we have to limit the number of people who drop in. I tend to share things through my Father to him, he shows him photos and tells stories about the girls. That’s what makes this COVID-19 stuff hard, the time that my Grandfather is missing with his Great-Grandchildren.

I am taking time for myself by

I am shamelessly watching Netflix, a lot of Netflix. While my girls are watching ABC Kids, I have my phone out and headphones in watching the shows I want to watch. So far I have binged my way through the entirety of Brooklyn 99, Rick and Morty, Altered Carbon and I am about to continue on my adventures with Gotham. For me, escaping into a TV show and not thinking for a while is very relaxing.

As mentioned earlier, I play Dungeons and Dragons over Discord with my friends. I actually run the Game, as Dungeon Master. I write the story, create the characters that players interact with, I describe the world they are in, and guide them through their adventure. I love it. I love creating the world, the non-player characters, and I love watching (or in this case listening) to my friends realise the error of their ways as the story unfolds.

Something I have found comfort in this time is

I have found comfort in the little things. COVID-19 has been an interesting time to realise what really matters, how much busy-ness we all have in our lives, and for a chance to simplify. For some, slowing down to work, home, and family is a drag. I am trying to make the most of it. I am spending more time with my girls, taking more time for me, trying to make sure I self care a little better, and most of all stay connected to those who matter.

It comforts me to know that we, as a community, have banded together, done the right thing, and are beating this thing. We aren’t getting pig headed and selfish in our quest to go back to normal at whatever the cost. We as a Country have supported those in need, given a hand to those who can’t do it on their own, and strived to be better for it. The real comfort is being part of that, it’s being Australian.

Something I’m not doing (and that’s okay) is

I am not, however, taking it easy…. completely. My role as the only Nurse at a Meat Works has meant some very long days. Some days are 12-14 hours, then we are working 6 days a week, public holidays included. This time at work has meant that I don’t always have the amount of time at home, and the one day off I do have, I try and cram everything in. Which then leads me to be tired and worn out for the week.

So in short, I am not balancing work and life as well as I should be.

Something I want to say to people who may be having similar experiences is

It’s ok to be a little out of sorts. It’s ok to snack a little heavier than normal. It’s ok to feel a little disconnected. It’s ok to be a little scared of what is going on. It’s ok to feel a little blue, and a little worn out.

We are going through a Global Pandemic. Tens of thousands of people are dead, millions are sick. The Country is in lockdown. We have spent more on Social Support now than we have since the War. For the first time since WW2 we are told to stay at home unless absolutely necessary. Our shopping centre shelves are bare. People are out of work. There is less to go around. People are struggling.

It is OK to not feel OK.

We have to remember that this is only temporary. Before long, we will be back to swimming at the beach, catching up with friends for a coffee, eating a Parmy at the Pub, and getting back to the way things were. But we have to acknowledge that not everything will be the same, there will be a ‘new normal’ on the other side of this. And we need to be ready for it.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Surviving Online Study

After studying my Diploma of Nursing, which required 3 days a week, 40 weeks a year of physical contact and attendance at CQUniversity then transitioning to the Bachelor of Nursing which was almost completely online, with 12 contact days aver a two year period, I was a little shell shocked. But I developed a series of survival skills that saw me graduate with a Credit Average, and awarded the Associate Vice Chancellors Medallion for 2019.

The most important thing to remember is Time Management. It is all too easy to put off watching lectures, reading chapters of books, or studying for exams. It’s also too easy to feel the urge to simply cram in the final minutes. While I was studying Full Time I was also working Full Time as an Enrolled Nurse, working all shifts, 40 hours a week. I needed perfect Time Management if I was even going to survive, let alone pass. I found it easiest to physically write all of my assessments and their due dates on a white board next to my desk, have all of the readings and lectures written down as well, and simply divide the week into different Classes on different days. Some Classes I found could be knocked over quicker than others, and others required more time in study. This just meant I needed to move the schedule around a little.

Time Management

Time Management

Make sure you don’t cram anything into the last minute. No matter how good it sounds, no matter how many times other students tell you “Cramming is Super Effective”, it’s not! For you to effectively retain the information you will need to repetitively cover the information, absorb it in a number of different ways, and most importantly, study to perform your job not to pass an exam. You shouldn’t also study with loud music, drinking your sixth red bull, and eating a bowl of chocolate covered nuts. Studies have shown that you should study how you are examined, this will assist in memory recall in the exam.

Don't Cram

Don’t Cram

To get yourself in the study mindset remember why you’re studying in the first place. For me I wanted to be a Nurse, working in Health Care, and helping people. Cliched I know, but you won’t find many Nurses who are in it for the Glory, Money, or to Marry a Doctor, well at least not that I am aware of anyway. So if you are studying Physiotherapy to work with top athletes at the Olympics, use that. If you are trying to remember 4923 equations to become an Engineer so you can work on Space Craft, use that. If you are studying English so that you can become a Citizen of the greatest Country in the world, use that.

Remember the Reason

Remember the Reason

Avoid distractions by being deliberate about your study. Set aside a time every day where you are going to study. Have a designated space to study, not the lounge room, not your bedroom, and certainly not in the kitchen. Ensure those who you live with, namely partners and children, are aware that you are studying and it is paramount to work, thus they need to respect your space and time required and may need to leave you alone long enough to write that fourth essay this week.

Avoid Distraction

Avoid Distraction

The best online study aid is anything that keeps you on track, focussed, and on time. I found the best tool during my study was a program called Zotero. Zotero is a cataloguing and referencing software that stores all of your previous references, books, journals, and other material. It creates snapshots of online material, references in APA or Harvard (along with a myriad of others), and even creates a perfect Bibliography for you at the end of your document. It may not be strictly a study tool, but it sure saved me from a lot of headaches when it came to referencing my material.

Zotero

Zotero

My tip for studying at home with children is DON’T! But seriously, if you find it difficult to study at home with the children, whether your partner is away for work, or you are a single parent, or whatever your situation, you need to find the time and space to study. I knew plenty of students who studied at the Library prior to returning home because their lovely little cherubs made any study near impossible. You could also limit your study to after bed time, which is what I did most of the time. This works great as your children can’t interrupt your study if they are asleep.

Children

Children

My final thought on Surviving Online Study is, do what works for you. There will be a myriad of differing tips and tricks for studying online, but ultimately you need to find what works for you. I found that the aforementioned survival tools is what worked for me. I hope you find what works for you sooner, rather than later.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Preventative Nursing

In an age of Chronic Disease, Misinformation, and Coronavirus, Health Care workers have an important Front-line role to ensure the effective care and accurate information delivery to our patients. We often think this role is for our Primary Healthcare providers like GPs, their Nurses, and even hospitals. But the journey really starts well before that. Today I want to share a little bit about my journey through Preventative Nursing and the role it plays in our society.

For those who haven’t been keeping up with my recent posts, I have been Nursing for a Local Meat Works as their onsite Nurse. Not what I pictured myself doing post-grad, but I truly love my job and wouldn’t change it for anything. Among other things like emergency response, daily dressings, wound management, immunisations, and medical screening, I have also been made responsible for the entire COVID-19 response. This has meant that I have been the one to organise the hand sanitiser, temperature screening of staff, declarations for visitors, and implementing some 15 new policies and procedures into the workplace. None of this is what would be considered main stream Nursing, but it is all preventative. Without these measures the plant is vulnerable to COVID-19, and Influenza, the Common Cold, and a myriad of other diseases to which the precautionary measures will be effective as well. By taking these measures, and ensuring the safety of all 685 staff, it also means there aren’t a ton of new patients for the GPs, and hospitals.

Outside of COVID-19 the Preventative measures don’t stop, there is still Influenza Vaccines, Physio programs, Stretching and Workplace exercises, Health promotional activities, and general workplace safety. All of these measures are designed and implemented to ensure that the staff are kept out of mainstream medical centres and avoid being injured or falling ill. This also limits the number of sick days being taken, which is great for the business, and also great for the staff.

I am not the only type of Preventative Nurse out there, there are also our Aged Care brothers and Sisters, Community Care Nurses, and the extensive Multi-Disciplinary team such as Chiropractors, Physiotherapists, Nutritionists, and Exercise Physiologists. All of whom work tirelessly to manage Chronic Disease, limit Acute Illnesses, and ensure the best physical shape a person can achieve.

Who out there would consider themselves a Preventative Nurse? Is there a field I have missed? Comment below and share your experiences through your every day role.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

All Behind Me

I write this post after disposing of every last one of my Mental Health Medications. I no longer have a secret stockpile just in case, I no longer live in fear of having a relapse, I no longer have the same internal struggle whether I wished to live or die. I firmly believe that this is All Behind Me.

I was sorting through our medication box that was tucked up in our hallway cupboard, looking for something to settle my wife’s stomach. Unfortunately I didn’t find anything that could help my wife, but I did find all of my old medications that I used to take for Depression and Anxiety; Lithium, Olanzapine, Sertraline, Temazepam, and Quetiapine. Boxes of them. Hundreds of tablets designed to keep me safe from myself. I looked at them all. I looked at the cost, the number, the side effects, the regime that I was under. I looked at myself. I looked at where I am now, where I have come from. I looked at the bin. I decided that I would no longer keep the medications as some kind of safety net, a fall mat for just in case. I would dispose of them all and finally say good bye to that part of my life.

Since I gave up the medications at the end of last year I have been feeling elated. I am still struggling with my anger, though I am improving day by day. I am more positive than I have been in years. I laugh, I cry, I joke, and I interact. I don’t shy away from social situations, I feel like I have my mojo back. Like I can take on the world, and Win. My job is great, it challenges me, pushes me, but most of all validates me, respects me for me, understands my background, my knowledge, my experience, and uses it. We as a family have been battling with Illness for the better part of 2-3 months, sinuses, snot, and coughing, but we are better together. We play more, interact more, laugh more, enjoy each others company. We live together more.

I write this post knowing that not everyone is having the best time. I know that I have friends and family struggling with their own Mental Health issues, physical health issues, family issues, work issues. I write this knowing that I may not be able to physically do anything about it, but at least I am now physically here to be leant on, to be a shoulder to cry on, to be a sounding board, to listen, and to share with. And sometimes that all you need. To know that there is someone in your life that no matter what, is there for you. Not to provide answers, or pearls of wisdom, but to listen. To allow you to say your piece, cry your eyes out, open your heart and reveal everything. Right before gathering it all back together again, composing oneself, and rejoining the fight. A little bit less burdened knowing that someone has your back.

That’s the feeling I have. I know that I have a great circle of friends, and an unshakable family that have my back. That listen to me whinge, bicker, yell, scream, cry, and in every other way emote. That don’t necessarily have the answers, but are there to just listen. And it helps. It helps a lot.

But I move forward. Every day I move forward and leave the past couple of years behind me. Like a bad memory, and in some cases no memory at all. I leave the drugs behind, the ECT, the weekly Psychologist appointments, and the constant meetings with my Psychiatrist. I leave it all behind, and hope and pray that I never end up there again.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

 

Weight Loss since Jan 2020: 8.5kg

Dungeons and Dragons

As you are all well aware by now, I am a massive GEEK. I enjoy table top board games, playing with plastic men, and have waaaayyyy too many movies and TV shows that start with Star. But most of my love for all things geekery began when I was 10, and I was introduced to the wonderful world of Dungeons and Dragons (D&D).

Dungeons and Dragons

Dungeons and Dragons

Some good friends of mine, and their older more experienced brother, introduced me to D&D one summer afternoon. I had no idea what was involved, what I had to do, or even why I needed so many dice; having not played a game with dice outside of Yahtzee. But never the less, we persevered. I rolled my Level 1 Human Fighter, like most young boys starting out. I chose my weapons based on nothing but how big they where, and how likely I was to chop someone’s head off. We engaged in the scenario, explored the world we had been thrown into. I nearly drowned after I attempted to swim in Chainmail armour. But we learnt. We came across our adversaries, a Goblin Raiding Party, I summarily chopped them into pieces and the day was won. I was hooked. This one campaign on a hot Summers afternoon would spur a 20+ year love affair with Roleplaying Games.

Dungeons and Dragons

Dungeons and Dragons Parties

As the years would go by I would play as part of several groups, some more successful than others. Some I would only reach levels 3-5 where as others I would become an Epic Level character and top out in the mid 60s. No matter what I played, I loved it. It was a way to explore a strange new world, interact with its inhabitants, and throw just a little bit of me into every character. I loved to play. Then someone showed me how to run a game. How to design a world of my own. How to shape the very fabric of space and time and wield it as my own play thing. I was gob smacked. I didn’t realise how much excitement and enjoyment I would get out of creating a whole new world and sharing it with people. I would run a couple, quite unsuccessfully might I add, campaigns in my early days. But it was all in the spirit of learning. I have since created and run many different campaigns, different worlds, in different time periods, using may different rule sets. But I always come back to D&D.

Dungeons and Dragons

Dungeons and Dragons

When I first started playing D&D it was in its 3rd Edition, I would continue to play 3rd Edition until 2020. I also played Pathfinder, Golden, Fantasy Age, Star Wars Roleplaying, and finally D&D 5th Edition. I can see some of you wondering why it jumped from 3rd to 5th edition of D&D? It’s simple. 3rd Edition was amazing, so amazing that people wanted it to constantly expand and improve. So much so that eventually Wizards of the Coast (WotC) who own D&D decided to re-release 3rd Edition as 3.5 Edition. I was not amused. I was staunch in the fact that 3rd Edition was completely fine as it was. So much so that I refused to play 3.5 Edition. Then they released 4th which was such a complete flop that it was almost immediately withdrawn and noted that a better 5th Edition would be on its way. I had the opportunity to play test for 5th Edition in the early days, and I was intrigued by the play style, the nod towards 3rd Edition, but still being its own thing. When I decided to run a game for my Friends I decided it was time to leave behind my beloved 3rd Edition and get with the times, so I began generating a 5th Edition campaign.

Dungeons and Dragons

Dungeons and Dragons

So I began writing in earnest. I started with a basic idea of the Big Bad Evil Guy (BBEG) how he was going to interact with the world, how this was going to change the landscape, and what the party was going to have to do to stop him. I then started to come up with some low level encounters for the party to get started, and before you knew it the World of Eseron was born. I spent nearly two days perfecting the map alone. I love world building, I love creating people for the party to engage with. I love coming up with social structures, social standings, geography, city names, weather events, BBEG, and everything else associated with creating a new world.

I may have even got so wrapped up in my creating, I forgot to post last week. So don’t be alarmed, I hadn’t forgot about you all, I was just a little bit preoccupied. I will share, periodically, how the party is traveling and how the world of Eseron progresses. Do you play D&D? Perhaps another Roleplaying Game? What are your fond memories of the Game? Share them in the comments below.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

 

Weight Loss Since Jan 2020: 6.5kg

Adjusting

Like a ship maintaining course, we make small adjustments in our lives every day. Sometimes it’s as simple as changing the cereal we have for breakfast, changing our morning routines, or adding in a new diet or exercise plan. For me, this week, I have had a challenging adjustment to make… sleep.

Adjusting Course

Adjusting Course

I would classify myself as a night owl, or some kind of permanently exhausted pigeon. I do not do mornings particularly well, though I can rise early if required, And work now requires it. I now start work at 0530. Which means I am up at 0400. Now, I don’t care who you are, thats early! 5 Years ago I wouldn’t have said that was early, I would have told you I was going to bed a touch late. However, I am adjusting. The hardest part I am finding is not actually getting up early enough, its going to bed early enough. I am in such  habit of going to bed at 2200 to 2300 every night, that trying to go to bed at 2000 or 2100 is almost impossible.

The small adjustments we make to our daily lives are important. They keep us on track for our goals, they help us maintain sleep, they help us with our children, our work, our day to day living. Without small adjustments we wold crash into a reef, or into some other metaphorical trouble. Some people resit change, even small change like the adjustments we are talking about now. These people have become so rigid and immovable in their lives that they can’t seem to even budge on the smallest of changes. I am reminded of an old urban legend involving a US Naval Ship;

Americans: Please divert your course 15 degrees to the North to avoid a collision.
Canadians: Recommend you divert YOUR course 15 degrees to the South to avoid a collision.
Americans: This is the Captain of a US Navy ship. I say again, divert YOUR course.
Canadians: No. I say again, you divert YOUR course.
Americans: This is the aircraft carrier USS Lincoln, the second largest ship in the United States’ Atlantic fleet. We are accompanied by three destroyers, three cruisers and numerous support vessels. I demand that YOU change your course 15 degrees north, that’s one five degrees north, or countermeasures will be undertaken to ensure the safety of this ship.
Canadians: This is a lighthouse. Your call
Carrier vs Lighthouse

Carrier vs Lighthouse

We all laugh at the thought of a US Aircraft Carrier arguing with a lighthouse, but for some people it is their reality. We come across these immovable objects every day. And we find ourselves being the ones to make the small adjustments to avoid them. This can leave us feeling put out, feel like we are worthless, or even like is was our fault that we had to adjust. We need to remind ourselves that it is OK to make small adjustments in course, so that we do not become these immovable Aircraft Carriers.

Adjusting Course

Adjusting Course

I will continue to try and adjust to early mornings, I will continue to make small adjustments in my life to stay on track, like my diet to lose weight, my schedule to have more time with family, and my habits to try and facilitate a more balanced lifestyle. Maybe there is a small adjustment you have made in your life recently, or one you can see on the horizon? Share it in the comments below and show everyone you aren’t afraid to adjust your course.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

 

Weight Loss this Year: 4kgs

Outside the Box

When we think of Nursing, or for those outside the field, Nurses, we tend to think of Hospitals, Doctors Surgeries, and Aged Care Homes. But, as my recent furor with the job  market will attest, there are plenty of unknown opportunities. I was unaware that some Schools still employ Nurses, there is the Prison system which employs on site Nurses, the Meat Works employs Nurses as I will bear witness to, along with some Mine Sites, Cattle Stations, and of course the Military. My advice to you, as the potential Graduate Nurse, or Re-Deploying Nurse are the following three things; Look Wide, Ask Everyone, Talk to People.

Nursing Imagery

Nursing Imagery

Look Wide

As I have hinted towards already there is a large and varied workforce in which to select from when it comes to Nursing. Each one has its own pros and cons, and you as the Nurse will have to weight those up for yourself. For example, I would trade salary for time with family and availability to volunteer. So a Monday to Friday, Dayshift, or at least rotating roster were you can plan more than two weeks ahead, was worth more to me than an extra couple of dollars an hour. To this end, when you have decided what you want out of the job look everywhere, even places you wouldn’t expect. Look outside of Seek, Job Search, or the local Paper, jobs these days are also advertised on LinkedIn, Company Websites, or even FaceBook. Look in places that you would not have normally considered like Schools, Meat Works, the Military. Apply for EVERYTHING as you may not be successful your first few interviews, regardless of experience.

Dreaded Job Hunt

Dreaded Job Hunt

Ask Everyone

Don’t be afraid to ask around, ask those in the field, ask your friends, ask your acquaintances, or do what I did and ask FaceBook. Whatever your tactic for this particular portion is, be ruthless. Don’t be afraid to ask people you haven’t spoken to in a while, don’t be afraid to ask people if there is a job at their workplace, ask if they have heard anything, ask if they know someone who knows someone who might know about a job. The point being ASK EVERYONE!

Social Callout

Social Callout

Talk to People

While I was looking for a Registered Nurses Job one of the things I took it upon myself to do was to email EVERY SINGLE GP Clinic in my Hometown, Rockhampton. I must have sent out 30 emails to all of the Practice Managers with my Resume and a Written Reference. Some wrote back to me fairly quickly with a Dear John email stating they didn’t have any positions at the time. I had two interviews, and a call back for a third after I accepted my job at Teys. I also applied to the Three Hospitals Nursing Pool, and directly to several of the wards. None of these places were advertising for Nurses, none of them were asking for my application, and most of them at least wrote back to me in some form or another. As I mentioned in Ask Everyone, most of the Nursing jobs secured, especially in a small town such as mine, will be by who you know. With a little bit of what you know as well. The job I ended up with wasn’t advertised, was a suggestion by a mate of mine, and started with an unsolicited email to the HR manager of Teys. So Talk to People, it may land you the job you didn’t even know existed.

Never Know Who Will Have the Job

Never Know Who Will Have the Job

These are three quick and helpful hints to assist you with your Job Hunt, whether it’s for a Graduate Position, a Re-Deployment, First Enrolled Nurse Job, or Re-Entering the Workforce after a sabbatical. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone, drop an email, post on Social Media, or do the classic walk around with your Resume. When it comes to Employment it may not come easy, you may have to work for it, but it will all be worth it once you are working in the best profession in the World.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

 

Weight Loss Since January 1: 5kg

Answered Prayers

I have always believed that Social Media should be exactly that, Social. I also believe that when used properly, great things can be done; whether it be raising funds for a charitable cause, spreading warnings about flood or fire, sharing News about a lost child, or in my case finding myself a job. During this whole process there were many people involved, many shares, many likes, many comments, there was also a team of people who were praying for me, for the right job, at the right place, with the right conditions. These prayers are the ones that have been answered.

Social Callout

Social Callout

Social Media whether it be FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram, Twitch, SnapChat, or otherwise has a lot of bad press. And for very good reason. These platforms are no longer about the sharing of ideas, photos, moments in time, memories, or life together but instead have become a platform of hate, ill will, debauchery, filth, and simply put Anti-Social Behaviour. I was glad, and not to mention a little surprised, by the overwhelming positive feedback, comments, likes, and conversation that my post generated. Now, it was in no means trending or ‘going viral’ but it still reached a large, and appropriate, audience. And most importantly it landed on the screen of someone who had just the right job in mind.

Anti-Social Media

Anti-Social Media

Now it shouldn’t come as a surprise to my regular readers, but I do actually attend a Church on a regular basis, and with that comes a pretty tight knit community of people who are genuinely concerned about how you are travelling. So as you can imagine when I posted on Facebook that I was looking for work the prayer warriors did two things; 1) Kept an eye and ear out for an RN job and 2) Began fervently praying for the right Job, at the Right place, with the Right conditions, and the Right renumeration. I don’t normally pray for myself, I find it oddly self servient and distasteful. But, on this occasion, I prayed for myself. I prayed for the same thing the prayer warriors were, I was believing in the perfect Job, the one He set aside for me. Well, the Prayers were answered, and with Gusto.

Answered Prayers

Answered Prayers

My perfect RNs role, for this moment in my life, involved a number of different things;

  1. Stability – Being able to plan my life further then 2 weeks in advance
  2. Workplace – Being part of a Workplace that is people focussed
  3. Distance – Close to home, not that anything in Rockhampton is ‘Far Away’
  4. Renumeration – A comfortable amount of money to bring into the House
  5. Flexibility – The ability to arrange my Work life to suit my Home life if needed
  6. Challenging – A workplace that would challenge my skills
  7. Time – Somewhere where I was actually able to see my children and wife on a regular basis and not just in passing between shifts and sleep

And thats the role I have found. For those astute enough, and those who subscribe to my Social Media, would know the position is at Teys Rockhampton, one of the local Beef Processing Facilities. It is one of the largest employers in Rockhampton and they have been without a Nurse for nearly two years, in fact in that time I was the first to be interviewed. Talk about God holding a position open for you.

I look forward to the new challenges ahead in Occupational Nursing and I am thankful for my opportunities a HillCrest whilst I was there. I look forward to new connections, new skills learnt, new language barriers overcome, new cultural issues overcome. I look forward to a workplace that empowers me to be me, and facilitates that wherever possible. I look forward to what the future holds. 2020 has started off really well so far, here’s hoping it keeps it up.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Check In

So after a month of being off my medication, looking for a new Job since graduation, and hitting 2020 like an out of shape boxer, I thought it prudent to perform a little check in. This serves both to satisfy my own sanity and to let my readers know I’m not completely falling apart. I will use the DASS score to assess where I am at mentally, along with a set reflection as the DASS has its own limitations. I will also share about some of my struggles since coming off my medication and the strategies I have put in place.

So the measurable things first. DASS. I used the Das 42 to ascertain my levels of Anxiety, Depression, and Stress. Typically I score reasonably high on Anxiety and Depression, and despite not feeling stressed, I usually score some ridiculous number.

DASS Scores

DASS Scores

As you can see, my score being the darker colour and the normal being the lighter colour, the DASS has me sitting pretty well. Being on the higher end of normal for Stress is seriously the best score I have EVER had, I scored nearly 40 in one of the last ones I took. This test thinks I am doing pretty well, and I would have to agree. I haven’t felt true anxiety for quite a while due to medications, and I was worried that they would make a resurgence but even with the added anxiety and uncertainty around Job interviews and applications I have felt pretty good. My depression is mainly due to adjusting to life without medications again. What the DASS doesn’t show is the opposite emotions. I have felt more periods of absolute elation, hysteria (in a good way), happiness, and fancy free than I have in years. I have been openly laughing at movies, TV, people’s jokes, entertaining scenarios, and things that I would normally find amusing. I have also been experiencing the opposite too. I found myself in one afternoon laughing myself silly to Lilo and Stitch, and then nearly balling my eyes out at the end of a Bluey episode. These swings are becoming easier to manage, but I also welcome my full gambit of emotions back into the fold.

Emotions

Emotions

It hasn’t been all smooth sailing and laughter however. I have found myself more irritable than I have been in years. This has meant that, at times, loved ones around me have copped the brunt of it. I have had several… heated discussions… with my wife in the past month over my behaviour and mood, and rightly so. I know I am on a journey with my emotions and there are going to be speed bumps, but that does not give me licence to be a jack hole. Sleep has been a little hit a miss, I have returned to taking anywhere from 45 minutes to several hours to get to sleep, however once I am asleep I tend to stay there for a reasonable amount of time. I have tried putting strategies in place when sleep eludes me like reading a book, praying, leaving the room the get a drink, or something else that just changes the situation enough to give it a go again. So far it is working. Getting up in the morning is still a bit of a struggle, but I have never been a morning person, and whilst I was on the medication it was almost impossible to wake me up and get me moving unless the drugs had worn off enough. These things have been improving over the past weeks but will take more time, so stay posted.

Dreaded Job Hunt

Dreaded Job Hunt

Otherwise, things are travelling pretty well. I am a little disillusioned with the Job hunt thus far, but I remain confident the right job, at the right workplace is out there and I just have to find it or have it thrust upon me really. I am looking in places I would not have considered in the past, either because I thought that schools didn’t have nurses anymore or some workplaces didn’t employ them, I have also tried GP clinics which is something I wouldn’t have considered previously. It is interesting to see how many different facets of Nursing there really is, and I thought I knew most of them already. It is also refreshing, as someone who is constantly trying to improve the community between Nurses both within Rockhampton and outside of, it is good to know these opportunities exist, as it may be the perfect fit for someone else in the future. Again, I will keep everyone posted on the Job front.

Checking In

Checking In

Otherwise, everything continues to tick over. My wife goes back to work today, my Son in a week, the Girls have been back at daycare for a week which has given Wife and I plenty of time to get things done around the house, not necessarily achieved them, but time to do so. I truly look forward to what 2020 has to offer, and the brighter outlook I have off my medication.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Die to Self

For several nights now, actually more like just over a week, I have been having wonderfully vivid dreams. These dreams tend to stick with me when I wake up, and I remember great detail about them. These dreams I share with my wife. She notices that the ‘Evil Villain’ in all of my dreams bears a remarkable likeness to characteristics and traits of myself. Furthermore, she states, that in these dreams whereby I am “Defeating Myself” perhaps I am actually trying to formulate or perpetuate the idea that I should be removing these sometimes negative traits and bettering myself. To Die to Self, in a manner of speaking.

Not Me Sleeping

Not Me Sleeping

A few days ago I was vainly attempting to get to sleep. I had been tossing and turning for nearly 2 hours and I was done. I was becoming frustrated, agitated, and I was getting nowhere and fast. I knew that if I didn’t do something soon, the night’s sleep was a write off. So I stopped. I calmed down. And I prayed. I asked God for peace, quiet, and to finally rest and go to sleep. Well, eventually it worked. I would get to sleep. But not before I was smashed in the face over and over again the verse Romans 8:28

And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.

I read the passage several times to ensure the meaning wasn’t lost, then I turn over and got some much needed sleep. In the morning I shared my experience with my Wife. She reminded me that the verse was the theme from Church, for almost the entire year. I guess I needed to hear it now, and not in 2019. We both found it interesting, however, that this scripture had come up at the same times as the dreams I had been having. For anyone who has been a Christian for a while will attest, when a work is going to begin in your life there are signs along the way… these where those.

Purpose

Purpose

This Sunday just gone our Senior Pastors Son preached. He preached on the need to be focussed on goals and purpose for 2020, as so many people fail to meet theirs every year. But, he also shared on one verse, and one verse only, which made me consider things differently, it comes from 1 Corinthians 10:31

So then, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of [our great] God.

It isn’t just about what we do, but who we do it for. In a lot of ways, I could stand to Die to Self. I am naturally pragmatic, my wife would say Destructively Negative, but semantics. I can be forthright, which stems from my natural standpoint of wanting it done right and timely in the first place, which people have called Overbearing. I possess strong leadership qualities, some would say Bossy even when I don’t have the “authority” to be so. I am deeply passionate regarding certain things, my Son would say quick to anger. In these regards I could stand to Die to Self a little and shed some of the potency of these traits. I could “Be less of Me” as I have been told once. But in this regard I would find it difficult to simply change and become someone who is, in my book, the Diet Coke version of Me.

Die to Self

Die to Self

However, if I was to Die to Self for merely my own sake, or even for the comfort of those around me, then my journey is going to fall short even before it begins. But, if I am to die to self because it is the right thing to do by God, and in turn become a better person for those around me, then the journey is already half over, the battles are won, and I can move forward. This does not mean to say that I am from this day forth going to be better, but what it does mean is that I have a path ahead of me, and the best wing man anyone can ask for. So what does all this mean exactly, well as folks in 2020 like lists and goals here it is;

  1. See the light in others, if all I see is the dark then I can’t be very bright myself
  2. Give others a go, others can’t grow or even be given the chance to shine while I keep taking the opportunities away from them
  3. Soften the words I use, the old adage of catching more flies with honey than vinegar springs to mind, also people don’t like being beaten with proverbial bricks
  4. Swear less, this is simple, I don’t want my kids using the language and lets face it, its unbecoming anyway
  5. Fill my cup with something better, I can fill my cup with coffee, the news, the world, but what I need to do is fill it with the Word and let that pour out onto others

It’s a start, and that’s where all journeys begin. It’s not a resolution, but more of a personal Revolution. A chance to change for the better and perhaps move into what God has planned for my life.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Better or Worse

I trust that everyone reading this blog had a restful Christmas and New Year. I know I enjoyed the time with family and friends as I ramp up into 2020. Thank you to everyone for their patience during the break time here at Maintain the Rage.

During my time off I had a lot of time to reflect on where I was, how I was feeling, life in general, and what I wanted out of 2020. One of the thing that I knew I wanted to change was weight, the other was to regain control over my emotions and the ongoing effects of my medication. I noted that my medication could be contributing to both my weight and the numbness I was experiencing. Most of the medication that I was on, namely Seroquel, Lithium, and Venlafaxine all act to reduce the swings in mood and control depressive episodes, but also have the nasty side effect of weight gain. These two factors led to the choice, without consultation with my medical team, to cease my medications. For better or Worse.

No More Meds

No More Meds

The first step was to research the right ways to cease my medications. Most could be stopped reasonably easily without too many issues. the Seroquel and Lithium however would have potential side effects if ceased. These side effects would be small for a long period if weaned down slowly, or a week of pain if ceased suddenly. For better or worse, I chose the week of pain. I ceased all of medications knowing I would experience mood swings, insomnia, dizziness, nausea, headaches, and a list of other potentials. Most of these side effects would be reasonably minor and manageable. Insomnia was hell for the first two nights, no sleep there, a couple of nights with help from Phenergan, and my sleep returned, if not a little broken. Headaches were managed with hydration and aspirin as needed. The nausea wasn’t too bad. Mood swings were managed as I was on my own most of the time anyway, as my family were visiting family in Western Australia, and I was taking the opportunity to rest up before a big camp that was coming up. The worst and most annoying side effect was definitely the dizziness. The only way to describe it was like being tipsy all the time. I felt that every day started with 6 or seven beers and never let up. Since then the side effects have subsided and I feel that I am now completely off my medications, so now the only thing left is deal with my emotions.

Rollercoaster of Emotion

Rollercoaster of Emotion

Since the drugs are no longer in my system I have been feeling the full gambit of my emotions, in their full, unbridled fashion. This has been great, in some respects, as I don’t feel numb or disconnected from myself or those around me. The down side is I have been swinging from hysterical laughter, to crying, to blood boiling rage. I have not been managing these very well and it has led to arguments with friends, family members, my children, my wife, and myself. It has meant that something I would normally have dealt with appropriately and civilly was instead dealt with; sarcasm, a sharp tongue, or harsh words. Those around me know of the part of the journey I am on and are, thankfully, patient but this won’t be the case forever. I know I will regain control, even if it is a little slower than I would like, however I believe this choice needed to be made, for better or worse.

For Better or Worse

For Better or Worse

I will continue to share my journey through mental health, and all of the lumps and bumps along the way. I will continue to monitor myself, and have safeguards in place to ensure I don’t wind up where I was last year. I am taking a hiatus from my psychiatrist and psychologist while I work out what I want from myself and work through the rollercoaster of emotions. For better or worse.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

 

Wednesday Weigh In Eight

I am fat and lazy. I seem unable or unwilling to do anything about it. I attempted to diet on a VLCD and failed, I tried Shakes and failed, I’m eating sensibly with smaller portions and the right food, still FAT!

Goal = >100kg

Start = 144.5kg

Current = 145.0kg

Loss to Date = +0.5kg

Weight To Go = 45.1kg

As you can see I have come full circle in just 6 weeks. I’m sick of being fat, but I am also sick of fad diets, starving myself, and generally trying to fit into a mould that maybe I just don’t belong in. By the number I am healthy. BP is good, Heart Rate is goos, Bloods are great. I have no indication that my weight is having a negative impact on me. Except my self image and self esteem. But you know what, maybe I’m OK being a little chubby, makes me harder to kidnap. If we really are only here for one trip, maybe I should just enjoy what I want, when I want, and to hell with Social ideal of what I should look like.

I will be taking a sabbatical from the Wednesday Weigh In posts. This is both due to the negative mental state it is pushing me into, and because I still believe that any weight loss is not going to occur until I return to running around like a headless chook at work. But we will see.

I don’t know, maybe I’m just justifying the means.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

 

Teenage Years

I was a little stumped on what to share this week as my week has been pretty benign. I thought I would ask the youngest person I know who reads my blogs to give me inspiration, my son. He asked that I write about Relationship Advice, or the trials and tribulations of my teenage years. I have decided that Teenage Years it is. My Teenage years were a rollercoaster ride of emotions, experiences, and interactions. The years can be divided up into School, Friends, Everything Else. This will give the clearest picture of what my teenage years were like.

Calwell High School

Calwell High School

School

School for my teenage years was, like every child in Canberra, into two location, Calwell High School for grades 7 to 10 and Lake Tuggeranong College for grades 11 and 12. Calwell High was a public school in a mid to low socioeconomic area. There was no uniform, only a colour code that was barely adhered to. The teachers tried their best but were worn down by years of attitude and filth. Most of the schools funding a resources were spent replacing or fixing equipment and facilities that had been destroyed by students. Fights were frequent, and often involved weapons of both the ad hoc and very deliberate type. There were issues with violence, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, and general poor behaviour. Police visits, both called and random, were commonplace. There would be a fence erected around the school, not to keep people out, but students in. Often relief teachers would be asked to come in and baby sit 2 to 3 classes at a time, which is somewhere near 100 children.

With the scene set this is the High School I attended. Before I go any further I don’t regret going to the school, I don’t resent my parents for sending me there, and I don’t blame anything on anyone outside of the situations described henceforth. My earliest memory of the school was outside the art class room, a class which to this day I have never excelled at. I was standing out the from with my backpack over both shoulders, shirt tucked into my jeans, and sneakers on. It was the 90s leave me alone. I was approached by one of my classmate who said if I didn’t want to get picked on I should untuck my shirt and only carry my bag on one shoulder. I thanked her for the advice, acted upon it, and continued to wait outside. No more that 5 minutes later it would prove that no matter what I did I was going to get picked on. I was not the statuesque man mountain I am now, at the time I was the better part of 5′ 2″ tall and rotund to say the least. This drew the attention of the Jocks, my mildly ethic looks and distinct lack of ethnicity caught the attention of the Lebanese and Greek crowd, and the catty girls followed the jocks so you can guess where that went.

Through my 4 years that I spent at Calwell I was seen as the short, fat, nerdy kid. I was picked on, harassed, bullied both verbally and physically every day of my schooling life. This did grate on me, I did spend days, weeks, and months dreading the very thought of going to school. I did though continue to attend most day short of a physical ailment. And though it was emotionally and physically tough to do so, it did build resilience and toughened my exterior. I learnt how to read people better. I learnt how to take a punch. How to stand up to people at the right moment. I learnt how to survive in a less then pleasant environment. All of this while still trying to study and do well enough to pass and succeed.

Lake Tuggeranong College

Lake Tuggeranong College

My graduation from Calwell High School was an absolute blessing. It meant the end of torture, beating, bullying, and the start of something new. The reason why this was such a God send was years 11 and 12 were not compulsory for Canberra students, and most of the bullies dropped out, and the ones who stayed behind realised that between graduating December one year and coming back to school the next I had grown nearly a foot to a shade over 6 feet. So bullies were no longer an issue. Classes were interesting and engaging. Free lines were amazing. And life just got better. Not to mention the light was at the end of the tunnel. GRADUATION!!

Despite the release that was Graduation, what it really marked was the end of childhood and the beginning of adulthood. It meant responsibility, bills, cars, loans, bills, rent, mortgages, bills, and more responsibilities. And though I took these in my stride, securing a full time job straight out of college, securing my own home by the age of 19, and joining the military at 22. It certainly didn’t mean the transition from school to the real world was without issue. Poor financial choices, poor friend choices, and poor life choices in general meant I hurt my family for my own selfish need or gain, and that is never right. Yet another lesson learnt really.

Friends.jpg

Friends

Friendships are forged out of need, circumstance, opportunity, action, or some mixture of all. My high school friends were a mixture of all of the aforementioned. During year 7 the three ladies above where running a performing arts lunch project in which young teenagers explore their emotions, behaviours, and reactions to different scenarios that were plaguing young people. I participated because i was both interested and it provided a lunchtime safe haven. However, the friendship wouldn’t truly kick in till Tegan, the one in the hat, found me one day crying in the playground. You see I had a rather savage falling out with people who I though were my friends, were in actual fact they were just using me and teasing me about it behind my  back. Tegan invited me to come and hang with her circle of friends, some of whom I knew, like Kate and Sophia (left to right in the photo). This friendship, though I never would have guessed it at the time, has survived trials and tribulations of high school, college, real life, mortgages, relationships, breakups, arguments, and every thing else you can imagine. Though I don’t talk to them as much as I used to, or should for that matter, these three are some of my closest friends. And I truly miss them all.

Everything Else

Teenage years are a mixture of hormones, bad choices, bad skin, bad people, bad circumstances, and bad more bad choices. I am a firm believer in everything happens for a reason, and I wouldn’t change a single part of my teenage years. Not the beating, not the dodgy school, not the dodgy girlfriends, the bad choices, the bad focusses in life, nor the body choice of first house to move to into. Every single choice and experience has made me the person I am today, and you should equally treasure your life choices for the same reason. I have totalled cars, blow up engines (yes plural), hurt people, hurt myself, pushed the wrong people away, held onto the wrong people, prioritised the wrong things, and as always made bad choices. I wouldn’t know what I know about now with cars if not for the little accidents along the way. I wouldn’t know what I know now about people if I didn’t have all of the negative experiences, and a whole lot of positive ones too. Don’t be too quick to move out of a situation, unless its not safe in which case leave that place yesterday, as it may be trying to teach you something. It may not make sense now, but and 10 or 20 years time, it may become relevant.

Teenagers

Teenagers

I may not have enjoyed every day of my teenage years, but it has made me the resilient, well rounded, educated, compassionate, caring, loving person I am today. I don’t regret a day, and neither should you. Enjoy the simpler times that are the teenage years, before everything becomes even more complicated.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Wednesday Weigh In Seven

I am fat. I seem unable or unwilling to do anything about it. I attempted to diet on a VLCD and failed, I tried Shakes and failed, I’m eating sensibly with smaller portions and the right food, still FAT!

Goal = >100kg

Start = 144.5kg

Current = 144.3kg

Loss to Date = 0.2kg

Weight To Go = 44.4kg

FAT

FAT

As you can see I have come full circle in just 6 weeks. I’m sick of being fat, but I am also sick of fad diets, starving myself, and generally trying to fit into a mould that maybe I just don’t belong in. By the number I am healthy. BP is good, Heart Rate is goos, Bloods are great. I have no indication that my weight is having a negative impact on me. Except my self image and self esteem. But you know what, maybe I’m OK being a little chubby, makes me harder to kidnap. If we really are only here for one trip, maybe I should just enjoy what I want, when I want, and to hell with Social ideal of what I should look like.

I don’t know, maybe I’m just justifying the means.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

 

Pain

As most of my regular readers are aware, I am no stranger to pain. I have suffered through 15 operations in 8 years, have suffered through the recovery for all of them, have numerous permanent conditions that cause all sorts of chronic pain, and all at the tender age of 32. This is not meant to illicit sympathy or cause a feel of shock. This is a cautionary tale that I hope someone who reads this will take heed.

Five of my surgeries were in direct relation to a genetic or since birth conditions. Most of them are Ear, Nose, and Throat related. I have had my Tonsils removed, my Adenoids removed, and my nose holes widened (technically its the Turbinates being widened). The other was a Hiatus Hernia repair. Thankfully these don’t cause constant pain, they are in fact, among the most successful surgeries I have had. The only negative to any of them is my Hiatus Hernia Repair has meant that I need to consume my foo slower, otherwise it gets stuck above the diaphragm which causes a fair amount of pain. Out of these procedures the removal of Tonsils was the most painful and uncomfortable. I cannot even begin to describe the level of pain even drinking water caused. So take note, when your small ones have had their removed and say its painful, THEY AREN’T LYING!

Carpal Tunnel Release

Carpal Tunnel Release

The next cautionary tale is about listening to your body, and acting on its warning signs. At the beginning of 2016 I had some pretty severe lower abdomen pain. I didn’t think much of it as it felt like I had eaten too much junk food, so I ignored it. this pain went on for several days, getting worse the whole time. Then, four days later, I could barely get out of bed because of the pain. My wife put her foot down and bundled me in the car to go to the hospital. I was quickly seen by the ED staff, and after much poking and prodding it was decided I had appendicitis. I was taken in to theatre to have it removed. Now an appendectomy is a 30-45 minute procedure. After my wife didn’t receive a call for four hours, she called the hospital, only to be told I was still in theatre. She finally received a phone call six hours after being taken into theatre to say I was out. Turns out my Colon had a severe case of Diverticulitis, and had ruptured. Filling my abdomen with, well, faeces. After much cleaning up, removing nearly 12 inches of my bowel, and creating a stoma, I was on the ward. This ordeal would last six months, with numerous returns to ED, two more surgeries, half a meter of scar tissue, and one hell of story, Thankfully there is no ongoing pain or issues following this ordeal. However at the time, especially with a long midline incision, there was much pain during the recovery. So listen to what your body is telling you.

Post Stoma Reversal

Post Stoma Reversal

No doubt my biggest issue is all things Orthopedics. I have had a Tibial Tuberosity Transfer (TTT) on both of my knees, a Bankart repair to my Right shoulder, Bicep Tendonesis to my Right Shoulder, excision of my Distal Clavical, and excision of my Sub Acromium. Most recently, 3 days ago to be exact, I had a Carpal Tunnel Release to my Right Hand. To be blunt, ORTHOPAEDIC SURGERIES HURT. Each surgery has meant weeks to months of pain and agony as I recover from the operation. It has also left me with Chronic pain to my Knees and Shoulder. It has meant I have to be careful with some activities and make sure I am using proper lifting techniques, not squatting, and not working above my head. So my warning regarding anything Orthopaedic is be sure that the remedy is not worse than the condition.

ED Trip Number 347

ED Trip Number 347

If someone can take something away from what I have been through, then it will have not been for naught. I know that this story seems like a a bit of a pity party, but that is not the intention. It is a cautionary tale to look after yourself, listen to what you body is telling you, and go into any decision regrading surgery with open eyes.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Wednesday Weigh In Six

For those astute readers out there you will notice that this post seems remarkably similar to my previous Weigh in day Wednesday Weigh Day. In that series I endeavoured to loose weight by reducing my daily intake of Kilojoules to 5000 per day. After 18 weeks of dieting I had lost roughly 16 kilos, but my depression decided to kick me in the guts and I began over eating, indulging in way too many sweets, and comfort eating almost every meal.

This week was a blow out. I ate take out too often, large starchy meals, and consumed milk and juice like it was water. This has seen the obvious increase in my weight this week. We are trying a different tack, when I can control myself, which is to eat food instead of shakes, but still try and keep the Kilojoules as low as possible.

Now for the scary part, the numbers and pictures:

Goal = >100kg

Start = 144.5kg

Current = 141.6kg

Loss to Date = 2.9kg

Weight To Go = 41.7kg

Wednesday Weigh In Six Front

Wednesday Weigh In Six Front

Wednesday Weigh In Six Side

Wednesday Weigh In Six Side

Not an overly flattering view, but this image, this ever-growing round mass that is my body, is the reason for the extreme weight loss measures that are in place. It is for my children, my future, my health that I need to lose the weight. And oddly enough, I need to do it for me. To improve my mental state, to improve my confidence, to improve my self worth. No longer do I want to be the fat guy at the table, the waste disposal unit, the guy that no one thinks much of because he obviously doesn’t think much of himself. I WILL lose the weight, I WILL keep it off, and I WILL be a healthier person for it.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

 

AirPod Pro

Anyone who has known me for longer then about 15 minutes knows I am an Apple Fan Boy. I have the phone, the computer, the tablet, the TV, and now the wireless headphones. My wife and I decided to treat ourselves to an early Christmas Present. Now I am a firm believer that technology is an adjunct to our daily lives as apposed to necessities, and the AirPod Pros are no exception. They are, however, a superb product and deliver everything they advertise. I will look at the AirPos Pros in the vein of a review, and also dissect the impact of such technology on our lives and society as a whole.

AirPod Pros Expanded

AirPod Pros Expanded

The AirPod Pros are designed to be the next big thing following the release of the AirPods a couple of years ago. The added features of the Pros include;

  • Silicone ear canal buds
  • Active Noise Cancelling
  • ‘Hey Siri’ functionality
  • Wireless charging case
  • Improved Battery life
  • Improved Sound Quality
  • Water and Sweet Resistance

Though this list isn’t exhaustive, nor does it seem that impressive, but it does finally bring the AirPods into competition with better wireless headphones by companies such as Sennheiser, Bose, and even their own company Beats. Now the Pros really do deliver everything that is listed. I have been using Apple headphones almost exclusively for 5 years, and the Pros definitely have the best sound I have heard so far. They tote a warm low end, crisp and clear mid field, and shrill high ends that won’t disappoint. Now, I have listened to music on other headphones, both wired and wireless, over ear, on ear, and in ear. So when I say that the AirPod Pros can compete with the other in ear varieties, I mean it. Battery life thus fas has been amazing, the case works as a portable charging station for the AirPods while out and about, and the transition between sides is seamless. Hey Siri has all of the normal functionality, and has no problem dictating messages, emails, or otherwise. As a handsfree alternative the AirPod Pros really come in their own. The AirPods actively eliminate background noise, while simultaneously boosting the vocals. The result is a clear signal sent to the other party, and because of their clear audio the received signal is just as clear. All in all, I am thoroughly enjoying the product, even with its $399 price tag.

AirPod Pros

AirPod Pros

The question that now exists is how will products, such as the AirPod Pros, impact our lives, and how will it change the way we do things. In the immediate, AirPods may just seem like a way for us to listen to music, podcasts, books, or otherwise. However, I believe we need to look at how we all began to listen to music. Originally we had to physically have the musicians at our home, or attend a hall to listen to music. We had very little say in what was actually played, and the only choice we had in the matter was whether we attended a particular artist or not, not too dissimilar to the Gigs and concerts we now have, but a little less grand. We move forward to the recording of sound onto Vinyl and the transmission of sound through the airwaves. This greatly increased the accessibility of music. A person could buy albums to listen to at home, or tune into different radio stations to listen to different music. 8-Track, Cassette, and CD would greatly increase the accessibility of music, and mainstream the idea of custom music playlists of the individual, not the artist or studio. Time progresses MP3s become the mainstay, and before you know it, Streaming services are on our door step. These streaming services opened our world of music to the World, Apple Music for example totes over 50 million tracks, and growing daily. You couple a seemingly infinite music library and wireless portable headphones and you have yourself a personal concert, every single day. In the end, AirPod Pros coupled with Streaming Services have changed the way we listen to music, yet again.

I welcome the change in the way music is delivered. I have always felt encumbered by CDs and even a personal MP3 library, so I am glad there is freedom in the listening to music yet again. I look forward to what technology will bring next, I just hope its not out of reach of the average user.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Wednesday Weigh In Five

For those astute readers out there you will notice that this post seems remarkably similar to my previous Weigh in day Wednesday Weigh Day. In that series I endeavoured to loose weight by reducing my daily intake of Kilojoules to 5000 per day. After 18 weeks of dieting I had lost roughly 16 kilos, but my depression decided to kick me in the guts and I began over eating, indulging in way too many sweets, and comfort eating almost every meal.

This week has seen more stagnation with my weight loss. This has put into question the reason why my Wife and I are serving ourselves with shakes, maybe we should return to a normal Calorie restricting diet.

Now for the scary part, the numbers and pictures:

Goal = >100kg

Start = 144.5kg

Current = 139.5kg

Loss to Date = 5.0kg

Weight To Go = 39.6kg

Wednesday Weigh In Five Front

Wednesday Weigh In Five Front

Wednesday Weigh In Five Side

Wednesday Weigh In Five Side

Not an overly flattering view, but this image, this ever-growing round mass that is my body, is the reason for the extreme weight loss measures that are in place. It is for my children, my future, my health that I need to lose the weight. And oddly enough, I need to do it for me. To improve my mental state, to improve my confidence, to improve my self worth. No longer do I want to be the fat guy at the table, the waste disposal unit, the guy that no one thinks much of because he obviously doesn’t think much of himself. I WILL lose the weight, I WILL keep it off, and I WILL be a healthier person for it.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

 

Reason to Write

As bloggers we all write for different reasons. Some write to have a message heard, some write to reach the masses, some to simply have their thoughts written down, and some (like me) write to reflect on their life and hope that the struggles they are going through are not selfdom alone. When I started Maintain the Rage in 2017, I never expected anyone to read my blog outside of family and friends. To this day I am still surprised by the fact that several hundred choose to visit my blog on a weekly basis. But I am left wondering, what is my reason to write in the future.

Blogging

Blogging

I do not think that my thoughts, reflections, and musings will stop being my main source of material. What we indeed all go through on a daily basis is the source of much material. I feel that these reflections either need to be more targeted or have a different focus. I have been reading other blogs of late on ‘How to Blog’ and the like, and most say to have a clearly defined voice, and subsequently a clearly defined target market. Sometimes I feel I am writing with a shotgun, so to speak. I write to so many different topics, with different views, and with different audiences that some days I wonder if I will ever find my niche.

Writing

Writing

My life, like so many others, is a coming together of all the small parts of our days. For me that generally consists of;

  • Parenting
  • Being a Husband
  • Nursing
  • Being a Friend
  • Scouts
  • Blogging
  • Being a Son
  • Being a Brother
  • Being a Mentor
  • Chairing Committees
  • Weight Loss
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

Thats a lot of different things to focus on. For me I write about what has occupied my week, or is currently occupying space in my Brain. This does mean that for the most part no two blog posts from week to week follow the same topic. Which means I am aiming at different groups, different parts of the internet. I have found this hard. I have found that my ability to share the message is not good enough. However, I am also unsure of how to fix it.

Blog

Blog

I will continue to write about my life. I will continue in the only style that feel natural to me. I will continue to share the message as best I can, and rely on others to fill the gap and share it to theirs. I hope you enjoy reading my posts and I hope you will continue to return, don’t hesitate to bring a friend.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Wednesday Weigh In Four

For those astute readers out there you will notice that this post seems remarkably similar to my previous Weigh in day Wednesday Weigh Day. In that series I endeavoured to loose weight by reducing my daily intake of Kilojoules to 5000 per day. After 18 weeks of dieting I had lost roughly 16 kilos, but my depression decided to kick me in the guts and I began over eating, indulging in way too many sweets, and comfort eating almost every meal.

This week has seen a stagnation with my weight loss. This is most likely due to taking the weekend off whilst camping, and the continued use of sweets after dinner. It is evident that I will have to be more vigilant with what I shove in my mouth.

Now for the scary part, the numbers and pictures:

Goal = >100kg

Start = 144.5kg

Current = 139.5kg

Loss to Date = 5.0kg

Weight To Go = 39.6kg

Wednesday Weigh In Four Front

Wednesday Weigh In Four Front

Wednesday Weigh In Four Side

Wednesday Weigh In Four Side

Not an overly flattering view, but this image, this ever-growing round mass that is my body, is the reason for the extreme weight loss measures that are in place. It is for my children, my future, my health that I need to lose the weight. And oddly enough, I need to do it for me. To improve my mental state, to improve my confidence, to improve my self worth. No longer do I want to be the fat guy at the table, the waste disposal unit, the guy that no one thinks much of because he obviously doesn’t think much of himself. I WILL lose the weight, I WILL keep it off, and I WILL be a healthier person for it.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

 

Happy Memories

This weekend saw another camp with friends and family at Seeonee Park, a local Scout Campground. We sat around and chewed the fat, we played cards, we burned things, we threw the kids in the back of the ute and drove around the grounds, but best of all we simply existed together. These things all created Happy Memories, but there were also the Happy Memories that were triggered by activities. Memories of driving around Nan and Grandads property running errands, memories of bouncing around in the back of the ute mustering, and enjoying the quiet serenity of rural landscape after a hard day’s work.

The weekend just gone was a camping weekend for my eldest son’s 17th Birthday. He had a couple of his friends come out and camp with us and we wiled away the weekend with activities and food. We sent the teenagers on a scavenger hunt that led them all around the campgrounds and discover the hidden gems that Seeonee had to offer. We also threw everyone in the back of the ute and went for a tour around the grounds. This served as a trip down memory lane for most of us and a shared experience for the younger children who have never had the joy of bouncing around in a ute tray. It was these simple happy memories that were created over the weekend that make it all worth while.

Back of the Ute

Back of the Ute

On Friday we had arranged to meet at Seeonee at 0900 to set up before the day got too hot. As usual, I arrived way to early. So I took the opportunity to drop off camping supplies to the different areas around the site, I set up the kitchen, and ensured the campsite was getting water from the town supply. As I was driving around performing these errands, I was reminded of the errands and chores I used to perform around my Nan and Grandad’s farm. More often then not, when I was visiting I would be responsible for the morning and afternoon feeds and waterings. I would either walk around with the food or drive around to the different areas to feed the cattle, chickens, pigs, horses, and whatever other animals happened to be housed at the time. This solo time around the farm was fantastic. I loved the smells, the sounds, the sights, the rewarding feeling you get after you finish working with your hands. Just all of it. It was nice to be reminded of this.

Droughtmaster Cattle

Every time the family and I visited my Nan and Grandad it was Mustering time. Didn’t matter if it was May, December, or August, it was Mustering time. During the muster the days were long and hard. They required a lot of concentration, a lot of hard manual labour, and your fair share of risks. I loved it. I loved moving cattle between paddocks, I loved moving them around in the yards, I loved preparing them in the crush, and loved the tasks that were performed there. By the end of the day though, you were physically and mentally exhausted. My grandparents had this wonderful patio area off their house that overlook the bull’s paddock and the yards. As we finally stopped and the sun was beginning to set the peaceful serenity of farm life became apparent. There would be some distant mooing, the short cluck of the guinea fowl, the whiney of the horses, but mostly the silence; the gentle rustling of trees, the occasional chime of a an outdoor ornament. That memory of the calm after the storm is one of the best memories I have of farming life.

After a Long Day

These memories, both new and old, highlight the need for experiences over things. Nothing was centred around the latest phone, the hippest look, or an expensive restaurant, they are all simple memories of activities or events shared with others. I love the idea of owning land and having a small collection of animals for private consumption. I love the idea of looking across the vast horizon and seeing nothing but nature. I love the silence. I love the peace. I love this barren outback we call home.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Wednesday Weigh In Three

For those astute readers out there you will notice that this post seems remarkably similar to my previous Weigh in day Wednesday Weigh Day. In that series I endeavoured to loose weight by reducing my daily intake of Kilojoules to 5000 per day. After 18 weeks of dieting I had lost roughly 16 kilos, but my depression decided to kick me in the guts and I began over eating, indulging in way too many sweets, and comfort eating almost every meal.

The lowest I managed to reach on my diet during my last attempt was 116kg, I am aiming for less than 100kg. When I started this venture I was 144.5kg. I was a mere 5kg away from my heaviest weight back in 2008. In 2008 I managed to loose the 50kg to get below 100kg so that I could join the Navy. To get the ball rolling on this particular weight loss journey my wife and I are using Meal Replacement shakes and bars. Using the shakes and bars, with a yoghurt for Morning tea and fruit or nuts for Afternoon tea our intake up to that point is 2800kj. We then have a healthy dinner, with meals like beef laksa or steak and low carbThe  vegetable for example, and a frozen yogurt for dessert. Total kilojoule intake for the day was less than 5000kj.

I expected to be constantly hungry while using the shakes but so far its been pretty good. I think that because we are eating every couple of hours, and hydrating in between, your body doesn’t get a chance to really get hungry. I know a lot of readers will be thinking that Meal replacements are dangerous, unsustainable, and can cause massive yoyo weight loss and gain, but we need to kick start the dieting again, to help our mental state. As my wife and I approach our desired weight we will begin weaning off the replacements and onto a normal healthy diet, one that is enjoyable, sustainable, and healthy.

Now for the scary part, the numbers and pictures:

Goal = >100kg

Start = 144.5kg

Current = 139.5kg

Loss to Date = 5.0kg

Weight To Go = 39.6kg

Wednesday Weigh In Three Front

Wednesday Weigh In Three Front

Wednesday Weigh In Three Side

Wednesday Weigh In Three Side

Not an overly flattering view, but this image, this ever-growing round mass that is my body, is the reason for the extreme weight loss measures that are in place. It is for my children, my future, my health that I need to lose the weight. And oddly enough, I need to do it for me. To improve my mental state, to improve my confidence, to improve my self worth. No longer do I want to be the fat guy at the table, the waste disposal unit, the guy that no one thinks much of because he obviously doesn’t think much of himself. I WILL lose the weight, I WILL keep it off, and I WILL be a healthier person for it.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

 

Back in the Saddle

This weekend saw the return to something that I love, but needed time away from due to work, study, and mental health, and that thing was Scouts! I was taking part in an International activity referred to as JOTA/JOTI which stands for Jamboree of the Air/Internet. The weekend gives Scouts from around the world to chat to one another and share experiences. It allows the Scout to feel like something bigger than themselves. This weekend was especially special to me as JOTA/JOTI 2016 was my first Scouting event I attended, and JOTA/JOTI 2017 was the first District level event I ran.

The return to Scouts isn’t just about rejoining a great group of individuals or the ability to invest in the youth of the region, for me it marks the end of my study, the stability in my mental health, and the freedom to explore my own leadership and development. Scouts is a global movement that focuses on the growth of the youth through the exploration of outdoor activities. Funnily enough it is also for the growth of their Adults and leaders. I spent 5 years in the Navy practicing and honing leadership, Scouts pushes me to grow even further. Leading children and adults simultaneously poses unique challenges that I hadn’t considered prior to Scouts. Children look for strength, discipline, gentleness, understanding, it can take 5 seconds or 20 minutes to get a direction across. Adults on the other had to look for direction, insight, and evenhandedness. These challenges make every activity worth while.

What makes Scouts, however, is its people. The volunteers that make up the body of Scouting leaders are some of the most selfless, inspiring, and kind hearted individuals I have ever met. They tirelessly plan, organise and run camps, activities, training exercises, and meeting nights. They inspire children to bust out of their bubbles, stretch a little, and try new things. They are also some of the funniest, laid back, and brilliant individuals I have had the pleasure of coming across.

The adventures that are still to be had, will be wide and various, I look forward to the challenges that lie ahead, and the people that I will have those adventures with. Stay tuned to see the journey unfold.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Wednesday Weigh In Two

For those astute readers out there you will notice that this post seems remarkably similar to my previous Weigh in day Wednesday Weigh Day. In that series I endeavoured to loose weight by reducing my daily intake of Kilojoules to 5000 per day. After 18 weeks of dieting I had lost roughly 16 kilos, but my depression decided to kick me in the guts and I began over eating, indulging in way too many sweets, and comfort eating almost every meal.

The lowest I managed to reach on my diet during my last attempt was 116kg, I am aiming for less than 100kg. When I started this venture I was 144.5kg. I was a mere 5kg away from my heaviest weight back in 2008. In 2008 I managed to loose the 50kg to get below 100kg so that I could join the Navy. To get the ball rolling on this particular weight loss journey my wife and I are using Meal Replacement shakes and bars. Using the shakes and bars, with a yoghurt for Morning tea and fruit or nuts for Afternoon tea our intake up to that point is 2800kj. We then have a healthy dinner, with meals like beef laksa or steak and low carbThe  vegetable for example, and a frozen yogurt for dessert. Total kilojoule intake for the day was less than 5000kj.

I expected to be constantly hungry while using the shakes but so far its been pretty good. I think that because we are eating every couple of hours, and hydrating in between, your body doesn’t get a chance to really get hungry. I know a lot of readers will be thinking that Meal replacements are dangerous, unsustainable, and can cause massive yoyo weight loss and gain, but we need to kick start the dieting again, to help our mental state. As my wife and I approach our desired weight we will begin weaning off the replacements and onto a normal healthy diet, one that is enjoyable, sustainable, and healthy.

Now for the scary part, the numbers and pictures:

Goal = >100kg

Start = 144.5kg

Current = 138.1kg

Loss to Date = 6.4kg

Weight To Go = 38.2kg

Weigh In Two Front

Weigh In Two Front

Weigh In Two Side

Weigh In Two Side

Not an overly flattering view, but this image, this ever-growing round mass that is my body, is the reason for the extreme weight loss measures that are in place. It is for my children, my future, my health that I need to lose the weight. And oddly enough, I need to do it for me. To improve my mental state, to improve my confidence, to improve my self worth. No longer do I want to be the fat guy at the table, the waste disposal unit, the guy that no one thinks much of because he obviously doesn’t think much of himself. I WILL lose the weight, I WILL keep it off, and I WILL be a healthier person for it.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

 

Own Company

I have had the unfortunate issue of being at home away from work. I have an acute case of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and can barely butter toast. It was therefore agreed that I stay home until it is remedied. So far we have done the conservative, today I am having a Cortisone injection, and we will see how everything unfolds from there. Anyway, as a result of all of this I am at home. While everyone is at work, school, or daycare. I have been completing small tasks as much as my wrist will allow. Unfortunately, most of the tasks I want to achieve require way more physical capacity than I currently have. This has left me with waaaaay to much time for my brain to go into overdrive, schemes and plans come out of said overactive brain some of which are probably best left as ideas, and too many hours to be wracked up on my favourite game Dragon Age: Inquisition.

Overactive Brain

Overactive Brain

Now as most of you who have been reading for a while now know, my Brain and I have a love/hate relationship. Though my brain is my superpower in many ways, when it is left alone with little stimulus or mental drain it tends to run different ideas, what if’s, and half truths. Most people, and probably a fair portion of the readers, who have depression and anxiety are well aware how crippling racing thoughts, what if’s, and half truths can be. It can take a considerable amount concentration and positive thoughts to bring you back around, if that even works. Normally, like me, you find the easiest way to avoid the negative headspace is to keep the brain active, and sometimes that involves getting off your backside and catching up with people. I know I find it hard most days, and if I don’t have things pre-planned then I will often make stories up that ensure I don’t have to leave the home. I suppose we all need to ensure we take positive steps to ensure the best possible headspace.

Anxious Mess

Anxious Mess

The positive that does come out of having an idle mind and therefore tons of free thought time is some other plans, schemes, and ideas that make their way out. Now, some of them, OK most of them, are pretty terrible ideas like opening my own business, moving interstate, having like 7 more children, and the list goes on. However, every now and again a good idea pops up. Currently the best idea that has graced my cerebral white matter is moving to a parcel of land of 50 acres or more, building the house we want, and selling the one we are in. Now there are a lot of pieces to this puzzle, not the least being finances, timeframes, and livestock. Now this idea is not beyond the realms of possibility, and the more I investigate the idea, the more plausible it becomes. This will still be a long term project; though who knows, everything may fall into place quicker than expected.

Property Search

Property Search

The large amount of time that I do have at home, when I have accomplished all that I can, I find myself spending a majority of it playing Drag Age: Inquisition. I fell in love with this game in 2015 when it was released and I am currently playing through it for the third time. The last time I played it through was during ECT, and subsequently I can’t remember any of it. So far, I am up to nearly 100 hours of game play for this run through, and I am no where near finishing. I enjoy the game, mostly, because of the story line and interactions between characters. I also really enjoy making the decisions that sway the game and actually impact of how the world around you looks or reacts. I am also playing through again in anticipation of the 2020 release of Dragon Age: The Dread Wolf, which follows on from Inquisition. I am no way a hardcore gamer, nor am I an elitist or competitive type, I am just a casual gamer, with way too much time on his hands.

Dragon Age: Inquisition

Dragon Age: Inquisition

And that has been my week. I have an interview for a Graduate Nursing position at the public hospital today, and of course that lovely injection I am sooo looking forward to. But both are for a good reason, and both are for my future. I will see how the next week shapes up, hopefully I will find more to keep me stimulated, or I’ll design my house, pick a block of and, sort out the finances and push the plan forward. Either way.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Wednesday Weigh In One

For those astute readers out there you will notice that this post seems remarkably similar to my previous Weigh in day Wednesday Weigh Day. In that series I endeavoured to loose weight by reducing my daily intake of Kilojoules to 5000 per day. After 18 weeks of dieting I had lost roughly 16 kilos, but my depression decided to kick me in the guts and I began over eating, indulging in way too many sweets, and comfort eating almost every meal.

The lowest I managed to reach on my diet during my last attempt was 116kg, I am aiming for less than 100kg. Currently I am 144.5kg. I am a mere 5kg away from my heaviest weight back in 2008. In 2008 I managed to loose the 50kg to get below 100kg so that I could join the Navy. To get the ball rolling on this particular weight loss journey my wife and I are using Meal Replacement shakes and bars. Using the shakes and bars, with a yoghurt for Morning tea and fruit or nuts for Afternoon tea our intake up to that point is 2800kj. We then have a healthy dinner, last night was beef laksa for example, and a frozen yogurt for dessert. Total kilojoule intake for the day was less than 5000kj.

I expected to be constantly hungry while using the shakes but so far its been pretty good. I think that because we are eating every couple of hours, and hydrating in between, your body doesn’t get a chance to really get hungry. I know a lot of readers will be thinking that Meal replacements are dangerous, unsustainable, and can cause massive yoyo weight loss and gain, but we need to kick start the dieting again, to help our mental state. As my wife and I approach our desired weight we will begin weaning off the replacements and onto a normal healthy diet, one that is enjoyable, sustainable, and healthy.

Now for the scary part, the numbers and pictures:

Goal = >100kg

Current = 144.5kg

Loss to Date = 0kg

Weight To Go = 44.6kg

Week 1 Front

Week 1 Front

Week 1 Side

Week 1 Side

Not an overly flattering view, but this image, this ever-growing round mass that is my body, is the reason for the extreme weight loss measures that are in place. It is for my children, my future, my health that I need to lose the weight. And oddly enough, I need to do it for me. To improve my mental state, to improve my confidence, to improve my self worth. No longer do I want to be the fat guy at the table, the waste disposal unit, the guy that no one thinks much of because he obviously doesn’t think much of himself. I WILL lose the weight, I WILL keep it off, and I WILL be a healthier person for it.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

 

Berry Good Produce

In my continuing series on My Rockhampton I have decided to share the story of my local Green Grocer, Berry Good Produce. For me, Berry Good Produce epitomises the very essence of a local retailer. Berry Good sells not only his own produce, but sources the best our region has to offer. He gives the smaller producers a chance to have their produce seen and tasted by the people of Rockhamtpon. This Co-Op is what has seen the exceptionally friendly Green Grocer evolve from an overspilled Gazebo in the carpark, to a large store front with an ever expanding range of produce.

Humble Beginnings

Humble Beginnings

Mark and his team are always on hand to ensure you get the right produce for the right job. They may even lead you towards something that you weren’t expecting. On a recent visit to Berry Good I was in the market for mushrooms for breakfast the next morning. As always I had a chat with Mark as I shopped and browsed. When I got to the mushrooms he enquired what I was using them for, I explained my morning treat idea and he suggested the new local Oyster Mushrooms. Having never had them before I took Mark’s advice, as he is normally right, and I was not disappointed. The were amazingly fresh, buttery, and delicious. Mark and his team know what is best from the region and how to use them.

Local Produce

Local Produce

The store has seen an evolution from the aforementioned gazebo and the tray of a ute, to a large storefront with the evolving line of produce. This is an absolute score for the local community as the range of fresh, local produce expands to encompass everything that you could want in a staple Green Grocer, plus the addition of some of the lesser known, or at least lesser seen produce. Purple brussel sprouts, oyster mushrooms, five different types and colours of cauliflower, just to name a few of the lesser seen produce. Mark has even shared photos and videos of his personal Dragon fruit orchard on his property, this wonderful asian fruit has a sweet lovely flesh, that Mark is all too happy to share and show off. Its this kind of business that ensures Berry Good Produce will be here for the long haul.

Berry Good Produce

Berry Good Produce

Berry Good Produce has become the life blood of fresh produce for Parkhurst and its surrounds. With a variety wide enough to ensure that all needs can be met, and produce fresh enough to actually last longer than 3 days, Mark and his team have a good thing going. I would encourage everyone, if you haven’t already, stop in on Mark (he’s the one with his face on the sign) or anyone from his team, have a chat about what local produce is doing well this time of year, and stock your fridges and cupboards with the best, freshest produce available.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

 

Parkhurst Quality Meats

For those who have been reading for a while, you know that I love supporting the local guy where I can. If every dollar I spent could stay in the region I am residing, I would make it so. In that vein of thought my local butcher, Parkhurst Quality Meats, not only provides me with a large variety of butchered goods, but has second to none customer service, and an attitude of constant improvement and development.

Some of the Team

Some of the Team

I love my meat. I love beef, lamb, goat, chicken, duck, crocodile, in fact if it can be butchered, I’m in! Reggie and his team provide a large variety of butchered meats, and meat products. The casing window is chock a block full of different cuts, marinated products, stuffed products, a large selection of flavoured sausages, jerky, cabana, salami, and the list goes on. You can walk past the window every day, and every day there will be something new. And if you don’t see something you want it is nothing to the boys and girls to go and grab it for you. I have been exclusively eating the meat from Parkhurst Quality Meats for nearly two years now, and I have never has a bad or even mediocre product. The team love feedback on what you have tasted, and will endeavour to take any thoughts on board. The team also provide bulk packs in the form of ‘BBQ Packs’ with differing denominational values attached, or going whole hog and ordering a quarter of a Cow. Nothing is too much for the team, and everything is sublime.

Casing Window

Casing Window

The customer service at Parkhurst Quality Meats is second to none. The service you receive at the window is superb, but it even extends beyond that. Myself, and many other customers are welcomed just by walking past the shopfront. The staff always remember your name, and are genuinely interested in how you are doing. They are the epitome of a small community Butcher. It reminds me of the old TV show Cheers where Everybody knows your name. The team remember what you have bought recently, ask how the product was, and make suggestions based on your feedback to ensure that you have the best dining experience with their products. They are always innovating based on customer feedback, which just shows that the team really listen, and genuinely care about your feedback. Nothing is too hard for the team. If something isn’t in the casing window, and they have it out back, it’s yours. If you have a budget and an idea in mind, they can tailor the meat selection accordingly. They even help with portions and required amounts of meat. Nothing is too hard for the team.

Reggie and Mia

Reggie and Mia

I’ve already touched on the constant improvement and development that the team put into their products, and it shows. It almost seems every time you turn around, Reggie and the rest of the team at Parkhurst Quality Meats are winning an award for some creation of theirs. This not only reaffirms their devotion to improvement, but also shows the level of product you are receiving. Even products like the humble sausage has all of the love and attention to detail that can possibly be poured into it, added in. I could not speak more highly of the products that Reggie and the team produce, but instead of being verbose, I will let the pictures of just some of the awards that they have been awarded.

If you live in Rockhampton, or even the surrounding region, and are looking for a great, friendly, local butcher, then look no further than Parkhurst Quality Meats. You will not be disappointed.

Parkhurst Quality Meats

Parkhurst Quality Meats

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

No payment was made to Maintain the Rage or any of its authors for the publishing of this post.

Rock Bottom

A Doctor and friend of mine once told me that “You are unlikely to change until you reach a particular point in your life, and that point is Rock Bottom, then and only then will you make real change”.  Though I agreed with his sentiment at the time, I had achieved so much without having to hit Rock Bottom that I didn’t completely take on what he said. This week I think I have hit that point. I knew that between my medication, my depression, and my bone idol laziness, I had gained most of the weight I had lost. I didn’t realise that I had actually found more. To date I am 140kg. Last time I was even close to this was 2007/2008 when I decided that I was going to join the Navy, and had to lose 50kg to do it.

My View

My View

I am not proud of how I got to this point. My weekly treat of a cheat meal,  became a more frequent treat throughout the week, to sweet every night, large carbohydrate meals, and generally not taking care of myself. My depression did play a role in this, as I felt the needed to have some sort of joy in my life, and food for me has always been a joy, and at times a crouch. I have rarely received a lot of joy from things such as Salad, Low Carb alternatives, or low fat, which has made dieting difficult. Some keen readers will remember my last attempt at dieting. I had mixed success. I lost over 15kg, which was great, but the way I achieved it was unattainable. I was on an Extremely Low Calorie Diet, I was consuming less then 5000kj a day. Which for a healthy weighted gentleman of my height is too little. If I am going to succeed this time, I will need to attack this in a completely different way.

Nourishment

Nourishment

My medication that is keeping my brain from backflipping on itself includes; Venlafaxine, Lithium, Risperdone, Seroquel, and Mirtazipine. Some of these medications have been known to increase appetite, and some have the unfortunate side effect of weight gain. As much as I would love to firmly point the finger at medication and say “Its the meds making me fat” I know that would be short sighted and naive. But I do need to keep it in mind, it does have the potential to slow the weight loss down, or cause longer then expected plateaus.

Medications

Medications

In 2007/2008, when I decided to join the Navy, I was 149kg. For my appointment to go ahead my weight had to be below 100kg for my BMI to be acceptable. I wasn’t as smart about how to loose the weight as I think I will need to be this time around. I cut ALOT out of my diet, I refused to take any lifts, escalators, or anything similar, I worked out for an hour a day, I ran to the shops for milk and bread,  I would skip breakfast, lunch was generally soup, and dinner was a little as I could handle. I lost 50kg in 12 months. I joined the Navy. But I  cannot lose the weight the same way again. For starters, I had a desk job then, my caloric requirement then is substantially lower than what I need now as a floor Nurse. I cannot exercise the same way as I did then. When I was working out before the Navy I had only ever broken One bone. To date, I have had 13 operations. 3 abdominal wall incisions. 2 knee operations. 4 shoulder operations. This hampers my efforts, it doesn’t stop me from working out, but I have to be smarter about it.

Team Work to make the Dream Work

Team Work to make the Dream Work

So what does this all mean? I am going to restart Wednesday Weigh Day. I am going to devote to getting my arse below 100kg again. I am going to drag myself out and exercise. I am going to stop shovelling food into my face like its going out of fashion. But I need help. I need you the reader to share your healthy recipes. Your work outs. Your motivations. I need you to come not the journey with me. I need the community that we have built to rally together. Together I can, and hopefully if you come on the journey, you can lose the weight too. Let begin a journey together.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

 

Addendum

Alinta here, Luke’s wife, I too will be fully committing to this journey. Part of the reason he is in this mess is I did not commit to it with him the first time around. That stops now. No more enabling.

 

Dear Reader

Dear Reader,

Whether you are a long term subscriber, or happen to chance your way to this post, you will soon realise this is not a blog with a singular goal. It doesn’t inspire people to reach their goals, it doesn’t give hints on how to succeed, it rarely gives people a laugh, and it is not in any way a large scale influencer. What it is however, is very real, very open, and sometimes very raw look into the life of the author of this letter, Luke Sondergeld. You may not agree with everything he says, you may not like everything he says, but if you have found yourself here there is something for you.

images-2

Now you should know that Luke lives for his readers. He is checking in more times a day to see what his readership is doing, engaging with everyone that comments on social media, and on the blog, and loves hearing feedback from readers about what he has written. Does that mean he is fishing for the 1 million subscribers, No. If only one person reads his post for the week, but that one person is really and truly impacted, then he considers it a job done. He values every single person who comes across this blog. He values every comment and every share. He loves to interact with the readers, it is after all what gives him purpose.

images

The topics that are shared are very real at the time of writing. If you are reading a post from May about weight loss, that is because he was trying to loose weight in May, if you read posts from last year surrounding suicide and depression, that was the very real struggle that he was going through. Every week is a snapshot of what is going on in Luke’s head at that very moment. Even this letter. Luke is striving to engage with his audience more and more, so what better way to achieve this then by literally writing a letter to them. Some of the topics and conversations can be very raw, especially the ones surrounding his mental health. Take the time to read these posts, but don’t see them as a pity party, they are there to normalise an otherwise taboo subject.

scripts-handwritten-notes

Now that you are armed with the heart behind the posts it needs to be considered, what now? Well, for the most part, keep reading. Keep reading the posts as they come out. Take the time to go back and read the ones that you missed. Engage with the post, even if it was from two years ago, every comment gets a reply. If you get something from a post, or think of someone who will, don’t hesitate to share it, that share, may reach the one person who needs to read that post, hear that message, see that plight. In short, continue to Maintain your Rage.

Luke Sondergeld

Final Placement

Anyone who has seen my Facebook feed this week would know that I finished my final placement for my Bachelor of Nursing this week. This means that I no longer have to wear the Teal uniform of choice, I no longer have to practice under someone elses registration, and I no longer need to work for free. But despite all of the finality, and the opportunities that lies ahead, the journey to this point has been both enjoyable and enlightening. Every department had its own secrets to share, every shift had a lesson to be learnt, and patient a mystery to resolve.

luke sondergeld - rockhampton9

During my time studying to become a Nurse I have had placements in many different facilities and many different wards. My placements where in Aged Care, Community nursing, Acute nursing in a Surgical and Medical ward, Mental Health nursing in an Inpatient facility, another Surgical Placement, another Acute care Ward placement, Emergency Nursing, and Intensive Care Nursing. Each placement, and subsequently each ward, has had a profound impact on both my learning and clinical practice. The first placement in Aged care taught me compassion above all else; to treat every patient as a person and not a condition, to take solace in the small tasks for each person, and never be in a rush to be done with a patient. Community care showed me how easily a simple condition can become something far more sinister, and how people can be so accepting of the worsening of a condition under the guise of convenience. My first Acute nursing placement showed me the importance of time management and good communication. Mental health nursing firstly showed me that despite common misconceptions, it is not an easy option, and showed me the difficulty we face when our own mind fights against us. The Emergency placement showed me the wonders of critical care, the pace, the broad spectrum of ailments, the need to maintain nursing skills to the highest level. Intensive care taught me the importance of taking my time, the little details matter just as much as the large one, and the need to show compassion and tenderness to those who need it most. Every placement had something unique to share, I am blessed to have had these opportunities and I trust these experiences will serve me and my patients well in the future.

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38 weeks over 3 and half years, 190 shifts, 1520 hours, every single moment a new opportunity to learn, grow, and develop my skills and knowledge base. Looking back over my placements its hard to believe that so much time was spent in different wards, for so many shifts, with so much to come out of them. I have always had the mentality that you should endeavour to learn something new every day. It helps fight stagnation and keeps you growing as a person, a nurse, a father, or otherwise. Every shift may not have taught me about a medication, a disease process, a new technique, a new piece of equipment, or even a new practice, some days it was a different way to show compassion, a new way to engage with my patience, or even a new way to deliver bad news. I feel it is important to keep the practice of learning something new every day, and not just from fellow nurses, out doctors, or the patients, but from family members, the wards man, the kitchen staff, or the stores staff, each have invaluable information that could make your life a whole lot easier.

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Every patient is not just a human being who has befallen an illness or ailment, and they are most certainly more than just these. Each patient is a story, a journey, a life. Every patient deals with their ailments differently, they develop comorbidities and often take them in their stride; to see near life ending events as something trivial as they have survived them and moved on. We as nurses can never assume that two patients who have the same conditions will act the same. And for this I am grateful. Every patient also has a life of stories, stumbles, triumphs, and complications. These life events can not only help build a better picture of the patient you are currently treating but also give you insight into how others may develop their illnesses. We need to take the extra time to spend with our patients to collect these little gems as we go about our day.

All in all, the placement process has been enjoyable. I’m not going to lie, I am glad I will no longer be working for free. I am truly thankful for all the staff, patients, others involved in my placements and the learning they imparted onto me. I will do everything I can to ensure the information is used to the betterment of my patients.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Dear Body

To All Major Organs, Muscle Groups, and Systems,

It’s not all my fault. I am of course referencing the letter in which you wrote to me a little over a fortnight ago. I think it is entirely unfair to lump all of the bad diet choices, demands, and ramifications squarely on my lap. I believe there needs to be some spreading of the blame, namely; the hormone and thought producing Brain, his evil counterpart Eyes, and those perpetually lazy lumps around bones called the Major Muscle Groups.

Firstly, the mastermind behind this whole endeavour, the main cause behind our binges, and most certainly behind the lack of motivation towards exercise. In the letter you wrote to me, I was blamed for the increase in sweet consumption. I am going to start out by saying I am just the end user of a long line actions in the sweet consumption. To start, brain begins with thoughts of either self gratification and the need for a treat, or the need to eat our emotions. Either or, the consumption is triggered by both sides of the same coin, so no matter which side it lands, SWEETS! So as the poor organ that has to digest and make the treasure trove of sweets into some kind of absorbable and useful goop, I simply ask to limit the intake to a more sensible amount.

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Eyes, you have the wonderful power to trigger saliva, trigger the release of hormones, and even get me excited for the delicious feed in front of us. I do, however, have to ask that you remember my size and portion appropriately. Now I understand when we are all hungry and when it comes time to suss out the fridge it is your job to ascertain what we have and if it is sufficient for us. But in that period of rummaging please remember that I cannot, in fact, eat three wraps, a large serve of pasta, left over taco meat, 750ml of Iced Coffee, and a chocolate, without feeling like an over inflated balloon on the verge of either expelling all of my contents or simply exploding. If isn’t comfortable for me, and could be uncomfortable for many other systems too.

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Now I am going to pick on the Major Muscle Groups, not because of their role in the overconsumption but because of the role they play in the burning of energy and the constant excuse generating pain you seem dead set on producing. Now, the burning of energy we realise isn’t entirely your prevue, Brain plays a large role in encouraging and spurring you on. However, when it comes to aches, pains, and other inconveniences you are nearly 100% to blame. I cannot sit at a chair without my feet being flat on the floor, otherwise sharp pain running up my shins, standing still for longer then 5 minutes causes back pain, and merely sleeping tends to either cause agony in my shoulder, numbness in my hand, or neck spasms. It would seem that I cannot perform even the simplest of tasks without pain. In order for us to burn energy we need to be able to work harder and get rid of some of these extra layers of fat.

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I propose then that we stop blaming one another and start working together. We need to stop smashing sweets, need to stop filling me up so much, and we need to get off Arse and work out at some point in our lives. I’m not suggesting anything radical, just a couple of changes to extend the life expectancy of us all. Well that’s just my two cents anyway.

Maintain the Rage

The Stomach of Luke Sondergeld

The Barbecue Box

A little over 3 months ago I wrote an article called My Rockhampton in which I shared some of the things that, to me, make Rockhampton the place I love. Well, I have decided to start getting a little more specific in what I think make this city so great. I will share, on no regular interval, the cafe’s, restaurants, retail outlets, butchers and many more places that make Rockhampton the brilliant place it is. Today, I am going to focus on a nearly unheard of restaurant near the CBD called The Barbecue Box.

The Barbecue Box is located on the corner of Bolsover Street and Archer Street, diagonally opposite the “Target Centre”. The place itself is clean and tidy, the tables aren’t too tightly packed together, and the Korean BBQ tables were new and immaculately clean. As soon as we entered the building we were greeted by the waitress, who showed us to our table, gave us our menus and offered us drinks. The menu was quite large, it comprised of Entrees, Rice Dishes, BBQ, Deep Fried, and Sizzling options. There was also a Take Away menu which offered what I presume to be their hot favourites. The prices were reasonable with entrees tallying around the $10 and mains hovering around the $15-$20 per person price point. Drinks weren’t unreasonable, I have certainly paid a lot more for a lot less, and they offered some more traditional drink options, which was nice.

Deep Fried Sushi

Deep Fried Sushi

Now onto the important part, the food. For an entree I picked the Deep Fried Sushi. I couldn’t pass it up for two reasons; I am a sucker for good sushi, and they deep fried it so I was both intrigued and salivating at the same time. It had a reasonable price point of $9.90, and I assumed it would be something attune to 3-4 pieces of sushi in some kind of batter then deep fried. Oh how wrong I was. As you can see from the image above, it was not simply 3 or 4 pieces, it was a whole roll of sushi, over 15 cm long, and covered in a deliciously light crumb/batter. The sushi was amazing. It wasn’t oily or saturated like one might expect. The rice still stood on its own, the Korean beef was to die for, the kimchi scattered throughout added a nice piece of heat and wonderful crunch. The batter/crumb was light enough to not stand out, but had enough body to still offer the resistance and snap one would not expect from Sushi. The bar had been set pretty high with this as an entree.

Bi Bim Bap

Bi Bim Bap

For the main I wanted something a little more traditional, something that the chef should be able to do in their sleep, something that would stand out and say “This is The Barbecue Box, you will be coming back for more”. I decided the $16.95 Bi Bim Bap would be up to the task, and I wasn’t disappointed. When the bowl hit the table, I will admit I was a little disappointed. I am a large guy, and as such tend to eat fairly large serves, even if I shouldn’t. The bowl that laid before me, and the one photographed above, seemed a little small, more of an entree serve than a main. Nevertheless I gave it a go, and gave it a chance. I was not disappointed. The beef was tender and juicy, the kimchi offered a breath of heat and freshness, the rice and sauce that was intertwined was delicious, even the egg on top was a beautiful and perfect sunny side up. I couldn’t stop eating, even after getting three quarters of the way through and realising just how deceptive the bowl was, I wouldn’t put down my spoon. It was amazing.

All in all the experience of The Barbecue Box was amazing, I instantly wrote a review on their Facebook page to share my glee. I came home to my wife and told her about the restaurant and what it had to offer, and we agreed we would have to return for a Date Night in the near future. If you are in Rockhamtpon and looking for somewhere to eat that is delicious and not too expensive, look it up.

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/The-barbecue-box-317504395581977/

Website – https://the-barbecue-box.business.site/?m=true

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

No payment was made to Maintain the Rage or any of its authors for the publishing of this post.

Dear Stomach

Dear Stomach,

It has come to our attention that your desires, drive, and consumption are no longer taking into account the best interest of Body, and by virtue Brain. We have therefore decided to write to you today to cover a few concerns we have and how we may rectify these moving forward. We need to talk about your seemingly unending desire to consume everything that has a sugar content about 5%, your complete disregard for portion sizes, and the concerning nature of the food you choose to consume.

Back to the Start

Back to the Start

The unending desire for you to consume, chocolate, lollies, cake, custard, ice cream, and other sweet treats is nothing shy of unnerving. Prior to this year the consumption of sweet things was a rarity. In fact in recent history you even gave up all sweets for a whole year, drinks, food and all. Then, over the past 18 months you have decided that you will try your level best to force Body into a state of either sugar high, or crushing low. Brain feels that you are forcing Body to behave like a 5 year old without parental supervision. He admits it was fun at the beginning, but that was 30kg ago. Pancreas is in a constant state of shock, and I won’t even mention what Intestines said. We feels, as the collective organs, both vital and not, that the consumption of sugary treats should be exactly that, a treat, and not in fact, a daily occurrence.

We also need to talk about portion sizes. We have recently undertaken diets and meal plans that showed what proper portioning is, and how it is sustainable with a little effort. Even with this knowledge on board, you seem interested in only showing the rest of the world that you can consume not just your portion, but that of everyone else at the table. A large serve of root vegetables, a large sourdough roll, and 14 gyoza dumplings IS NOT ONE SERVE, that’s a meal for at least two, maybe even three. Also, half a bag of chocolate bullets, a litre of ice cream, and one and half litres of chocolate milk is also not a single serve dessert. Thats enough for four people. Even you felt sick after that one, and the pain seemed almost unbearable. Changing portion sizes back to one average adult will stop us from being one and half average adults stuck together. We all therefore request that you stop eating with Eyes and consider what we actually need. The other Organs and Muscles will notify you of the caloric requirements.

My View

My View

Let’s talk about food choices. Brain is aware of what good food choices are, and he has shared that information with you in the interest of stimulating you to make good food choices. However, you seemed set on choosing anything that is full of carbohydrates, fat, or sugar, sometimes even all three, see Bush Doughnuts. All things in moderation should be adopted as the governing idea behind your desire for food. For example, sweets are fine, choose a yoghurt, or a Bulla split, or even a piece of fruit (if you can remember what they are). You can have a small serve of carbohydrates, Muscles appreciates the carbs in moderation, the rest Body doesn’t appreciate it when you decide to eat 3 bowls of pasta then go looking for sweets. Leafy vegetables have been a request from Intestines for a while to help with their work, Skin and Brain are after good fats vs the trans fat you keep requesting, and Heart would appreciate the reduction in cholesterol. You can make good choices, you can have treats from time to time. Currently we have been running on treats all the time and behave and eat sensibly once a week, and it needs to stop.

Nourishment

Nourishment

While we have the opportunity we need to talk about the revenge pain you seem set on delivering. As you know you spent the better part of 10 years trying to escape through Diaphragm and occupy the same space as Oesophagus (Google Hiatus Hernia). To rectify this, Brain decided to engage a surgeon. We know that surgeon blocked your escape route, and tied a knot around your neck (Google Hiatus Hernia Repair and Nissen Fundoplication). This, however, does not give you the right to cause an unbelievable amount of pain in the upper chest, merely to remind everyone that you went through something traumatic. You don’t see Intestine causing pain every time he performs his duties in protest of loosing 12 inches of himself (Google Hemicolectomy, Stoma Creation). We understand that consuming any liquid in large enough volumes seems to satiate you, however we would appreciate this act of defiance to cease entirely.

We understand that this is a lot to take in, and we are requesting a lot from you. We also understand that even while writing this you are sending the signal to eat half a tub of ice cream with chocolate topping with a side of Berry Bliss lollies. We thank you in advance for taking action in regard to the aforementioned. If it is any consolation you are not being lumped with the entire blame for weight gain, Motivation and Effort are in the firing line too, and there needs to be a serious talk with Knees and Shoulders. Until then, we would appreciate the head start that only you can provide.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Advocacy

Advocacy is one of the most important and under utilised components of a Nurses job. It sits at the very core of our being, the reason behind every action, and heart behind every conversation with a Doctor. Recently, whilst caring for a patient, I didn’t exercise my right to advocate for them, and as such they have continued to be mis-managed. For confidentiality reasons I will not disclose particulars of the patient, but will instead refer to them as Jeff. I have come up with a nemonic of ABCDE to remind me of the components of Advocacy for the future, and I hope they will help you too.

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Always

As some of you are aware I am both an Enrolled Nurse, and a student Registered Nurse. I am also on my last placement before graduating at the end of the year. I felt that because Jeff was a patient of mine, whilst under supervision, as a student I couldn’t or shouldn’t raise my concerns and subsequently Advocate for them. I was wrong. As Nurses we should always feel empowered to Advocate for our patients. It doesn’t matter if you are a LPN, EEN, AIN, GRN, RN, CN, or NUM you should feel comfortable to stop what is happening and Advocate for your patient. I have been beating myself up since the event, and cannot seem to console myself regarding my inaction. Jeff continues to be, in my opinion, mismanaged because I, and others, feel that we cannot raise our voices and say STOP, this isn’t in the best interest for the patient. STOP, we need a different course of action. STOP, we are not caring for and treating this patient, we are treating our own conveniences. I wish I had spoken up, but now I know what a difference it could have made, and how lousy it feels when I don’t, I will never step down from Advocacy again and I will encourage others to do the same.

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Back Up

When Advocating for a patient we should remember we aren’t just individual Nurses, we are part of a team, and we are stronger together. That wasn’t supposed to sound like a chant for a Union, but there you go. If we don’t feel strong enough to confront a Doctor directly, enlist help from other Nurses in the team, bring in the Supervisor, the Shift Coordinator, the Clinical Educator, the Clinical Facilitator, or even the Nurse Unit Manager. Together you can approach the Doctor and Advocate appropriately, it will look less like an idea from a solo Nurse and more like a considered idea, and it is good to know that you are justified in your Advocacy when you have the assistance of another. This won’t come across as “Ganging Up” if done correctly, and could be the component you need to successfully Advocate for your patient.

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Considerate

As Nurses we pull some pretty long and random hours, with things like Late-Early shift, overtime, Double Shifts, and a myriad of other whacky ways the roster seems to wind up. Our job is physically demanding by being on our feet all day, lifting and rolling patients, performing care, and everything else we do in a shift. Our job is also emotionally and mentally draining with supporting the patients and their families, dosage calculations, evaluating observations, constantly assessing a patient, and somewhere in all of that is Advocacy. Now, we all know what we do is demanding and exhausting, we justify the extra coffee, the second bar of chocolate, or ignoring the phone on breaks because of it. We flay ourselves over jobs missed, or errors in judgement, and we feel terrible when things are late. Now, our Doctors may not be there for the hands on cares, the lifting and rolling, the supporting the patient during mobility, but they are carrying the burden. The Doctors are trying to manage a massive patient load, the medications, the investigations, the outcomes, the families, and the demands we as Nurses put on them. The Doctors are under the pump all the time. They can’t ignore the phone, their breaks are constantly cut short, they are the ones that get to explain to the patient and their family about a poor prognosis. They have a huge burden to carry. When we advocate for our patients we need to be Considerate and keep in mind these burdens. Don’t Advocate by telling them they are wrong and should be doing it a different way, or calling into question their education. Come along side of the Doctors and show them what you are seeing and suggest the alternative course of action.

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Don’t forget the Patient

We shouldn’t forget that the reason we advocate is for the best outcome for the patient, as such we shouldn’t forget to include them in the decision making process. It may be entirely necessary, and entirely justified to discuss your concerns with the patient prior to stepping up in front of the Doctor. Some patients, despite the best intentions you may have won’t want to take differing actions to what the Doctor has ordered. This is why it is important to discuss your concerns with the patient, or if the patient is unable to then a discussion with the next of kin may be appropriate. This seems simple, but can be just as difficult, if not more difficult to achieve. Discussing with a patient that the care that has been prescribed isn’t the best, and a different action would be better, can be seen as conniving, sinister, arrogant, or just plain rude. A polite tongue and respective tone when discussing this matter will need to be adopted, and under no circumstances should the Nurse belittle or bad mouth the Doctor, or professional prescribing the care. We are all a team, we need the Doctors just as much as we need them, nobody wants to be seen as “That Nurse” and as such we shouldn’t behave that way.

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Evidence

Whilst we should advocate for our patients, always, we need to make sure we have the evidence required to back up our claims. This can be something as simple of observations, blood work, an x-ray, comment made by family or friends of the patient, or statements made by the patient themselves. We may also have written evidence from Journals, textbooks, Research Articles, or recently attended workshops or conferences. It may be something as simple as showing the doing guide from MIMS or the product information leaflet enclosed with the medication. We as Nurses need to be prepared when confronting Doctors in relation to our patients, it may not be enough for us to simply say “I am not happy, we need to do something differently”. Being educated, well read, up to date, best practice using badasses we are we need to show the Doctors that we know what we are talking about, and that we need to be listened to.

These five components; Always, Back Up, Considerate, Don’t forget the Patient, and Evidence or ADCDE, will help you remember what needs to be considered when Advocating for your patient. Don’t end up where I did with Jeff. Don’t be afraid to stand up and be heard. Don’t think that you are just a Nurse. You are the patient Advocate, exercise the right, but do it properly.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

12 Hour Shifts

I have started my placement in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of one of the hospitals in my region. Like most ICUs they run on 12 hour shifts, specifically for the one I am placed at 0700 till 1930 and 1900 till 0700. On the surface this seems great, over 3 weeks you work 10 days and are still counted and paid as Full Time, you have 11 days off over the same period, there is no such thing as a late-early, and the likelihood of being asked to stay back is greatly diminished. Though all of these things are true, and I will expand on some in a moment, there have been some interesting issues develop along the way.

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The Roster

I have to admit, the idea of 12 hours shifts, 11 days off in 21, and never having to work a God for sake Late-Early again, is awfully appetising. I adore the fact that the days you work, in which you seldom get anything done anyway, are just a little longer. I do enjoy the possibility that you are handing over to the person you received handover from. On the surface it seems like the dream, but there is a catch. So far I have been doing nothing but day shifts, which involves getting ups at 0530 to get ready and leave the hour by 0630 to be at work ready to go by 0700. The day then proceeds thill 1930 when I depart, walk to my car and drive home, arriving somewhere between 1945 and 2000. So far in this day I have not seen my children or wife awake, on arrival only my Eldest and Wife are still awake. No biggie, spend some time with them, wind down then off to bed, to get up at 0530 and do it all again. As you can see, there isn’t a lot of family time going on. There is  a lot of just surviving. Working, eating, sleeping, working. When I first arrived to ICU the Facilitator made a remark about working 12 hours shifts and how you shouldn’t expect to get anything else done on those days as you are just doing what you need to do to get to the next shift. I scoffed when she first said it. Now that I am living through it, she isn’t far from the truth. You wouldn’t be able to engage in any drawn out, meaningful activity. Normally I eat my dinner with my wife, we talk about our respective days, she returns to her school work, I read for a while, then sleeping for the next day. It took me by surprise. So though on the surface the roster seems really good, just keep in mind, you are almost useless for 10 days out of 21.

Plan Your Sleep

Plan Your Sleep

Self Care

The need for self care is incredibly important while undertaking 12 hour shifts. You need to make sure you are adequately fed, a mistake I made on the first day, just catering for lunch and that was it, didn’t make that mistake again. Staying adequately hydrated, which I know as Nurses we are notoriously bad at but we need to make an effort to do it. Getting enough sleep, and I mean good sleep not naps on the couch or two or three small naps, I mean a good solid 8 hours, which when you do the math leaves you with 4 hours for EVERYTHING that isn’t Work and Sleep. Supporting the home front, for those of us that aren’t single and have a partner and maybe children, you need to make sure that they feel adequately loved and supported. It is all too easy for us to say that we are tired, and worked a long day, and were on our feet all day, but your partner has also worked all day, cooked, cleaned, organised the finances, or performed ALL the other homely duties that aren’t getting done because of the 12 hour shifts. You should also engage in a ‘Me Activity’ on your days off. This could be hiking, swimming, boating, painting, or stacking rocks, whatever your chosen ‘Me Activity’ is make sure you take the time to engage in it, it is all too easy to just work to live and live to work.

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The Shift

Talking about working 12 hour shifts could not be done without actually talking about, the shift. I can only talk on the Day shift presently but as I engage in Nights I will be sure to add my thoughts. But, the shift, putting aside the obvious thing which is it is 4 hours longer then a normal shift, is divided rather nicely into roughly 3 hour blocks. Each shift you have a single 20 minute break and two 30 minute breaks. They are usually taken around 1000 for the 20 minute, 1300 and 1700 for the 30 minutes. This gives you Morning Tea, Lunch, and if you wish an Early dinner, I tend to simply enjoy a coffee and the extended break time for my 1700 break. This break pattern helps divide up the day and ensure you aren’t too intently involved on the floor for too long without stepping aside and breathing for a moment. It allows for a little bit of the aforementioned Self Care with regard to diet and hydration, it also allows for a brief period of contact with loved ones to make sure they are adequately supported, and gives you a moment to switch off from the intensity that is ICU.

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As you can see there is a lot to consider with regard to the 12 hour shift, and Nurses have made entire careers around it. I would love to hear some of the stories from those out there that do live the 12 hours shift day by day and what secrets they would like to share with regard to surviving the shift, self care, and days off.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Being Me

I have written a lot about different portions of my journey, whether; weight loss, depression, parenting, nursing, or other facets of my life. In almost all of these posts I am either striving to reach a particular point, or I am trying to stretch myself. The commonality between them, however, is the continued dissatisfaction with who I am, where I am at, or even how I am perceived. Now, I am not saying that we shouldn’t push ourselves to grow, or to improve, stagnation is the enemy. However, I am reaching a point in my life whereby I need to accept me for me, and not always looking at myself in a negative light.

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Every day I endeavour to learn something new, or expand on something I thought I knew enough about. This extend from my family life, to nursing, to my hobbies, and everything in between. I enjoy being a perpetual learner. I enjoy putting into practice new ideas, and new thoughts. The toxic portion of this is the internal voice that says “You are not good enough”. When I apply this to my work, for example, I am constantly displeased with the level of knowledge that I have. I am always angry at myself for not knowing an answer, a treatment, a medication, or a diagnosis. Setting the bar as high as I have has made it unachievable. I will continue to learn over my career, which I hope is long and fruitful, but still have the idea that I am not good enough. I need to step back, acknowledge what I don’t know, and be thankful that I know what I know, be OK with Me being Me.

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In my family life I take every disobedience, back chat, scream, yell, disapproving look, and other child like behaviour as a personal attack on my parenting. I think that I should have guided them better, taught them how to vocalise better, how to express their emotions. I feel that when I snap and loose my cool, or begin the dreaded count, that I have lost, and I am letting down my children. I know I need to not judge the behaviour of my children as a reflection of myself, at least not entirely, and I need to acknowledge that they are spirited free willed individuals who will do as they want, regardless of direction and correction. I need to remember that I am doing pretty well as a Dad, my kids aren’t dead, my eldest isn’t into drugs or drinking, and they all have some leaning towards God, I need to remember that I’m doing OK, and therefore I can just let Me be Me.

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Outside of striving and self correction I still have a particular image I try to portray. This is the image I endeavour to project onto people as I meet them, work with them, chance encounter, or otherwise. This image of myself is confident, capable, knowledgable, funny, interesting, and a slew of other positive traits that I won’t bore you with. This image though is hard to maintain. There are days, and they feel more frequent these days, whereby the only thing I want to project is that I was able to put on pants this morning. Instead I have all of these rules in place to ensure that I continue to portray the aforementioned version of myself, like, no thongs, no stains, belts in belt loops, no tracksuits outside the house, some clothes are designated “home clothes” and therefore are never seen out of the home. These rules are great to ensure that I am presentable and well-groomed, but not necessary all the time. I need to be able to accept that I don’t need to force an image of myself, others need to accept me, just as I need to let Me be Me.

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So whats the end result of this. I am sitting here acknowledging that I need to give myself a break and not have such ridiculous standards for myself, but at the same time I need to maintain these standards as they make me what and who I am. There needs, I feel, to be a measure of both. I need to able to relax and let go once in a while, but still maintain the highest standard in the things that matter the most.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Emergency Department

This week, and subsequently the week prior, saw me completing my two week placement in our local Emergency Department. Originally, I was merely excited to just get a glimpse of the chaos and mayhem of ED. Having now spent the two weeks in ED…. I WANT MORE!!!

Emergency Department

Emergency Department

A while ago I wrote a piece call Medical Nursing, whereby I reflected on the exposure to different sections of Nursing and how they impacted me. In the conclusion I stated I felt that I was more a Medical Nurse than a Surgical, namely due to the chaos and distant style of Nursing that it tends to be. I then surmised that a Medical Nurse is responsible for the growth and healing of a Patient and not just bandaging them up to get out of the bed. This is the same thought I had towards ED, prior to my placement. However, upon arrival I noticed a few things;

  • The chaos of ED is a finely balanced ballet of Nurses and Doctors
  • The pace is clearly defined by those Nurses and Doctors
  • ED isn’t all gunshot wounds, mass trauma, and gallons of blood
  • Bed blocked is a very real and serious danger
  • There is more care given to one patient in four hours then some receive in a week
  • Nurses and Doctors work together as equals, not superiors and subordinates
  • Everyone is learning, Nurses and Doctors alike
  • A litre of blood can pour out of someone’s nose
  • A baby being born is truly magical
  • Drugs, illegal drugs, are bad
  • Mental health is not an isolated issue, its part of the patient
  • Not everything is running around
  • No-ones opinion is invalid

Theses are just some of the things I noticed while working in ED, and all of these things showed me that its not an adrenaline junkie’s hot spot, and only suited to those mad few, it is a high intensity, knowledge pushing, crucible that produces some of the most well rounded and knowledgable Nurses and Doctors that anyone would have the pleasure to work with or have work on them.

Emergency Nursing

Emergency Nursing

With all of this being said, like some five year old in a candy store, I still have a six week placement in the Intensive Care Unit of the same hospital. I could fall madly and deeply in love with the 12 hours shifts, organised structure, and relative peace of ICU. Or I could simply be left longing for the high speed rush of ED.

Where will all of this take me, I don’t know. I will float like a leaf on the wind, and land were I will serve best. I have the capacity to be a great Nurse wherever I am, and I can take great joy in every section, if I do so chose. Only time will really tell. My career, based on my current retirement age, has the potential to be 38 years long. Making 40 years of Nursing in total. I have the time to be able to move around if I am not comfortable in a section. Or simply fall in love with one, study my Masters in that area, and strive and thrive in the environment.

Only time will tell.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Night Shift

As most readers will know, I am a Nurse. This awesome, wonderful, and rewarding careers comes with it once teeny tiny little drawback, Night Shift. As 1.4 million Australians know, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, that shift work is hard, a rotating roster is had, and Night Shift is just the pits. There are however a few things that you can do to help get through the shift and subsequent days following.

Plan your Sleep

Sleep doesn’t just happen, and if it does I don’t want to hear about it. You need to make sure there is a comfortable 8 hour gap were you are not responsible for the children, the in laws. or any other talks that requires your actual attention and input. Once you have planned your sleep make sure that there is room for the wind down from the previous Night Shift or daily activities. Also, allow for your sleep to go over. I know when I have my two nights the first day I only nap after dinner for 2-3 hours, I come home, sleep for nearly 10 hours, then tackle the last Night Shift, after which I spend a day without sleep until that night, colloquially called my “Zombie Day”.

Plan Your Sleep

Plan Your Sleep

Maintain your Medications

If anyone out there is like me, you have a boat load of medications to take at different parts of the day. They are also set up so that all of the “Sleepy” tablets are taken at night. This makes for an exceptionally awkward when the “Sleepy” tablets are doing their job, and your chugging triple shot expressos like they are lolly water just to stay awake. I have found though that I if I take my “Sleepy” tablets before dinner on a Night Shift night, I can manage well enough. You will need to find what works best for you, and if you are having any dramas please go and see your prescribing doctor.

Maintain your Medications

Maintain your Medications

Nourishment

It is easy on Night Shift to do one of two things, eat nothing at all, or stuff your face with chips, lollies, and other junk foods that seem to make their way into the workplace. Eating the meals you are awake for is key. It is also sometimes necessary to introduce a fourth meal to have around midnight. Otherwise you could end up being awake and active without food for 14 hours. Also, consider snacks that aren’t junk to take with your to work. This can be fruit, yogurt, muesli bars, or other “healthy” choices. I find that the only meal I miss is the Lunch on the day between shifts, I also find that a high protien yoghurt at around Midnight is awesome.

Nourishment

And that’s it. Everyone will have their own coping mechanisms, and we would love to hear from you in the moments below. Well I better use some of my advice and catch some shut eye before shift tonight.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Recharging

Last week I wrote about where my headspace was at, the immediate actions that were taken, and the decisions that still had to be made. This week I have been reaping the benefits of the changed medications, Thiamine, and the ever recharging event of Camping. All of these have been attributing to a greatly improved mood, improved motivation, and reduction of both negative self talk and suicidal thoughts.

Medications

Medications

As discussed last week, my Psychiatrist has upped my Venlafaxine to 375mg, added 1mg of Risperidone, and added 100mg of Thiamine three times a day. I will admit it took nearly four days for a noticeable change to take effect, however, once it did it was hard and fast. Like a switch had been flicked over, the negative self talk stopped, the suicidal ideations stopped, I was more engaged, more motivated, and generally more like me again. My wife is almost completely convinced that it’s the Thiamine, mainly because she hates Risperidone, but I am also beginning to see merit in her theory.

Out Camping

Out Camping

One of the best ways I recharge and recenter is camping. I find nothing more relaxing then sitting around a fire with a bunch of mates, enjoying the serenity, chewing the fat, and forgetting about all of life’s stressors. This weekend was no different. My friends and I decided to go camping this weekend for my birthday. We picked a suitable location, in this case it was Cockscomb Veterans Retreat, booked it all in, and set off. My brother and I were the forward party that arrived early and set almost everything up. Over the course of Friday afternoon we were joined by everyone else. We ate tons of great camp food, some of which was a little more charred then desired but that’s camping in the end of it all. We played trivia games, thanks to Jess, which showed our intellectual prowess, and shortcomings all at once. We walked through the peaceful forests and admired the majesty of Constitution Hill, which we can sadly not attempt to climb. The kids had an absolute blast getting dirty, exploring, and generally causing mischief. It was an amazing weekend that we are attempting to replicate every month or two, as we all need to camp more, and we all need to rest and recharge.

Constitution Hill

Constitution Hill

Other then that I have very little to report, which is actually a good thing in the long run. I would like to thank everyone for their love and support through the continued roller coaster that is my mental health. I thank you all for continuing to read, share, and support Maintain the Rage, and I hope that I can continue to share stories and experiences that spur conversation and action.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Decisions Made

Last week I posted about where my headspace was at. This week I met with my Psychiatrist. The meeting went as well as I could expect. Discussions were had about things I didn’t think I would have to live through again. Discussions were made based on my headspace now and the similarities to where we were almost this time last year. I am not going to lie, it scared me a bit.

Fear

Fear

My headspace hasn’t been the best of late. I have had massive issues with Negative Self Talk and maintaining an even keel. I have been distancing myself from friends and family, I have had suicidal ideations, I have had thoughts of self harm, I have just wanted to run away from it all and just cease to exist. Thankfully my wife and family are more insistent than I am withdrawn. The have surrounded me and done nothing more than shower me with love and accolades. It was nice to know that I am loved, and that I am not useless, or lazy, or any of the other things my brain was trying to tell me.

Depression

Depression

I went to my psychiatrist. We caught up and had a conversation about where my head has been. He was not amused by what I had to say. He almost immediately suggested a course of ECT. A prospect I was less then interested in, given the side effects and trauma it put my family through last time. I told him I was less then keen at this particular juncture as my protective factors where in good stead, and I didn’t feel unsafe at present. He made some changes to my Venlafaxine, and added Thiamine back into the mix. I agreed to let him know of what my decision was going to be regarding ECT after I had a chance to discuss it with my wife.

ECT

ECT

I went home and discussed with my wife everything that was shared with the Psychiatrist, the options put forward, and where to from here. We both agreed that ECT was not currently a viable option, and that we are safe enough within ourselves to give the medication a chance to work. There have been studies into the effect of Thiamine and its ability to quicken the effect of Anti-Depressants and lower their side-effects, others proposed that a deficiency in Thiamine leads to depression amongst other ailments. Whatever the case, my wife did note that my depression had become worse around the same time I stopped taking Thiamine, just over a month ago. It will be interesting to see, now that I am taking it again, if this will aid in my recovery at all.

Thiamine

Thiamine

The way forward… As readers, friends both close and distant, family, and others in my life, I need you. I need you to keep an eye on my behaviour, stop me from completely isolating myself, appropriately build me up, watch out for signs of clinical worsening, ask the question “Have I thought about suicide?” “How did you plan on doing it?” and “When were you planning to?” It should be noted that if I can give you an answer to the second or third questions please call the Acute Care Team on 4920 6111 or 000. Thankfully through my entire depression I have never lied, I will not hide my thoughts if directly asked. These things will keep me safe. Also, please keep an eye on my wife, she is my first line of defense and has enough going on in her own world to have my dramas lumped on her as well, so if you can lighten her load that would be appreciated.

Support

Finally, share the message about Depression. Share the message about Suicide. Don’t let fear or a lack of knowledge be the reason someone takes their own life. Be brave enough to have the hard conversation with someone, talk to them and listen. Get them the help that they need, and be there to support them through it.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Wednesday Weigh Day 18

This is the Eighteenth week I have been somewhat aware of, and concerned by my weight. The past two weeks have been hard with my Depression taking a bit of a strong hold. As such, I have been comfort eating, punishment eating, and just general being a fatty eating.

Weight at Start: 131.7kg

Weight Today: 120.0kg

Weight Loss this Week: +1.7kg

Total Weight Loss: 11.7kg

Amount till Goal Weight: 25kg

My View

My View

The above photo is the view I have every single day. This image grates on my soul. This image drives me to negative self talk about being lazy, fat, useless, and other unpleasantries. I have zero motivation to come up with recipes and ideas for food that is low cal, I have no interesting starving myself to loose weight, and I don’t have the inclination to actually exercise outside of what I do at work.

Fat Bastard from the Austin Powers franchise actually said it the best, “I fat because I eat, and I eat because I am fat”. I feel trapped in a constant cycle of chocolate, puddings, ice cream, burgers, chips, and all things nice. I know that if I don’t change my life span is being drastically shortened. I know I need to remain fit so I can run and jump and pay with my children. I know I need to loose weight to take the pressure off my fractured back and worn out knees. I know what I have to do, but have no motivation to do it.

I am stuck in a rut, a fat lazy rut.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Collapsing

This week I have been feeling the weight pushing down on me harder and harder. Every day seems like I have found a new way to disappoint myself and those around me. Little Luke seems to be becoming more and more negative, and that voice is getting louder and louder. The scary thing is I think I am starting to believe what he says. I think I am seeing myself as he sees me. I feel myself collapsing under the weight of it all.

The phrase “I am sick and tired of being sick and tired” seems to be my life’s motto;

  • I am sick of being in pain
  • I am sick of these headaches
  • I am sick of my sinuses
  • I am sick of my Brain
  • I am sick of being fat
  • I am sick of seeing the ugly person in the mirror
  • I am sick of walking around corners to hushed conversations
  • I am sick of this anchor I am dragging around
  • I am sick of the anxious feeling I get when I talk to somebody about it
  • I am sick of the perceived judgement that follows
  • I am sick of the way people treat me because of my depression
  • I am sick of the expectation I have of myself
  • I am sick of not meeting it
  • I am sick of being the only person people seem to rely on
  • I am sick of feeling like it would be easier if I was gone
  • I am sick of feeling like it would better if I was gone
  • I am sick of feeling like I should be gone

The daily struggle consumes more energy than I would like to and it is getting the better of me. Even as I write this entry I am holding back tears, feel defeated, feel like I just was to crawl into a hole and never come out. I feel like I just want to let everything collapse around me, and let it just end.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Rough Patch

For those who have been following my journey through Depression and Anxiety, you will know that the trip has had many twists and turns, ups and downs. Well unfortunately I appear to be at one of the downs. The past couple of weeks has seen my motivation decline, mood slip, and overall my headspace to take a sharp turn towards the negative. So much so that my Psychologist left our routine session and made a time with my Psychiatrist for the end of our session. Made me feel awesome, huh?

I'm Fine

I’m Fine

I don’t know if it’s the end of University Semester, or the recent placement I had, or my brain just changing things up for a bit of excitement, but I hit a wall. A rather large wall. I had little to no energy to drag myself out of bed, I felt like last year were I was dragging a boat anchor around. I would go to bed early, rise late, and still feel as though I hadn’t slept a wink. I felt drained, I felt demotivated, I felt lousy. Something that was out of character for me, I was actively avoiding social situations. I was avoiding my friends, church, life group, family, everyone or anything that would drag me out of the house, or invade the hovel at home. I knew this wasn’t a good place to be but at the same time I couldn’t seem to shake it, or see the reason to actually do anything about it. I even ran into my Psychiatrist on placement when the decline started, but didn’t want to cause a fuss so just said “I’m Fine”. This was in no way going to help my situation, but it sure as heck made it worse. I slid further and further into the depressive phase, until I had my meeting with my Psychologist…. then things changed.

I'm OK

I’m OK

My headspace was in no way helping the situation. Other then feeling like I was swimming through molasses or dragging an anchor around, I had a little niggling voice at the back of my head. The voice started small and quiet, occasionally making a remark about what I was doing or calling me stupid or fat. This voice steadily got louder. Soon it would be commenting on my driving, what I was eating, things I said to patients, my weight, my clothes, my cooking, what I was watching, when I was doing things…. EVERYTHING! The voice was so loud and so constant it became impossible to ignore. Soon I started to listen. Maybe I am going to be fat forever, maybe I’m not good enough to be a Registered Nurse, maybe I am a lousy Husband, a Terrible Father, a horrible friend, an awful cook, a slovenly mess…… you get the picture. This just fed the aforementioned anchor problem.

Negative Self Talk

Negative Self Talk

Through all of this I am going to say I didn’t have suicide ideation like I had last year, and for that I am eternally grateful. I did however have thoughts of self harm, and toiled with the idea of different ways in which my life could be taken. Like whilst cutting vegetables with my exceptionally sharp knife, acknowledging the fact that the brachial artery was an easy target, or after refilling my script for Seroquel how peaceful it was be to just consume a whole box. I know to most these would seem like the start of a plan, or even intention, and if I hadn’t gone through last year I would have agreed with you. However, the power in which the thoughts carried, the lack of conviction, and the lack of desire to see them undertaken did not lend, to me, the idea that they were “proper” suicidal ideations.

Depression

Depression

However, after my Psychologist appointment, I did go and see my Psychiatrist. He was less than amused by what he heard. He was also less then amused that I didn’t say anything when we ran into each other. He was concerned that we were heading down the very slippery slope to where we were last year. So some changes to my medications where made. My Venlafaxine is now 300mg a day instead of 225mg, and my Quetiapine is now 600mg per day, instead of 450mg. I’m not overly excited about the prospect of the increase, but given the alternative, and where it could lead, I’ll take it.

I am going to call on the Maintain the Rage community, please keep me in your thoughts, prayers, and best wishes. I am doing OK, but not great. Because I am slowed, my wife shoulders the burden, which is not sustainable. Keep being awesome, and normalising the conversation. I’ll keep writing, as long as everyone else keeps reading, sharing, and motivating.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

2nd Year

Well I thought the First Year went by quickly, it seems as if I blinked and the second has disappeared. I thank everyone for coming on this journey through depression, weight loss, nursing, parenting, and life as a whole. It has meant so much to me that you have decided to come along for the ride.

Second Birthday

 

Firstly, the numbers. In the past twelve months I have written 67 posts, starting with Quoth the Raven and ending with this one. I have written about my success, my stumbles along the road, and the treatments I went through to save me from myself.  I began to share about my struggle with weight, and the steps taken to change the image that was in the mirror before me.  I explored more of my own struggle, ideas behind death and the nursing implications, what it is to father someone who is not your biological child, and a pictorial view of the town I love so much. From these posts, and many more, we can sum up the year with some key numbers;

  • 64,659 Words Total
  • 696 Words per Post (average)
  • 139 Comments
  • 348 Likes
  • 6,288 Views, of which the top five countries were
    1. Australia
    2. United States
    3. Canada
    4. United Kingdom
    5. New Zealand / India

These are just the figures from the Maintain The Rage website and do not account for comments, likes and shares from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, or Reddit.

When I started Maintain the Rage I had the intention of sharing what I had learnt, my tips and tricks, and general advice. I quickly realised that I would immediately be thrown into the Do these five things if you want to be rich, successful, and sexy category. I shifted to sharing about my life, not in an attempt to illicit pity or praise, but to show that you can do all the things you want to do, to juggle the different activities, work, school, family, and life, to show that even if your are struggling, thats ok. I hope that this has been a well received shift and that I have made the right choice. But judging by the reads and conversations with people in comments, direct messaging, and face to face contact, I am going to say it was the right move.

For the future of Maintain the Rage I am going to stay the course, I will continue to share my journey as a Parent of both a 1 year old, a 3 year old, and a 16 year old, my life as a Nurse, my journey through life with my Wife, my Scouting life, and my struggles and successes with depression and anxiety, and the victories and struggles through weight loss.

I thank everyone of you who have come on this journey with my and hope you have enjoyed and taken away something from the posts. I encourage all of you to ask me what you want to hear about, and what part of my life you are curious about. I also encourage you to share this blog with family and friends, not for mere likes or views, but so we can expand the community that Maintain the Rage has and continue to share together.

Thank you again,

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Wednesday Weigh Day 16

Welcome to the Sixteenth post of a continuing series of posts called Wednesday Weigh Day. These posts will be a tracker for my progress through weight loss, hopefully, and a way to share my journey, and some of my recipes.

This week has had many challenges with my depression and workload, my wife has also been extremely busy with work. I spent most of this week either emotionally eating, making poor choices out of exhaustion and lack of care, or indulging myself in an effort to feel better. This has seen the first increase in weight since this journey started.

Weight at Start: 131.7kg

Weight Today: 118.3kg

Weight Loss this Week: +1.3kg

Total Weight Loss: 13.4kg

Amount till Goal Weight: 23.3kg

lose6zeight

Due to this weeks poor choices I haven’t made any new and amazing recipes to share with everyone, I am endeavouring to make better choices this week as I cannot afford to continue to gain weight and wind up where I started from or worse.

My emotional eating has so far cost me 2.3kg. As I continue to gain weight, instead of doing it, my brain now cycles the negative self talk, with name calling, derogatory comments, and generally making me feel worse, which leads to more bigne eating and poor choices.

I thank every one for their support through this journey, it has been a lot harder than I anticipated, with more lows in mood than I expected. If nothing else it goes to show that I am just human and make mistakes along the way.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Duplicity

The word Duplicity conjures up imagery of being deceitful, untrustworthy, or as the literal translation actually goes, two faced. However, there is another meaning to Duplicity which is the state of being whereby you feel two normally conflicting emotions at the same time, both are equally as rational as the other, and both are valid emotions at the time. The later form of Duplicity is where I am at. I feel torn inside myself, like there is two me’s occupying the same space. I cannot help but think of the movies Split and Glass, both of which have a character who suffers from Disassociate Identity Disorder and has 24 known and identifiable identities occupying the same body. I am not saying that I am developing DID, but it helps draw the parallel.

Duplicity

Duplicity

This week has seemed like a struggle. I have been on placement for my Bachelor of Nursing, which was interesting but a difficulty in itself as I felt like I was simply doing my job but for free. I have been endeavouring to finish my last written assignment for the semester, in a subject I find quite interesting, but the final assessment left me feeling drained and beaten. These two things probably dragged me down enough without the continued badgering from within. My internal voice, Little Luke as previously written, has been unrelenting in the negative self talk, between my weight, my memory, my seeming inadequacies, thoughts about my children, my shortfalls as a father, shortcomings as a husband, and my absenteeism as a friend. This thrown in with constant thoughts and feelings of inadequacy and failure when it comes to my study, my work, and well every other facet of my life, has left me feeling a touch defeated.

Defeated

Defeated

This object negativity has been periodically broken by moments of spirited energy, positivity, and sometimes glee. I have been driven to finish my essay; research and plan ideas for a camp kitchen setup, and engage with my children with more frequency. On Sunday, for example, I spent the morning with my wife out at OfficeWorks, Bunnings, BCF, Anaconda, and of course Gus’ Coffee. I was more engaged than I had been in recent days. I enjoyed the time with my wife, and I felt genuinely happy about the prospect of a new project that would benefit the family. However, by the time we returned home the mood shifted from enthusiasm to a near blunted absenteeism. I would performs tasks, complete jobs, and look after the kids but feel disconnected, and had to fight the desire to simply run into my room, shut the door, and sob in the corner.

Depression

Depression

I feel that there may be a link between the Duplicity of the past week or so and the discussion regarding Masks several months ago. Masks are the voluntary changes in our state, whether to serve other better, protect ourselves, or something in between. I don’t feel that it is truly honest of me to be one thing in one moment and something completely different in another. It makes it hard on my wife, my children, and myself. It dosen’t serve any purpose, but to create division and hostility. The bible asks us to ensure that “Our yes’s be yes, and our no’s be no’s” that we are transparent and display who we are, and what we are honestly. I am struggling with what I am feeling, when I am feeling it, and the similarities to the thoughts of 2018. I don’t want to go down that road again. I have come too far in my journey to simply turn around and walk back.

Pre-Walked Path

On the surface I may be accomplishing everything. I may seem to have it all together. But underneath, not even that deep underneath, I am struggling, I am burning out, and I am failing. I need patience, love, prayer, and grace in this particular period. I thank everyone who already provides all of these things and more. I don’t know why I am feeling so Duplicitous in this very moment, I just hope I land on the uphill side of it.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Wednesday Weigh Day 15

Welcome to the Fifteenth post of a continuing series of posts called Wednesday Weigh Day. These posts will be a tracker for my progress through weight loss, hopefully, and a way to share my journey, and some of my recipes.

This week has had many challenges with my depression and workload, my wife has also been extremely busy with work. I spent most of this week either emotionally eating, making poor choices out of exhaustion and lack of care, or indulging myself in an effort to feel better. This has seen the first increase in weight since this journey started.

Weight at Start: 131.7kg

Weight Today: 117.0kg

Weight Loss this Week: +1.0kg

Total Weight Loss: 14.7kg

Amount till Goal Weight: 22.0kg

Eating Emotions

Eating Emotions

 

Due to this weeks poor choices I haven’t made any new and amazing recipes to share with everyone, instead I will share some of my poor choices from this week and their caloric value;

  • M&M McFlurry – 2678Kj
  • Chocolate Thick shake – 2110Kj
  • Burger and Chips – 4807Kj
  • Donut Pudding – 4087Kj
  • Rum & Raisin Chocolate – 4487Kj
  • Large Cheese Burger Meal – 3727Kj
  • Pizza – 6416Kj
  • Peters Ice cream – 1519Kj

I guess I am lucky that I only gained 1Kg, need to be resilient this week.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Little Luke

Through our day to day lives we reflect, review, argue, weigh up, decide, and posit over a myriad of different things. Sometimes this internalisation can be heard inside your head as an echo of your own voice. Some see this as the classic Devil vs Angel on the shoulder, or others as a respected figure they hold dear. Myself, I hear me echoed around in my head, this is sometimes drowned out by the noise around me, other thoughts, or otherwise. When I am reading it is the voice that reads the word, and even when I am writing, like right now, he is the one dictating what is to be written. This is Little Luke.

Devil and Angel on Shoulder

Devil and Angel on Shoulder

It should be stated that this discussion is not dealing with the psychosis of hearing voices, hearing instructions to do certain things, or the dehumanised detached ego of self. This is more the reflection on the voice that is you on the inside. I enjoy the fact that Little Luke reads my stories, it makes it feel more like I am a kid having a bedtime story read to me, even if it is complications surrounding acute kidney disease, or leadership principles and their applications. I am thankful that I hear the words that are being written onto the page before they are written. It gives you an odd pre-completion sanity check for the sentences, and the knowledge that what you are writing is heading somewhere. Sometimes Little Luke freezes up and forgets a word, mispronounces something and therefore spells it wrong, or get distracted by a thought, an idea, or a problem, and therefore has to be encouraged to come back on topic.

Official Conscience

Official Conscience

For some, the little voice we carry around is like Jiminey Cricket, our Official Conscience. They are our voice of reason, the sound person in your corner, the person who often tells you what would be the best course of action but you summarily ignore. Little Luke plays this role. He plays it as either the sounding board, or simply voicing what would be a sound idea, even if I end up ignoring it. Thankfully, these discussions don’t tend to become heated, Little Luke is not easily offended, and even if I have completely disregarded my Conscience, he will still be there to read me a story.

However, Little Luke is overly hash and judgemental. Small mistakes taken during the day will be dragged up for weeks. The negative self talk that comes from Little Luke does at times, have a huge impact on my mood and mental health for the day. He can berate me for days about my weight, my attitude, my choices at work, my habits, the way I spend my time, and even the fact that I listen to him. These words and the venom that comes with them is hard to escape. No amount of background noise, distractions, or changes in activity can silence Little Luke when he is on a tirade.

Is it worth keeping Little Luke around? Even if I had a way to purge my internal voice would I really want to? Would the benefits of less negativity outweigh the complete and utter silence that would follow? For all his faults, and subsequently mine, Little Luke does provide an invaluable service. I just need to kerb his behaviour a little more.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Wednesday Weigh Day 14

Welcome to the Fourteenth post of a continuing series of posts called Wednesday Weigh Day. These posts will be a tracker for my progress through weight loss, hopefully, and a way to share my journey, and some of my recipes.

This week has had many challenges with my depression and workload, my wife has also been extremely busy with work. This has led to some less than desirable choices of meals and snacks. I am just thankful that despite all of this, I broke even and did not add more weight.

Weight at Start: 131.7kg

Weight Today: 116.0kg

Weight Loss this Week: 0.0kg

Total Weight Loss: 15.7kg

Amount till Goal Weight: 21.0kg

My front and side will obviously have changed very little in a week. You’ll also notice the dip in the right shoulder. Thats the result of four reconstructive style surgeries to increase mobility and use following a fall during my service. At last check up, I have lost 33% capacity compared to a normal fit person my age.

Wednesday Weigh Day 14 - Front

Wednesday Weigh Day 14 – Front

Wednesday Weigh Day 14 - Side

Wednesday Weigh Day 14 – Side

This week I made a light version of a meal I learnt to make back in the Seventh Grade, 1998, Satay Beef. I have made some lighter choices since then, but the recipe remains much the same as it did back then. This recipe is super easy, a great one to teach the children, this is one of the first recipes I taught my son and he still makes it.

Light Satay Beef

Preparation 10 minutes

Cooking 30 minutes

Serves 4

Kilojoule per serve 1750

Ingredients

500g Diced Beef

2 Medium Onions, Halved and Sliced

2 Tbs Crunchy Peanut Butter

1 Tbs Soy Sauce

1 Tbs Curry Powder, more if you want more kick

1 Can Light Coconut Milk

4 Bags Low Cal Noodles

Method

  1. Sauté the onions until soft
  2. Add Beef and brown
  3. Add all remaining ingredients except Noodles
  4. Simmer till sauce reduced to desired consistency
  5. Prepare Noodles as per packet
  6. Serve

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Dear Mum

Dear Mum,

There are so many things I want to say, and I feel that I lack the vocabulary or the nuance to say them all. Firstly, and more obviously for-mostly, I love you. That isn’t to be taken lightly or seen as a passive line, I mean I love you. You are selfless, generous, loving, kind, and caring. You are the largest influence in my life for those traits in me. Without your influence, I would not be half the man I am today.

Always by my side

Always by my side

You are alway willing to sacrifice your time and your energy to help others. The number of times you have taken the girls for a weekend or longer to simply help Alinta and I out is beyond calculable. You care for the children and are willing to care for them our way, not yours, simply to be kind. You put others before yourself, often to your own detriment, and think nothing else of it. The example you have set for Ashley and I, and our children, lays us in good stead. The example of selflessness you have set has given me one of my most valued traits as an adult. I will never be able to live up to the standard you have set, but I will continue to try.

Mum and Dad

Mum and Dad

Your generosity, to date, knows no bounds. You are more then willing to pick up a tab, pay for the coffee, or pay for a meal, without even giving it a second thought. You have taken to be sneaky just to be generous, which is both frustrating and appreciated. Your generosity is held high amongst my friends circle, and they can even see the same generosity in me. You give more than just financially, you give with your time, your heart, and emotionally. Your level of generosity has impacted almost everyone you have come in contact with. The number of stories I have heard from people you have worked with, or come in contact with that highlighted your generosity is ridiculous. Don’t ever change your giving heart.

Mum & Darby

Mum & Darby

I knew growing up that you loved us. Even when we where in trouble as kids your love could be seen through it all. You invest so much of yourself into others, through your love, that you leave others better then when you found them. I have the inordinate joy of seeing you love on the girls, like you no doubt loved on Ashley and myself. I see you hold them, hug them, kiss them, play with them, and put them first. I see the mother that you were, and the Grandmother that you now are. It warms my heart, just to see you with them.

Answering the "Phone"

Answering the “Phone”

The kind hearted nature that you have it obvious. You do not try and be kind, that would show through, it comes to you as second nature. The above scene is an excellent portrayal of just that. With Darby sitting in your chair at work, you don’t hesitate to answer the mouse as if it were a phone, when it was passed to you by Darby. You entertain Darby by playing along to her game, in her reality, instead of bursting her balloon and dragging her back to reality. Your kindness has always been that way. Simply ask any person you have ever worked with or engaged with, and they will say you are kind, almost to a fault.

Mum on the Boat

Mum on the Boat

You care for us, our wives, our children, your husband, and somewhere in there right at the end, yourself. You always make sure that I am taking enough breaks, relaxing enough, taking time to care for myself, often while you are sacrificing yourself for someone else. You are actually interested and invested in our daily lives. As the great mother you are, you are still making sure I am sleeping enough, eating enough, drinking enough water, exercising enough, and generally existing at an acceptable level. I am eternally grateful for the level of care you continue to provide.

Wind Farms

Wind Farms

Finally, you can have a laugh. Sometimes at a joke that’s funny, sometimes at someone else’s expense, and sometimes at your own. You always have a smile on your dial, you try and lift the mood of the room by saying something timely, or funny. You know when it’s appropriate to pull a prank on someone, like about banking hours, and when its time to leave it alone. I enjoy the moments of stitched up laughter that we have shared, and I look forward to many more like them.

Christmas Mum

Christmas Mum

You have always been my greatest support, even if I didn’t realise it. You have been my rock, my safety net, my sounding board, my confidant, my example to live by, and my loving Mother. As I said at the beginning, there aren’t enough works, or words that are of a high enough calibre to describe what you mean to me, and those around you.

I love you Mum.

Luke Sondergeld

Wednesday Weigh Day 13

Welcome to the Thirteenth post of a continuing series of posts called Wednesday Weigh Day. These posts will be a tracker for my progress through weight loss, hopefully, and a way to share my journey, and some of my recipes.

Weight at Start: 131.7kg

Weight Today: 116.0kg

Weight Loss this Week: 0.6kg

Total Weight Loss: 15.7kg

Amount till Goal Weight: 21.0kg

My front and side will obviously have changed very little in a week. You’ll also notice the dip in the right shoulder. Thats the result of four reconstructive style surgeries to increase mobility and use following a fall during my service. At last check up, I have lost 33% capacity compared to a normal fit person my age.

Wednesday Weigh Day 13 - Front

Wednesday Weigh Day 13 – Front

Wednesday Weigh Day 13 - Side

Wednesday Weigh Day 13 – Side

This week didn’t see too many new or super amazing Meals that deserve a share, so I thought I would discuss some exceptionally under valued Beef cuts to include in your low Kilojoule meals. Skirt, sometimes referred to as Flank, is a great and inexpensive cut of beef for shredding. Skirt has large stranded muscle fibres that during the life of the beast do little to no work. As such, this cut is great for the slow cooker. Identify which direction the strands are running and cut perpendicular to make the trends the desired length. Then though in the slow cooker on low for 6-8 hours with your favourite flavours, I often use skirt for my Mexican Shredded Beef. Next is Ox Tail, or Osso Bucco, which comes from the tail of a Cow closest to the join with the body, and sometime the Shank is used as well. Oxtail is great for the recipe Osso Bucco, which is a slow cooked tomato based stew. The final under utilised Beef Cut is Beef Cheeks. The Cheeks are a sizeable round cut of beef about the size of a large fist. The Cheeks have just enough rendable fat to make them juicy and tender, the Cheeks also have similar striated fibres like the Flank, but not as large. Cheeks are easy and tasty, simply marinade overnight in the flavour you desire, and throw into your slow cooker for 8 hours. Your local butcher should be able to provide all of these cuts, even if they aren’t on display, just ask at the counter.

Beef Cuts

Beef Cuts

My Rockhampton

Welcome to Rockhampton

Welcome to Rockhampton

In my life I have lived in a number of cities, across most of the states of Australia. I have seldom called any of them home. I have felt that for the most part I was either a visitor, or an outsider. Even Canberra, where I spent most of my formative years, where I purchased my first house, and where my two best friends reside, I still struggled to feel a sense of community. Rockhampton, however, has surpassed that. I moved to Rockhampton in 2014 with my wife, and son. We bought a home, and started to grow roots.

Rockhampton Home

Rockhampton Home

The beginning of any community is those closest to you. I am exceptionally lucky that I have my parents and brother here, as well as my Grandfather, most of my uncles, and last but not least my Sister-in-Law. We found ourselves in one of the local churches and felt immediately at home within the church family. We quickly began to make friends with some of the congregation, and are still friends with them today. We both got jobs and began to settle in. But Rockhampton is more than family and friends.

Rockhampton Floods

Rockhampton Floods

Rockhampton is more than Beef and Floods, though both of those happen. It is a wonderful city that has all of the benefits of a large city, and none of the draw backs. Traffic in Rockhampton will delay your journey by no more then 5 minutes, and even if you are unlucky enough to be stopped by the train twice, there won’t be a massive addition to the amount of time you will need to travel.

Old Rockhampton Home

Old Rockhampton Home

Central Queensland has seen its times of hardship and struggle, and Rockhampton is no different. Whether is has been Cyclones, Flood, Downturns, or mass laying off of staff the people of Rockhampton have struggled. Images like the home above aren’t as commonplace as they once were. New mining contracts, employment opportunities in the regions, stable weather patterns, and general economical improvement has seen these houses fall in a reduction of numbers, instead of increase.

Rockhampton Architecture

Rockhampton Architecture

Rockhampton is steeped in history and grandeur, the architecture of the CBD is an excellent reflection of this. The large sandstone blocks, the grand balconies and casements, it is like looking directly into the past as you walk down the street with your latte on the way to work.

Rockhampton Cemetery

Rockhampton Cemetery

A quick stroll through the Rockhampton Cemetery will show you that there have been families here in Rockhampton since the town was first planted. You can see the introduction of vaccines and reduction of childhood deaths. You can see the different faiths and belief reflected in burial practices, tombstones, and words on memorial plates. As a snapshot of the lives of people in Rockhampton, the cemetery shows this.

Rockhampton Masonic Temple

Rockhampton Masonic Temple

Every historical building has seen use after use, nothing is left to rot and collapse. The Rockhampton Masonic Temple has seen numerous uses over the years, the obvious original purpose, an office space, and most recently a dance studio. This constant renewal of life ensures these amazing structures are still in place for our children and theirs.

Gospel Hall

Gospel Hall

But, not all things that are old need a new purpose. The old Gospel Hall is still to this day being used for exactly what it was designed for. The well maintained building still strikes imagery of old Churches nestled on hill tops, or centred in an old country town. This one is tucked away, unassumingly on the outer edge of our CBD.

Rockhampton Trains

Rockhampton Trains

When we first moved to Rockhampton my wife couldn’t get over the fact that there were trains rolling down the middle of the road, through the middle of the CBD, in the middle of the day. 5 years on, nothing has changed. The railway which bought much of the life and business to Rockhampton in the early years, still acts as an artery providing much commerce in the way of goods and cattle. I see the train as our own mid street carriage way like Melbourne has her trams.

Rockhampton Graffiti

Rockhampton Graffiti

Similarly the lanes and alley ways are decorated like much of Sydney or Melbourne. They aren’t hate speech, or graven images, just simple artwork from our young and young at heart. The tasteful art is ever changing, walking down this alley in a months time will spring forth new imagery and life, with its time waining just as quickly.

Rockhampton Laneway Life

Rockhampton Laneway Life

The laneways are not simply an avenue for street art, they are the practical driveway of many a home and business. As such, the laneways see springs of life through hedges, flowers, and ferneries. This life brings forth colour and greenery to an otherwise cold and grey landscape. It also serves to show the individuality of the person who lives in the  home, or operates their business from the laneway.

Rockhampton Laneway

Rockhampton Laneway

With almost more laneways than Sydney, seemingly, there is no end to what can be found as soon as you round the corner. It is safe to say though that each laneway is full of  unheard stories, unmet people, and connections that are yet to made. One of the best things about living in Rockhampton is the sense that if you hang around long enough, you may just get the chance to hear all the stories tucked away in these laneways.

Gus' Coffee Rockhampton

Gus’ Coffee Rockhampton

Every city has their special little coffee hole, somewhere where you can unwind, enjoy a lovely cup of coffee, and just recharge. For me and my kin, that place is Gus’. A local chap who started the business with the singleminded goal of making a great coffee, a real “Shot above the rest”. Though everyone around Rockhampton has their own idea of the best coffee; The Two Professors, Stellarosa, Zaraffas, or Coffee Club jut to name a few.

Samo's Fish Bar

Samo’s Fish Bar

One thing that is probably universally agreed upon is the best fish and chips in town goes to Samo’s Fish Bar. A Friday night can see you waiting for up to an hour for your order, Samo’s is that popular. Their chips are always crisp and hot, the fish looks thick and juicy (I’m allergic so I will say Looks), and the prices are hard to beat. Samo’s is known by almost every person who lives in Rockhampton, and if they haven’t eaten there themselves they know someone who has.

IMG_0639

Keppel Island

IMG_3037

Fish

If, however, you would prefer to catch your own fish and prepare them to your personal taste, then Rockhampton is conveniently situated about 30 minutes from Yeppoon and Emu Park, both are great launching platforms for your boating adventure to the Keppels. The diversity of the seafood that is available to the cunning anglers is impressive, an even if you spend the day on the water without so much as a bite, you are surrounded by some of the clearest waters and best views around.

War Memorial

War Memorial

I’ve been around the country a number of times, I have served in the military for five year, and subsequently seen my fair share of War Memorials. Outside of the capital cities I can say, hands down, the memorial at Emu Park is stunning. It captures the moments of the war that some people don’t realise, it honours the memory of those who have gone before us, and has one of the most beautiful memorial pieces I have ever seen. At the right angle, the above photographed sits in just a way that the ships and men appear as though they are storming the beach of Emu Park.

My Backyard

My Backyard

The great things about Rockhampton, Rockhampton being a regional centre, a small town feel with the big town attractions, a town of classical values, a town that believes in bettering itself, a town that hangs onto traditions, its a town everyone can call home. From my back yard to yours, I encourage you to stop in and share a steak, at the Beef Capital of Australia, Rockhampton.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Wednesday Weigh Day 12

Welcome to the Twelfth post of a continuing series of posts called Wednesday Weigh Day. These posts will be a tracker for my progress through weight loss, hopefully, and a way to share my journey, and some of my recipes.

This week I managed to recover from the Easter Binge, and get closer to my goal.

Weight at Start: 131.7kg

Weight Today: 116.6kg

Weight Loss this Week: 1.2kg

Total Weight Loss: 15.1kg

Amount till Goal Weight: 21.6kg

My front and side will obviously have changed very little in a week. This week, being 12 weeks since I began this journey, I decided to have a look at the side by side to see the transformation so far. You’ll also notice the dip in the right shoulder. Thats the result of four reconstructive style surgeries to increase mobility and use following a fall during my service. At last check up, I have lost 33% capacity compared to a normal fit person my age.

 

 

By Far the best, and easiest, Recipe this week was the Satay Beef. This recipe is one I cam up with in my cooking class back in grade 9 (2001). Its one of the first recipes I taught my son, and it is a great little staple for a quick and easy meal.

IMG_4667

Satay Beef

Serves 5

Kilojoules per Serve 1543

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 30 Minutes

Ingredients:

750g Diced Beef

3 Brown Onions

750g Frozen Sliced Beans

800g Changs Super Lo Cal Noodles

2 ½ Tbs Peanut Butter

1 ½ Tbs Soy Sauce

2 Tbs Curry Power, adjust for personal taste

1 Cup Water

Method

  1. Prepare the Noodle as per the package.
  2. In a medium high pan sauté the onions till soft.
  3. Add the beef, and cook till browned.
  4. Add remaining ingredients.
  5. Simmer till at desired consistency.
  6. Serve or store for an easy work meal.

 

Dear Wife

Dear Wife,

I know you hate these public displays of emotion, especially affection. They cause you to feel anxious, shy, and force you to become a little more recluse. I know that what we feel is between Us and God. I know that everything I am going to say here is of no surprise. And it shouldn’t be. This should be nothing more than an overly public confirmation of everything you already know. But I am going to share it anyway.

While I am writing this you are baking treats for our children and trying to pry out of me what I am writing. I am doing my level best, and failing, at trying to hide it from you. You tell me that somedays I am a brick wall, and this is true. But even still you manage to leave your mark, and it doesn’t go un-noticed. I know some days it seems like I am not present, I’m sucked into my phone, or zoned out on TV, or even simply staring off into space. You try to engage with me, I give simple one and two word answers and seemingly get annouyed when I have to answer anything more. All in all, a wall. However, every conversation, every comment, every question, is graffiti on that wall. It is something that I will see, and feel, and show forever. Every conversation is cherished. Every moment together is precious.

Graffiti on the Wall

Graffiti on the Wall

You could very well be the most loving, kind, good hearted person I know. You not only see the silver lining in almost every situation, you see the good in every person, and every action. There are days were I feel like I am the worst human being, not worth anything, and generally useless. You always take the time to life me up, encourage me, show me what I am, what I am capable of, and the worth that you and God sees. I love your selflessness, your drive, and your inability to do something half arsed. You kill yourself over a computer, planning, researching, replanning, organising, building, and scripting every class you teach. Every classes script is uniquely written for each student. You endeavour to make sure that every single person in that classroom has the very best shot at learning, and growing. It is that that level of dedication and self sacrifice I strive to even get even half way towards, so that I can be the best nurse, the best father, the best husband that I can be.

Self Sacrifice

Self Sacrifice

My love for you grows every day. Every day I get the opportunity to wake up next to you, fall asleep listening to your faint gremlin like snore, every time I come home to your embrace, even hear your voice on your voicemail. I am so incredibly lucky to have you in my life, let alone have you as my wife, the mother of our 3 beautiful children, my confidant, my sounding board, my common sense, my anchor in the storm, my shield, my shoulder to cry on, and my warm body to curl up with. Every day I think I couldn’t love you more, and every day I am exceedingly delighted to be proven wrong.

If not for you I would not have come to know Christ in the very real and intimate way we should. I would probably have wound up miserable in the middle of the ocean somewhere pining for my next drink in one moment, while struggling with my direction and sense of self in the next. You showed me what was possible, the love that He can provide. You showed me how much closer we could be with Him in our lives. You nurtured me through my stupid questions, and encouraged me to lean in. You are the physical embodiment of what Jesus Christ has asked of us. You are kind, love others, you share the word at every possibility, and you live your life like it is the only bible someone might read. You are amazing.

I Love You - I Know

I Love You – I Know

If by now you can still stomach me being open for just a few word longer I will conclude. Alinta, you are the kindest, sweetest, nicest, most loving person I have ever had the pleasure of crossing paths with. You take me at my faults and use them to help me grow. You soften my often hasty, and rash decisions, but you still allow me to lead or decide as necessary. You are the love of my life, and I just wanted you to know that.

Love you Always

Luke Sondergeld

Wednesday Weigh Day 11

Welcome to the Eleventh of a continuing series of posts called Wednesday Weigh Day. These posts will be a tracker for my progress through weight loss, hopefully, and a way to share my journey, and some of my recipes. With a current Daily Kilojoule goal of 5000Kj, to better tie in with my wife who is also on the weight loss journey, and to expedite the weight loss so I can wok out my neutral caloric intake. I have been on the 5000Kj goal for just over of a month now and have settled into the reduced intake reasonably well.

This week was a bit of a blow out. My wife and I decided to not be cautious over the 4 days of Easter and indulge a little. Enjoy the Chocolate, have our own Passover meal, consume more Hot Cross Buns then I care to remember, and just indulge a little. Subsequently, there were reprucussions.

Weight at Start: 131.7kg

Goal Weight: 95kg

Weight Today: 117.7kg

Weight Loss this Week: +0.7kg

Total Weight Loss: 14.0kg

Amount till Goal Weight: 22.7kg

My front and side will obviously have changed very little in a week, though there are changes. If you want to see the biggest change I encourage you to look at Week 1, then look back at these pictures. Having said that, I have noticed that on most pair of pants I have reclaimed yet another belt loop.

Wednesday Weigh Day 11 - Front

Wednesday Weigh Day 11 – Front

 

Wednesday Weigh Day 11 - Side

Wednesday Weigh Day 11 – Side

This week I thought I would share my Soy and Ginger Beef recipe. It’s an adaptation of a recipe from one our old Diabetic diet boss, when my wife was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes. I find these recipes a good place to start as they have eliminated most of the carbohydrates and limited the fats, thus lowering the Kilojoules.

VegeNoodles - Soy and Ginger Beef

VegeNoodles – Soy and Ginger Beef

 

Soy and Ginger Beef

Prep time 20 minutes (Plus 1-2 Hours Marinading time)

Cook time 15 mins

Serves 4

Kilojoules per serve 1219

Ingredients:

500g Diced Beef

3 Large Zucchini

2 Large Carrots

Juice of 1 Lemon

1 Tbs Seseme Oil

Marinade:

2 Tsp Lemon Juice

2 Tsp Soy Sauce

1 Clove Garlic (Though I tend to be a bit heavier handed)

1 Tsp Finely grated Ginger (again I tend to be a bit heavier handed)

½ Tsp Five Spice Powder

Optional Extras:

40g Cashews – 255Kj

Handful of Mint – Negligible

Handful Coriander – Negligible

300g Cherry Tomatos – 47Kj

300g Capsicum – 89Kj

Method

  1. Combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Add the Diced Beef, toss thoroughly, cover, and refrigerate for 1-2 Hours
  3. Spiralise, Zoodle, or otherwise make your Zucchini and Carrot tiny Noodles as pictured above.
  4. Add remaining ingredients, including any Optional ingredients. Toss well.
  5. Heat a frypan over a Medium High heat.
  6. Ass Sesame oil to pan. Fry the Beef until cooked through, approximately 10 minutes.
  7. Add Vegetable Noodles to a bowl, add Beef on top.
  8. Serve.

If you see a post on Facebook that involves a meal that hasn’t been covered here at Maintain the Rage, please message me, or comment below and I may be able to write a special post with the recipe.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Point in the Road

We are all so focussed on where we are going; the next goal, the next promotion, the next holiday, even our next home. This forward focus is needed to ensure we don’t stagnate, but, at times, we focus so much on the future we lose sight of where we are, and those who are on the journey with us. As we travel down the road of life, we sometimes need to stop at a point in the road, look at how far we have come already, and refocus with a renewed energy.

Childhood Home

Childhood Home

Above is the picture of one of my childhood homes. I say one of as my father served in the Australian Army for just over 22 years and subsequently moved around a fair bit as a child. At this point in our lives, we were a single income family, being my fathers. Our family consisted of my Mum, Dad, myself and a newly born younger brother. My father was a Corporal but while living in the house we would see his promotion to Sergeant. We didn’t have a lot, as the income of a serving member back in the late 80’s and early 90’s was less than desirable, but that didn’t mean that our childhood was lacking; we spent every day doing some kind of activity to stretch our physical and mental selves. I start at this point in my life, which I reconstruct much from stories and photos, for this reflective journey both because I have some memory of this house and because we have moved back to Rockhampton, the city in which this house is located.

My Service

My Service

Fast forward a number of years and many things have happened. We would move to Sydney and spend nearly 9 years there before moving to Canberra and really planting roots. My parents would finally be in a financial position to buy their first home, at 31 and 34 years of age. This meant that my mother would have to return to full time work and thus my brother and I would need to be far more responsible. With afternoons spent completing addition chores, cooking meals (where I found my love of feeding people), and finishing homework, it would be the foundation of my self reliance.

School would be school, where I graduated from year 12 and immediately began working full time in Fast Food. Jobs would come and go, and eventually I would secure a job with Employment and Workplace relations. This job would then enable me to secure my first Home. The years would go by, and the waist would began to expand. In 2008 I decided to join the Navy, and at that point I weighed 149kg and I had to be under 100kg to enrol in the Navy. I gave myself twelve months to lose 49kg and by January 2009 I would sign the bottom line, literally, and begin my basic training.

Love

Love

During my service I would reconnect with an old friend, Alinta. We would date, engage and marry, inside of 12 months. I was still serving in the Navy, and as most Navy people do I went to sea, two weeks after our Marriage, for 6 months. When I came home, my boss told me to enjoy the 2 weeks off, we will be going away for 11 months in the next year.  Alinta and I both decided that life at sea, and being in the Navy was no longer going to work. In 2014 I discharged from the Navy, and set on new path to Ministry.

Our House

Our House

We would buy our home late 2014, move in and immediately begin making it ours. I would spend my time studying and working in the local Church.  We would be blessed with our first daughter December 2015. Unfortunately, I would be laid up for an extended period when my bowel decided to perforate in early 2016. This period was painful, restrictive, and all round unpleasant. It did however give me plenty of time to think over where I was on the road and what I doing. My time in bed, or on the couch, would reveal that vocational governmental ministry was not currently in my immediate future. What I did need was a skill that was actually useful in the real world, as there isn’t a huge call for people to drive warships outside of the Navy… who knew.

Life Changing Scar

Life Changing Scar

So after much thought I headed down the path to become a Nurse. Firstly completing my Diploma, so that I could work and earn money whilst studying to become an RN. I am now studying my Bachelor to become the Registered Nurse I wanted to be. The skills I learnt in the Diploma set me up, not just to work, but for further study. I have felt, so far, that I have learnt more during the Diploma than I have in the Bachelor. The Bachelor does cover some of the “higher” thinking processes, but nothing a good seasoned EEN wouldn’t know or be able to work out.

New Career

New Career

I can honestly say that I love my Job. I love Nursing. Even at 2 in the morning when a patient has finally opened their bowels after 4 days, I still love my job. I look at the rest of this year and think that I have soo much left to go with my study. I sometimes feel like it is insurmountable. But I stop and look back on the road travelled thus far, I think about all the decisions that have lead to this point, I think about all the people I encountered and how every little word and conversation has shaped who I am. After reflecting on the road that has been, the road ahead doesn’t seem so bad. There are only 18 weeks left in the Academic year. 10 of those weeks I will be on placement. I graduate on the 8th of December, and I WILL graduate.

The past 30 years have culminated to this point, every person and very decision. The past 20 years have shaped how I look at others, situations, and deal with emotions. The past 10 years have been a crucible in which I have developed my attitude, my ethics, my values and my beliefs. The past 10 years has also bought me my family, my wife, my son, and my two beautiful daughters. The road thus far has seen some twists and turns, some speed bumps and seeming road blocks, but the road ahead seems slightly less foggy and confused.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Wednesday Weigh Day 10

Welcome to the Tenth of a continuing series of posts called Wednesday Weigh Day. These posts will be a tracker for my progress through weight loss, hopefully, and a way to share my journey, and some of my recipes. With a current Daily Kilojoule goal of 5000Kj, to better tie in with my wife who is also on the weight loss journey, and to expedite the weight loss so I can wok out my neutral caloric intake. I have been on the 5000Kj goal for just over of a month now and have settled into the reduced intake reasonably well.

I have found this week that I have been sneaking extra Kilojoules here and there due to boredom, hunger, depression, or simple cravings. This hasn’t hit my weight loss too hard, but I know this isn’t a great habit to continue.

Weight at Start: 131.7kg

Goal Weight: 95kg

Weight Today: 117.0kg

Weight Loss this Week: 0.6kg

Total Weight Loss: 14.7kg

Amount till Goal Weight: 22.0kg

My front and side will obviously have changed very little in a week, though there are changes. If you want to see the biggest change I encourage you to look at Week 1, then look back at these pictures. Having said that, I have noticed that on most pair of pants I have reclaimed yet another belt loop.

Wednesday Weigh Day 10 - Front

Wednesday Weigh Day 10 – Front

Wednesday Weigh Day 10 - Side

Wednesday Weigh Day 10 – Side

This week I thought I would share my Naked Chicken Parmie recipe. I know that many people have a fairly set idea on what a Parmie should contain and how it should be cooked. This recipe serves to simply make a lighter version of the pub classic.

Naked Parmie

Naked Parmie

Naked Chicken Parmie

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 30 mins

Serves 4

Kilojoules per serve 946

Ingredients:

4 Large Chicken Thighs

300g Tinned Diced Tomatoes

40g Mozzarella Cheese

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
  2. Trim the Chicken Thighs of all fat, and place on a Baking Tray.
  3. Divide the Tomatoes over the Chicken Thighs, then cover with the Cheese.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the Cheese is golden brown and the chicken cooked though.
  5. Serve.

Optional Extras

2 Slices Ham 222Kj per serve

150g Sweet Potato Chips 450Kj per serve

 

If you see a post on Facebook that involves a meal that hasn’t been covered here at Maintain the Rage, please message me, or comment below and I may be able to write a special post with the recipe.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Staying Afloat

One of my readers asked if I could write about my study disciplines; what I do to stay on top of my assignments and study load. I have written in the past about being a studious student, returning to study, and the sacrifices made along the way. To truly understand how I keep on top of University, or TAFE for that matter, we must look holistically. After all it no good looking at the bridge without understanding how the rudder works.

To make sure that I can minimise wasted time I prep a lot of my meals, iron my uniforms a week in advance and generally try to limit the wasted little moments in the day. As you may of have seen, if you follow my facebook feed, I spend roughly 2 hours in the kitchen prepping on Saturday. These two hours prepare my breakfasts for the week, all my snacks, my lunches, and even two dinners. If I was to spend time every day to make the same or similar, it would consume somewhere closer to six odd hours. That’s four hours saved just in meal prep. Meal prepping also has the advantage of stopping or slowing the temptation to snack on things that aren’t the lowest in calories, or the best of choices.

Meal Prep

Meal Prep

As anybody who has read anything I have written knows, I am a nurse. With that comes the inordinate joy of shift work. This isn’t always the most convenient thing to deal with, but can be turned to an advantage. If I am working a Late shift, which starts at 1500, I can see the wife and children off and spend the morning, unencumbered, to study, write essays, or otherwise get things done. An early shift means I am leaving before the kids, and return home at about 1600. This generally means I am not sitting down to study until the kids are in bed. Night shifts are a thing unto themselves, I can usually sneak a couple of hours here and there, or sacrifice sleep if I am in a pinch.

Stay Focused

Stay Focused

I often get asked how I do it, or what’s you secret, or something similar. As you can see I have set in place some things that save time and help with making time for study. The biggest tip is STOP PROCRASTINATING AND STUDY! I am completely guilty of this as well. I will procrasticlean, procrasticook, and procrastianythingelsethatisntstudy. So it comes from a place of understanding and not hate. The first time I sat down at my desk and thought about study, I had all of my modelling stuff covering my table, which is something I would rather be doing then study, so I had to remove it and stash it away to remove temptation. It now sits in my cupboard, in a box with “Box O Bugs” written up the side, enticing me to finish my assessments so I can pull them out again. Which leads me to reward or incentive. You need to balance work and play. I have set aside my modelling till this semesters work is done. You may play video games, have a book you want to read, or even a weekend camping to celebrate. It also pays to have your eyes on the prize. I know my graduation is December 8th this year. I know that the endless assignments and study comes to an end in a little under seven months.

Study

Study

So there it is, nothing fancy, just planning, prepping, using all time available, stop procrastinating, rewarding, and keeping your eyes on the prize. If you have another method of getting through the study blues or a tip to save time, comment below. If you would like to know more or have any other questions about study or time management please add a comment below.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Wednesday Weigh Day 9

Welcome to the Ninth of a continuing series of posts called Wednesday Weigh Day. These posts will be a tracker for my progress through weight loss, hopefully, and a way to share my journey, and some of my recipes. With a current Daily Kilojoule goal of 5000Kj, to better tie in with my wife who is also on the weight loss journey, and to expedite the weight loss so I can wok out my neutral caloric intake. I have been on the 5000Kj goal for just shy of a month now and have settled into the reduced intake reasonably well.

Weight at Start: 131.7kg

Goal Weight: 95kg

Weight Today: 117.6kg

Weight Loss this Week: 0.0kg

Total Weight Loss: 14.1kg

Amount till Goal Weight: 22.6kg

My front and side will obviously have changed very little in a week, though there are changes. If you want to see the biggest change I encourage you to look at Week 1, then look back at these pictures. Having said that, I have noticed that on most pair of pants I have reclaimed yet another belt loop.

Wednesday Weigh Day 9 - Front

Wednesday Weigh Day 9 – Front

Wednesday Weigh Day 9 - Side

This week I thought I would share my Corned Beef (Silverside) recipe. I know that many families around Australia have their own secret concoction that makes their Corned Beef there’s, so this one is mine.

Corned Beef

Prep time 5 minutes

Cook time 4-5 Hours

Ingredients:

1.5 – 2kg Corned Beef

3 Tbs Molasses

2 Tbs Whole Peppercorns

1 Tbs Cloves

1 Cup Malt Vinegar

Boiling Water to Cover

Method

  1. Rinse any excess brining solution off the Corned Beef, and pat dry.
  2. Add Molasses, Peppercorns, Cloves, and Malt Vinegar to the slow cooker
  3. Add Corned Beef.
  4. Add Boiling Water to cover the Corned Beef, or until it starts to float.
  5. Cook on Low for 4-5 hours.
  6. Divide and Serve with roasted vegetables, and a Light White Sauce.

Light White Sauce

Serves 5

Kilojoules per Serve 458

Prep time 5 minutes

Cook time 15 minutes

Ingredients:

400ml Light Milk

1 Tsp Dijon Mustard

40g Flour

30g Butter

Method

  1. Bring a nonstick pan up to a medium heat.
  2. Add butter and melt.
  3. When small bubbles being to appear add Flour.
  4. Stir constantly a cook off the Flour for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add the Milk and Dijon, and continue to stir.
  6. Stir until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes.
  7. Serve.

If you see a post on Facebook that involves a meal that hasn’t been covered here at Maintain the Rage, please message me, or comment below and I may be able to write a special post with the recipe.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Step Dad

As most of my regular readers would be aware I am a father to three beautiful children, two young girls who are One and Three, and a 16 year old boy. For those doing the math in their heads, no I did not have a son at 15, Joseph is my wife’s son to her first husband, and he is my son, period. Having a step-child is no real different to having children, you still need to love on them, guide them through trials and tribulations, and you need to be there when times are tough for them. I wrote a while ago about boundaries, and encouragements for the children, and all of this is extremely relevant, but there are some pitfalls, and they are quite deep.

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When I first came on the scene, dating Alinta, and generally being around Joseph he was Nine years old. I didn’t force any sort of title on him, I told him my name was Luke and he could make his own mind up. Over the proceeding months, I showed him how to properly set a table, showed him chores he could do around the house to be useful, playing imaginary games in the back yard, and generally hung out. One night, at the dinner table, about three months into the relationship, Joseph stops eating at looks at me, and he says I think I am going to call you Dad. My heart melted. The hardest thing with any step relationship with a child is creating a close enough bond with them so they feel as though there is no difference between you and who would be their parent. Our relationship has grown since the early days, he gives as good as he gets now which is refreshing, but he still calls me Dad, no matter how angry or twisted he gets.

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Another complication which needs to be addressed is the Biological parent. In my instance Bio-Dad. Once Joseph had decided to call me Dad he was quickly getting confused between the two of us in conversation, I suggested that while he was with his mother and I he could refer to his Dad as Bio-Dad, keeps it all clean and simple. What I hadn’t  expected was when he visited Bio-Dad and he was talking about me as Dad and was corrected by his Nanna to call me Step-Dad, Joseph got quite fired up and defended me as just Dad. This isn’t the case for every parent, step-parent or otherwise, but it is still a complication.

The other half of this problem is arranging time with the Bio-Parent. I know plenty of people who loathe seeing their child go to the Bio-Parent, get spoiled rotten for two weeks, then come home. Initially, I loathed Joseph going away, as I would have to spend the next 3 months correcting him and directing him to get him back to where he was before he left. Since then I have softened, I do not stop Joseph spending time with his Bio-Dad, we arranged a number of years ago the Easter and Term 3 school holidays are free game for Bio-Dad, instead I encourage Joseph to do all the things his Bio-Dad wants to do, but stress that he doesn’t ask for any expensive gifts. His Bio-Dad is not a wish granting fairy. The short and tall of all of this is you need to be comfortable allowing your Step-Child visitations with the Bio-Parent. It’s going to hurt, it’s going to be rough, but it is in the best interest of the child, and that’s what’s important.

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Parenting a step-child can be difficult. Some children make it exceedingly difficult for you to really fulfil the role of Mum or Dad, others make it all too easy. As a step-parent you are not second rate, or just a fill in, you are their parent, sometimes more so because you chose to be there. You looked at the Child and decided that you can step up and be the parent they need. To all my brothers and sisters out there who are parenting a step-child, stand up, be proud, and know that you are awesome.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Wednesday Weigh Day 8

Welcome to the Eighth of a continuing series of posts called Wednesday Weigh Day. These posts will be a tracker for my progress through weight loss, hopefully, and a way to share my journey, and some of my recipes. With a current Daily Kilojoule goal of 5000Kj, to better tie in with my wife who is also on the weight loss journey, and to expedite the weight loss so I can wok out my neutral caloric intake. I have been on the 5000Kj goal for just shy of a month now and have settled into the reduced intake reasonably well.

Weight at Start: 131.7kg

Goal Weight: 95kg

Weight Today: 117.6kg

Weight Loss this Week: 1.1kg

Total Weight Loss: 14.1kg

Amount till Goal Weight: 22.6kg

My front and side will obviously have changed very little in a week, though there are changes. If you want to see the biggest change I encourage you to look at Week 1, then look back at these pictures. Having said that, I have noticed that on most pair of pants I have reclaimed yet another belt loop.

Wednesday Weigh Day 8 - Front

Wednesday Weigh Day 8 - Side

Wednesday Weigh Day 8 – Side

This week the standout meal, based on comments on Facebook, and personal feedback, was the Loaded Man Pie. The great thing about this recipe is that you can add or remove things as you desire. The base of the Man Pie itself is just the eggs and ricotta, other than that it’s all flavour and filling. Be Creative!

Loaded Man Pie

Loaded Man Pie

Loaded Man Pie

Serves 10

Kilojoules per Serve 1123

Prep time 25 minutes

Cook time 45 – 60 Minutes

Ingredients:

20 Eggs

2 Onions finely diced

750g Light Ricotta

800g Diced Pumpkin, Peeled

250g Diced Ham

2 Diced Capsicums

280g Baby Spinach, Wilted and Cooled

350g Diced Mushroom, Cooked and Cooled

10 Cloves Garlic

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius.
  2. Combine the Eggs and Ricotta in a large bowl.
  3. Add all remaining ingredients and mix well.
  4. Add mixture to a large, greased or lined, baking dish. The baking dish should be ceramic or glass to ensure even cooking.
  5. Place in oven for 45-60 minutes, until golden brown on top, no giggly bits, and a metal skewer can be inserted in the middle with no egg coming back on it.
  6. Divide and Serve.

The recipe above is for a Quiche, though there was a discussion many many moons ago about how Men don’t eat Quiches and Salads, so in our household they became Man Pies. Times have softened the stance on salad, mainly due to ever expanding waistlines, but it is still to this day called Man Pie here at The Hearth.

If you see a post on Facebook that involves a meal that hasn’t been covered here at Maintain the Rage, please message me, or comment below and I may be able to write a special post with the recipe.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Good Death

Over the past couple of weeks I have been reflecting on palliative care and what it is to experience a Good Death. I have had the honour of being a nurse to several patients in their final days and moments, and to my glee they have all experienced what I would call a Good Death. This also triggered thoughts surrounding my family losses in recent years, and the ones that are to come. More broadly this raised the discussion around assisted suicide and the moral, legal, and ethical issues surrounding the idea.

Some people will find it unusual or even confronting to read the fact that I had glee in my heart when dealing with someones death. Please realise that it warms my heart to see friends and family surrounding someone, who is comfortable, in no pain, well presented and cared for, all in their final moments on the planet. For me I define a good death by several factors. Firstly, comfort; the patient should be as comfortable as physically, emotionally, and spiritually possible. If this means Morphine infusions so be it, if it’s aromatherapy so be it, 12 pillows, a heater, their favourite blanket, if it can be arranged and not be a danger to them that’s what I will do. Secondly is pain; unfortunately most of us won’t meet the end of life without pain. My job as a nurse is to liaise with Doctors and ensure that the pain is either eliminated all together, or kept to an absolute minimum. Thirdly, well presented and cared for; the patient should have their hygiene needs met, new clothes as appropriate, hair attended, mouth cares attended, clean pad if appropriate, and generally look like someone has actually cared for them. Finally, family, and this can be a tricky one. Nobody can force family to be in attendance. Nobody can force family to be civil. We can facilitate an environment whereby the family don’t feel the need to clash, bicker, or argue with one another. The family of the patient should be able to say their goodbyes in a fashion that suits both them and the patient. Nothing will fill a person with regret quicker than not seeing a family member in their final moments, and having to apologise at the funeral.

Nan

Nan

A couple of years ago I lost my Nan and my Aunty within the same week. My Grandfather lost a Wife and his Only daughter. It was a rough week, and an emotional roller coaster. My Aunty suffered a massive brain haemorrhage and spent over a week in ICU before being declared brain dead. Within 24 hours of her passing she saved 6 lives as an organ donor. Please register to donate your organs here. My Nan was moved to palliate care after 4 days on a medical ward deteriorating. She spent 3 days on the ward before being called back to God. In those three days she was surrounded by family, memories, stories, and a whole gambit of emotion. She was prayed for, prayed over, and had the last rights read to her by the local chaplain. She was kept comfortable by some of the most attentive nurses I have ever met – one of the driving forces behind my choice to become a nurse. She was part of a going away party the night before she passed whereby her husband, sons and their family at pizza, drank beer, and reminisced over stories old, and not so old. There was laughter, there was tears, there was acceptance. We left Nan that evening and returned in the morning. That morning the Cheyne Stokes pattern kicked into high gear, we all knew it was close. We gathered around, and there was an absolute silence, and she slipped away. I led a prayer for her as she was taken back to be with God, and then the inevitable emotional release hit all of us like a ton of bricks. There was tears, and hugs, and silent nods of acceptance. My Nan passed without pain, well presented and cared for, surrounded by her family. She experienced a Good Death.

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In the effort to ensure that everyone has the opportunity for their Good Death, the conversation around Assisted Suicide or Euthanasia was bound to come to the front. My viewpoint is simple, everyone has the right to choose the way they want to die, how it looks, who is there, and what is involved. I am happy to facilitate all of that, just don’t ask me to push you over the edge. I can appreciate the fact that some people are in immense amounts of pain, and that their final days could be potentially agonising, though I am not convinced that a medical and pharmaceutical care plan could not deal with the pain. I also appreciate that some people won’t have a quality of life that they are accustomed to in their final days. I am not convinced that a well structured and considered Nursing care plan could make their final moments as dignified and for-filling as possible. I know that this subject is both currently controversial and emotionally charged, however it is something that needs to be discussed. It is also something that is unlikely to simply go away.

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With all of this said, the best way to ensure that the patient, a family member, or even yourself experiences a Good Death is to talk to your friends and family. If you want to be an organ donor, register and tell people so they know. Have an Advance Health Directive drafted so your wishes, should the terrible befall you, can be executed. Talk with your friends and family about your wishes and how you would like to be treated. Be informed of what is available in your region for palliation. Can you be palliated in your own home? Do you need to go to hospital? Would you need to travel to be palliated? These seemingly macabre things are considered as irrelevant or too distant to warrant discussion, but accidents can happen to anyone, or a sudden and fatal medical episode could befall you. Set yourself up properly for a Good Death.

Maintain The Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Wednesday Weigh Day 7

Welcome to the Seventh of a continuing series of posts called Wednesday Weigh Day. These posts will be a tracker for my progress through weight loss, hopefully, and a way to share my journey, and some of my recipes. With a current Daily Kilojoule goal of 5000Kj, to better tie in with my wife, who is also on the weight loss journey. I have been on the 5000Kj goal for a little over a fortnight now and have settled into the reduced intake reasonably well.

Weight at Start: 131.7kg

Goal Weight: 95kg

Weight Today: 118.7kg

Weight Loss this Week: 0.4kg

Total Weight Loss: 13.0kg

Amount till Goal Weight: 23.7kg

This week has been a bit of a holding pattern as far as food goes and also inability to take some snap shots. With work being busy, and University assignments and Residential School filling my timetable, and my wife having Parent Teacher interviews till 1900 at night. As such most of our food has been tried and true recipes like Chicken Fried “Rice”, Man Pie, Steak and Veg, or Chicken and Salad.

If you see a post on Facebook that involves a meal that hasn’t been covered here at Maintain the Rage, please message me, or comment below and I may be able to write a special post with the recipe.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Sacrifice

In every day life we all sacrifice one thing for the sake of another. Those of us with children this seems to be the status quo. Our sacrifices could be be studying to better ourselves and move further along in our profession, working long or odd hours to increase our income through shift loadings or facilitate care of our children; and sometimes it is merely sacrificing what we would like to do in order to do what we should do for our family, our loved ones, or even ourselves.

Res School

Res School

For those of you who have been reading my posts for a while know that University has recently started back again. This has meant the onslaught of assignments has begun. I am studying Full Time, and working 8 shifts a fortnight. This has meant that this semester I have eight assignments due by July, a three day mandatory residential school, and four weeks of placements. This doesn’t sound like a lot, but when I need to take leave from work to go and work for free, or use my days off in my roster to attend residential school, it makes a difference. This fortnight for example, I will be working 13 days straight. I will work for five days, have my three days rostered off which will be consumed by residential school, then another five days on at work. I study full time to advance my career, I advance my career to better support my family with improved income, and open up opportunities in the future to guarantee job security. I sacrifice the short term for long term gain.

Assignments

Assignments

I work in an acute care hospital. I work all shifts; Early, Late and Night Duty. I work eight shifts a fortnight. I miss a lot of time with my children and my wife because I am either at work, recovering from work, or getting ready for work.  As a Nurse there are a myriad of different opportunities for us. We can work in a Doctors office, an acute care hospital, aged care facility, community based organisation, some schools, specialised work sites, our military. Some of these jobs have the benefit of only working day time hours, 9-5 or 8-4 for example. The rest rely on nurses being at the facility 24/7 and therefore require a roster system to cover the whole day. To better my skills and earn a little extra money for the family, I opted to work in an acute care facility, which involves working all shifts. This means I am often at work when my family is home, sleeping when my family is awake, or at home while they are at school. It is not unusual to go several days without seeing my children, and if it wasn’t for my wife burning her candle from both ends with work, I wouldn’t see her either. I sacrifice the amount of time I get with my family to ensure a better present and future quality of life.

Study

Study

Outside of work, and study the sacrifices move into two categories; wants and needs. Often I find myself sacrificing, willingly, what I would like to do with what needs to be done. For example, recently I have had some friends who are moving house. I had just finished a Night shift the day before, and I was working a Late shift that evening. My friends requested my help to move some of the bigger furniture as I have a large tray Ute, and they don’t have access to a trailer. I very easily could have blown it off and said that I was busy or otherwise occupied. I even could have said that I was studying. But instead knowing that my friends needed the help, and without it may not be able to move the furniture at all, I willingly put aside what I was doing to help a friend. We all sacrifice the wants for needs.

I am not unique. I am no way attempting to be a bleeding heart to garner sympathy. I do not have it the hardest. I am not saying everyone doesn’t sacrifice. If anything I am opening the dialogue for everyone to share their sacrifice and struggles that come along with it. We as a community can better support each other if we are open and honest. Your own life can be improved by being open and honest. Take care out there everyone. Remember to engage in a little self care.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Wednesday Weigh Day 6

Welcome to the Sixth of a continuing series of posts called Wednesday Weigh Day. These posts will be a tracker for my progress through weight loss, hopefully, and a way to share my journey, and some of my recipes. With a current Daily Kilojoule goal of 5000Kj, to better tie in with my wife, who is also on the weight loss journey. I have been on the 5000Kj goal for a little over a week now and have settled into the reduced intake reasonably well.

Weight at Start: 131.7kg

Goal Weight: 95kg

Weight Today: 119.1kg

Weight Loss this Week: 1.6kg

Total Weight Loss: 12.6kg

Amount till Goal Weight: 24.1kg

My front and side will obviously have changed very little in a week, though there are changes. If you want to see the biggest change I encourage you to look at Week 1, then look back at these pictures. Having said that, I have noticed that on most pair of pants I have reclaimed yet another belt loop.

Wednesday Weigh Day 6 Front

Wednesday Weigh Day 6 Front

Wednesday Weigh Day 6 Side

Wednesday Weigh Day 6 Side

This week the standout meal, based on comments on Facebook, and personal feedback, was the Mexican Chilli Bowls.

Mexican Chilli Bowl

Mexican Chilli Bowls

Serves 4

Kilojoules per Serve 1264

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 30 Minutes

Ingredients:

500g Beef Mince

1 Brown Onion

1 Red Onion

100g Corn Kernals

2 Large Tomatos

500g Lettuce or Leafy Greens

2 Tbs Ground Cumin

1 Tbs Smoked Paprika

1 Tsp Chilli Powder, or more to taste

2 Tsp Onion Powder

2 Tsp Garlic Powder

1 Bunch Corriander

½ Cup of Water

OPTIONAL/SUBSTITUTES

1 Cup Cannellini Beans for 256Kj per Serve

Dollop of Light Sour Cream for 235Kj per Serve

Method

  1. Warm a large frying pan on a medium high heat.
  2. Add Brown Onion and fry until transparent.
  3. Add Beef and stir until brown.
  4. In the mean time add leafy greens to a bowl and mix together the Corn, Red Onion, Coriander, and Tomato. Place on top of leafy greens.
  5. Once the Beef is browned add the remaining Spices stirring for about a minute, add the Water to dissolve the spices.
  6. Once water has evaporated and you are left with just a small amount surrounding the beef serve on the Leafy Greens.
  7. Enjoy

If you see a post on Facebook that involves a meal that hasn’t been covered here at Maintain the Rage, please message me, or comment below and I may be able to write a special post with the recipe.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Self Care

Self care comes in many forms; for some its a walk or run to clear the mind, others it’s writing or creating something, whatever the self care is it’s important to engage with in it  as often as required. We often don’t take the time for self care, thinking it is a selfish endeavour, or that we are coping fine with our daily struggles. The reality is that more and more people are suffering from depression, anxiety, and are committing suicide because they cannot see the way out of their situation. Last year I was in that very situation. I was not self caring as I should have been, and it nearly cost me my life.

Rosslyn Bay Marina

Rosslyn Bay Marina

Earlier this week I posted about being at Rosslyn Bay Marina and enjoying the sea breeze and quiet crashing of the waves. I have always enjoyed the ocean; the rolling of the swell, the gentle noise of the water against the hull of the boat or rocks of the shore. I find it so calming, it has always been a great way for me to clear my mind. That’s probably a fairly large part of the reason I joined the Navy, truth be told. I don’t however enjoy the beach, the sand gets everywhere and tends to be covered in people, but that’s besides the point. So when I had the opportunity to go, sit, clear the mind, and enjoy the waves on the rocks at the Marina I took it. I was only there for 20-30 minutes in total, but my mind felt refreshed and recharged.

Psalm 94:19

Psalm 94:19

My faith has always been a great comforter no matter what my situation. I have been able to turn to God and at the very least lessen my anxiety. Some people have this luxury, others do not. Some people meditate, use crystals and oils, or in other ways care for their spiritual side. The care of soul, for lack of any other term, is quite often overlooked. In a modern and often skeptical society any real focus on anything that isn’t completely tangible, visible, and “real” is often immediately discarded as useless. I would encourage everyone to find what cares for their “soul” and engage in the activity at least once a day. Its doesn’t have to be for hours, but enough to top up.

Take care of yourself

Take care of yourself

Your physical well being is also massively important when dealing with self care. Some people go for a walk, others a run, some people go to the gym, others get a hair cut, or get a massage. Our lives are getting busier and busier, and as such we often don’t take the time to care for ourselves. I know I for one did not care for myself over the past 12 months or so and as such gained an enormous amount of weight. As such I am now self caring and losing the weight. I am a shaved head, bearded gentlemen, I enjoy nothing more that sitting in a barbers chair having my head shaved with a razor and generally getting pampered for 45 minutes. I find it incredible relaxing, and I feel that I look better afterwards too, which helps with reassuring my self image. Whatever it is, getting your nails done, a deep tissue massage, or acupuncture, try and engage with it as often as time allows.

There are numerous ways to self care, but as long as you take care of your Mind, your Soul, and your Body, you can’t go wrong.

Do you have a favourite self care activity or technique? Feel the there is something that needs to be shared? Add it to the comments below, it could be what someone is after.

Maintain The Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Wednesday Weigh Day 5

Welcome to the Fifth of a continuing series of posts called Wednesday Weigh Day. These posts will be a tracker for my progress through weight loss, hopefully, and a way to share my journey, and some of my recipes. With a current Daily Kilojoule goal of 5000Kj, to better tie in with my wife, who is also on the weight loss journey. I have been on the 5000Kj goal for 3 days of this week, the first half of the week I was still at 6000Kj per day.

Weight at Start: 131.7kg

Goal Weight: 95kg

Weight Today: 120.7kg

Weight Loss this Week: 1.3kg

Total Weight Loss: 11.0kg

Amount till Goal Weight: 25.7kg

My front and side will obviously have changed very little in a week, though there are changes. If you want to see the biggest change I encourage you to look at Week 1, then look back at these pictures.

Wednesday Weigh Day 5 Front

Wednesday Weigh Day 5 Front

Wednesday Weigh Day 5 Side

Wednesday Weigh Day 5 Side

This week there standout meal, based on comments on Facebook, and personal feedback, was the Chicken Fried “Rice”.

Chicken Fried "Rice" 

Chicken Fried “Rice”

Chicken Fried “Rice”

Serves 4

Kilojoules per Serve 1479

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 20 Minutes

Ingredients:

500g Chicken Thighs, Dices

1kg Cauliflower Rice, made or store bought

250g Frozen Peas

250g Ham, diced

2 Tbs Soy Sauce

1 Tbs Mirin

1 Tbs Sriracha Hot Sauce

½ Tbs Garlic Powder

½ Tbs Onion Powder

½ Tbs Ginger Powder

1 Tbs Sesame Oil

OPTIONAL/SUBSTITUTES

250g Corn, for 244Kj per serve

250g Prawns, 232Kj per serve

250g Snow Peas, for 99Kj per serve

250g Capsicum, for 75Kj per Serve

10 Spring Onion, for 49Kj per serve

Method

  1. Add oil to pan, turn the pan to the hottest setting your stovetop allows.
  2. Cover the Chicken in the Garlic, Ginger, and Onion powders.
  3. Once Heated, add the covered Chicken to the pan, cook till golden.
  4. Add the Ham and fry for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add all vegetables and fry for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Add the Cauliflower Rice and Sauces, fry for 5 minutes, until there is moisture in the bottom of the pan.
  7. Serve with Shallots, if using, or Fried Onion.
  8. Enjoy

If you see a post on Facebook that involves a meal that hasn’t been covered here at Maintain the Rage, please message me, or comment below and I may be able to write a special post with the recipe.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Schools Back

By the time you read this, the University semester has begun again. I will no longer have free time to indulge, sleep will cease to exist, and I will be semi-permenantly hunched over my computer. But on the bright side, it’s my final year, I am studying something that I love, and every moment I spend in a book is another skill or piece of information that I can use to Nurse better.

I want sleep

I want sleep

I am profoundly happy about the fact that this is my final year of study before becoming a Registered Nurse. A dream that I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to achieve. I am also happy that I could get the elective that I wanted, The Nurse as Educator. I firmly believe that every nurse, regardless of type or seniority, has the potential to learn, and not necessarily from someone higher than them. I also believe in continuing the education of the next generation of Nurses, or whatever you profession happens to be. To this end, I hope one day I can teach portions of the Diploma of Nursing course so that I can give back to a profession that has already given me so much.

The down side to all of this is, as with most things, time. In an average fortnight there are 224 waking hours, which assumes 8 house of sleep. I work eight out of fourteen days, totalling 68 hours, bringing us down to 156 hours. Study is expected to consume on average 80 hours per fortnight, bringing us to 76 hours. Deduct travel, showering, ironing, eating and prepping food, the time wasted lying in bed not sleeping, totalling 35 hours, we are down to 41 hours. Spread that over the course of the fortnight and that leaves you with a little under three hours a day to spend with the children, do chores, run children to extracurricular events, wind down, spend time with family, and other ancillary tasks. And that assumes all goes to plan.

coffee

Coffee

When I first embarked on this journey, at a time when I was bailed up having most of my abdomen sliced open, I knew that my study would put a strain on the family. I knew that I would be sacrificing time with the children, time with my wife, and time to myself, all in the interest of completing the required study to do a job that I am so passionate about. They say Nursing is a sacrifice. And it is, from the moment we begin studying, to working nights, weekends and other public holidays, coming home emotionally drained because of the different masks we wear for our patients, we come home physically exhausted from all of the walking, lifting, carrying, and other manual labour tasks. Nursing is not just a job. It’s a calling, something that gets placed upon your heart whereby you feel the overwhelming desire to serve people at their worst and most vulnerable. A profession I gladly serve.

Study Nursing

Study Nursing

For those who read this an are put off by the notion of study, don’t be. The journey may be rough and arduous, but is infinitely rewarding. If anyone is unsure of whether or not to embark on this journey I strongly encourage you to reach out to me, or someone else who has walked the journey ahead of you. Email, message, comment, Facebook stalk, I don’t mind, just reach out.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld