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

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

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.

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.

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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.

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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.

IMG_2140

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.

IMG_8954

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.

QQbMu3K

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.

to-have-eyes-bigger-than-your-stomach

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.

Muscular man picking dumbbell

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

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.

shift-work

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

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

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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

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

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

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

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

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

Weight Loss

For those of you who haven’t seen my post on Facebook this week, I am Fat. I would love to sugar coat it, but I am afraid I would eat that too. I am sick of being fat. I am sick of being short of breath when I bend over. I am sick of sweating profusely at the slightest effort. But most of all, my chances of being taken away from my children prematurely is becoming too high.

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My weight has always been an issue for as long as I can remember. I have never been what could be called a small lad. Whether due to inactivity, genes, diet or otherwise I always carried a little extra. In the past 10 years I have had varying degrees of success and failure with my weight. January 2008 I was 149kg. It was the heaviest I had ever been. I was disgusted in myself but had no real incentive to change. That is until I decided to join the Navy. I knew that I would have to lose 50kg in 12 months for them to accept my application. I began to restrict my intake, but not in any meaningful way, just halving everything I used to eat. I also added at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. It wasn’t anything fancy, just step up on a homemade step and weights using the heaviest thing I could find around the home. It worked, some how, I lost enough to join, I was still around 100kg, but it was the lowest I had been in a while. During my first six months of being in the Navy I lost more weight and hovered 2-3 kilos either side of 95kg. I found pretty quickly that if I continued to eat reasonably sensibly I could maintain 95kg reasonably easily.

The photos above are all of me at or around 95 kg. Unfortunately due to surgical procedures, recoveries, and depression my weight didn’t always stay at 95kg. I can think of 5 different occasions since 2009 that my weight has gone from 95kg to 120kg+ and back again. Sometimes it took a change in diet to bring back the weight, other times I lost the weight because of the intensity of work, but I have found recently that it is harder to accomplish. Randomly and without direction, changing my diet was not the answer, finding time to exercise, and the persuasion, was difficult. So this time I employed the help of a dietician. I have seen their methods through work, and I knew that my diet was going to be the hardest thing to sort out. So after a snappy referral from my GP I was underway.

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The only thing I was apprehensive about talking to the dietician about was the concept of Lite, Diet, or other similar labels. Whenever I see these labels I just think “Chemical S**tstorm”. I was concerned that they would just force the idea of diet and lite products. I was relieved when the dietician did not go down this path. We had a discussion about my current eating habits, like and dislikes, allergies, and goals. The dietician formulated a plan that began with a daily limit of 7000Kj, which is too restrictive when you think the recommended Australian intake is 8700Kj. We then divided the daily amount into three meals of 1900Kj and two snacks of 600Kj, for those astute mathematicians out there yes that does only equate to 6900Kj. We then discussed foods for different times of day, thankfully the dietician didn’t eliminate any foods, just suggested either alternatives or self control. So with a plan under my belt and a new app to help guide me, Easy Diet Diary, I went home and started to come up with menu items for various parts of the day that were easy, healthy, and suited the Kilojoule restriction. I am still working out the best way to stay full after a meal. Some meals easily last the 4-5 hours between meals, others don’t seem to make it half way to where you could sensibly have a snack. The other hurdle to overcome is work. Though I get meal breaks they aren’t necessarily at the same time, and with shifts like Night Duty where there is an almost 12 hour gap between meals there needs to be a substantial meal leading into, and a decent snack in the middle. It will take time to perfect but I am confident I can get it to work for me.

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From my meeting with the dietician I did get a body scan. This calculates your weight, your muscle mass, bone weight, and fat weight. It is to be taken with a grain of salt though as it is a fancy scale with some BioElectrical Impedance sensors on them. But it gives you a guide to work from, and shows the changes as you continue on the journey. Below is the print out from my scan. The long and short of below is I weighed 131.7kg, 47kg is Skeletal Muscles, and 49.4kg is just hard up Fat. Of that fat I am carrying a lot of Visceral Fat, more than twice what is recommended. Visceral Fat is the deep abdominal fat that covers your organs. It is tricky to reduce and can be dangerous if there is too much of it. I need to reduce my overall fat amount, and I DEFINITELY need to reduce my visceral fat amount.

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And that brings us to where we are now, and the way forward. The plan is to continue on the 7000Kj restriction until my dietician tells me otherwise, weekly home weighs on Wednesday with an updated mug shot, and a new post every Wednesday with the Weight, Photos, updated scans, and Meals that worked and Meals that didn’t work through the week so that others who want to start their own Journey can. You can continue to follow the journey here at Maintain The Rage via the Weight Loss Category page, or following the Weight Loss Album on Facebook.

To get the ball rolling the picture above is my starting point. It doesn’t seem that bad from the photos but there is a lot of fat on there that could be gone. By publicly showing these images I hope to stay accountable and stay on track. I thank all of you in advance for your support in this venture. If anyone has a favourite or go to low Kilojoule meal, that doesn’t have seafood or walnuts in them, feel free to share them on any of the Weight Loss posts, or send them to me directly using the Connect page.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Medical Nursing

I have been Nursing for about a year now, which isn’t a lot in the grand scheme of things but never the less, and I have had the pleasure of experiencing Mental Health Nursing in two different facilities, Medical Nursing in two seperate facilities, Aged Care Nursing, Community Nursing, and Surgical Nursing. Though this only scratches the surface of what nursing is available with; Oncology, Cardiac, Emergency, Intensive Care, Renal, Respiratory, Rural and Remote, and Midwifery just to name a few. I have recently been reviewing my career and what each section has taught me, showed me, and revealed to me about my nursing.

When I first started my career I was almost exclusively employed in the surgical ward of my Hospital. I thoroughly enjoyed the work. It was fast paced, I had a tonne to learn, the staff were great, and I was able to meet new patients almost every shift. This was amazing, for the most part, but I felt that something was missing. Occasionally I would float to Medical and Mental Health, and though this was great exposure I didn’t really get a chance to experience the whole ward and what it meant to Nurse in these sections. My time in surgical felt very much like a revolving door, every day saw the discharge of one patient just to be replaced by another, that patient would stay overnight then would be gone again. It was something that I never got used to, it was something that I never felt comfortable with, it wasn’t the way I liked to Nurse.

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My exposure to Mental Health Nursing is varied. On one hand I was floated to Mental Health at random times which was great for a small taste of Mental Health but I never really had the opportunity to perform all of the duties a permanent Mental Health Nurse would, and for very good reason. My placement for Mental Health showed me a whole new side of Mental Health Nursing involved with involuntary mental health orders, and forensic mental health orders. This changed the behaviour of the client drastically compared to that of a voluntary client. Following everything that happened mid last year I no longer float to the mental health ward, to which I am thankful.

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When I returned from leave I found myself permanently assigned to the medical ward, at first I was a little miffed, I had always considered myself a surgical nurse, but never the less I gave the new role my all. What I did not expect was the learning, the experience, the joy, and the mental exercise that I would get on a day to day basis. I began to see what one of my nurse-mates said which is surgical is like the sports jocks, and medical is more like science geeks. Surgical pushes you as a nurse to be constantly one step ahead, be organised, and know what the next step is. But when it comes to medical its noticing the little things, the comments made by the patients, the changes in behaviour, the myriad of medications, and the effect of medications, bowel status, and fluid intake has on the human body and behaviour.

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This last week I found myself back in surgical again, and I began to realise something…. I am not a surgical nurse. I am a medical nurse. I love taking care of people, I love watching as someone improves, I love encouraging patients to do their best and stretch themselves. I never thought that I would find myself saying those words, I thought I would be the speed freak chasing the quickest nursing with the quickest turn around and the least amount of physical time with individual patients. I was so sorely wrong. So what does this mean for me in the future? Currently I will continue to enjoy my time on the Medical ward of my workplace. In the future, I still don’t know. It could be a full career on Medical Wards, Intensive care, maybe even palliative. Only time will tell.

Maintain The Rage

Luke Sondergeld

 

Schools Out

This week saw the last exam for the semester, and the last contact day for University in 2018. Though I have enjoyed the learning and content covered this year, I am also looking forward to having some down time and enjoying time with the family, friends, hobbies, and other neglected facets of my life. The journey through 2018 has been an interesting one, with a new child, new mental health issues, and the challenges of continuing to juggle everything else.

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In March of this year, consequently the start of term, my wife gave birth to our third child, and second daughter. The normal strains that come with adding a new screaming bundle of joy into the house were of course prevalent and made work, study, and parenting interesting. I am supremely glad that my wife is the trooper and super Mum that she is. Without her ability to manage the house and children, normally at great personal sacrifice, I would not have been able to get thought the first semester of University, working 10 shifts a fortnight, and contributing were I could. Our daughter is  just over 6 months old and is an adorable happy ball of cuteness. Unfortunately, I cannot post any pictures of her as my wife and I agreed on no pictures of the children online. But take my word for it, she’s adorable.

As I have written about in many posts, my mental health took a sharp decline not long after my second daughter was born. I had thoughts of suicide, I was depressed, I was anxious, and I could barely function on any reasonable level. I sought professional help, I became medicated, and I began seeing a psychologist to talk through my emotions and diagnosis. Everything continued for a while, but alas did not improve. The decision was made between the psychiatrist and myself that ECT was the best way forward. So we began a course of 12 sessions, three times a week, until completed. I saw the course through and things had improved. Now, some weeks on, I have had struggles, but we get through it. Now, I am still medicated, still see the psychiatrist on a weekly to fortnightly basis, and see the psychologist when our schedules align.

Whilst the treatment happened, whilst my second daughter continued to grow and be awesome, I was studying. I managed to get through my first semester with reasonably good marks, one subject was a High Distinction, and I felt pretty chuffed. Unfortunately, one of the side effects of ECT is memory loss, and I have a rather large blank spot in my memory. It extends roughly from June through to the end of August. It is interesting to say the least, people will tell me stories of things that happened, that I was involved in, like rebuilding my mate’s back stairs, or cutting down and moving a ton of firewood. This had lead to the second semester being less fruitful when it has come to my grades, leading me to the expression Ps get Degrees. Its not pretty, its not how I like it, but its what I have to do to survive considering the circumstances.

27862164-school-s-out-for-summer-on-blackboardI will just be glad that over the University break, which runs from now till March 2019, I will be able to spend more time relaxing and doing the things I love doing. I am also glad that I will be able to have a recharge and hit the ground of 2019 running. I still have one more placement to go in just over a weeks time, stay tuned for the reflection, but otherwise, its work, family, and rest.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Five Acute Care Reflections

Over the past Five Weeks I have completed my Acute Care Placement for my Diploma of Nursing, to catch up on the day by day click here. Over that time I learnt may very valuable lessons, what many different drains can be used for, the effect of different wound care products, the differing cocktails of anaesthetics, and how diverse the multidisciplinary team really is. But given that most of that can be learnt from a book or educator I will leave those particular lessons to them. Instead, I will focus on the lessons that are picked up along the way, shared by other nurses and learnt from the patients themselves.

Time Management

We all get taught at some point during Nursing School the importance of Time Management. I have always been a fairly organised person by nature, so thought I would be ok by the time I hit the floor. Oh how I underestimated how much needs to be done, and how many interruptions to your time there will be. I would suggest that, especially as a junior nurse, come up with a time table to break up your time that suits you. I found that by the end of my placement one hour blocks were too broad, I needed 30 minute blocks to sort my time. So I would draw up the patients I was assigned with hourly columns and a diagonal line. The Left triangle would be the first 30 mins of the hour, and the right the last 30 mins of the hour. You will also need some sort of key that works for you. I used for medications, IV for anything intravenous, Dx for dressing changes or checks, Obs for any observations, BGL for any blood sugar checks, and would create others as I required them. This creates a quick reference of your night, makes handover a cinch, and means that if you get pulled away by the NUM, you can ask someone to cover the things you now about.

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Self Care

I know I have written about Self Care in my Aged Care Reflection and I feel it even more important to talk about it again after my Acute Care placement and the impacts of family, life, and the dreaded Late to Early swing. The temptation, and Lord knows I pulled this stunt too often, to simply try and live a normal life when you are on PM shift, getting off at 2300, getting home, writing for an hour, bathing and getting to bed at 0130, then getting back up at 0600 to be with the family, then proceed to stay up all day living life before heading to work by 1530. It sounds ok, till four days of only five hours sleep begins to take its toll. Sleep is key. Please ensure that you get the requisite amount of sleep. You may get away with little sleep in the short term, but Nursing is a life long career not a flash in the pan job.

Eat well, eat regularly and keep up the water. I know in the first week of placement, I wasn’t the best at keeping my fluid, and was terrible at skipping meals before or after shift. So I had to actively change the habit. I ensured that I had access to a bottle of water somewhere on the floor, as you will rarely have the opportunity to leave and get a drink, and made myself eat before and after shift. this will ensure your body will be able to deal with the coming shift, and recover from it after the fact.

Take time to yourself. I wrote two weeks ago on my Post Fall on Sword about how I was terrible at taking a moment to have time off for myself, my family or my friends. TAKE TIME AWAY FROM WORK AND SPEND TIME WITH YOUR FAMILY. I was going to be more subtle but decided that it wasn’t necessary, and would get the point across as well. The people around you will be the only ones to help you after a rubbish shift, they will be the ones that are there when you loose a child on the ward, they are the ones who will be your sounding board when the NUM rosters you for 16 days in a row then calls you on your first Sunday off in a month. Spend quality time with them, switch off from distractions and try to leave work at the door.

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Take your Time

As previously mentioned, there are a myriad of things that can drain your time during the shift. However, an extra five minutes during an admission, asking a couple of probing questions when taking observations, or simply making small talk when checking up on your patient could give you key information that would otherwise be missed. During my placement, and subsequent time in Surgical, there was a patient who was in having a hip replacement. During the admission it was discovered that they had recently completed a long haul flight six day prior. Now those two things on their own are concerning enough, however, 24 hours after the procedure the patient had a seizure, their O2 saturation were below 80% on 15L of O2, and things were looking grim. It would  later be discovered that during their time overseas they had consumed some bad seafood, had a diarrhetic episode and subsequently took six Imodium to stop it. This subsequently kept the bug inside the body and it festered away, which eventually caused the Septic Shock that the patient had suffered. Now, the nurse who admitted the patient did ask probing questions about the trip, the travel  and all other matters of questions. What was missed was when the patient stated they felt unwell on their day of travel home, the only question asked was How do you feel now? Which is only an issue in hindsight, however, for me it will stick forever the importance of asking probing questions of anything that is out of the ordinary.

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Be Personable

I spent the first 5 years of my working life, like most young Australians, in Hospitality. For most of that I was heavily involved in Wedding planning, coordinating and serving. This generally meant that for six months of the year I would plan, run and serve for over 400 weddings. As you can imagine it gets a little mundane, as each wedding, no matter how unique, is formulaic; people arrive, couple gets married, a whole bunch of photos are taken, everyone eats, there are some speeches, some people cry, some people get drunk, the couple leave, everyone stays way longer, then just before the wedding day becomes a wedding weekend everyone leaves. So after doing this 400 times you could say you would get over it. However, my boss at the time had been doing it for over 15 years. So just a few weddings. He told me that despite the fact that it may be my 400th wedding, for the couple it was their first, and hopefully only, and that stuck with me. Now, as a young practitioner, I take that lesson with me. For me it may be my 5th day on the ward, my 100th day, or heaven forbid my 1,000,000th day on the ward but for the patient it may be their first, and even if it is not the first time on the ward it may be the first time for this condition, treatment or procedure. Be a real person, talk to them about their lives, laugh where appropriate and don’t treat them like a number or another body in a bed. It is a simple lesson to listen to, but proves to be difficult to put into place when under the pump.

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No Dumb Questions

No matter how many times I hear it, no matter how many times I have tried to impart this little gem it still seems to be something that is missed. I know during my placements, my lab days at Nursing School, my study sessions with my friends, or simply asking old Dr Google, I asked a ton of questions. Some of them seemed a bit simple or dumb at the time but I soon realised that either I wasn’t the only one thinking it or it wasn’t such a stupid question at the end of it all. I recall after ECT, during my Mental Health shifts, I noticed that the consumers right eye was almost alway more blood shot then the left. I knew it was the side that the treatment runs through and assumed it was a side effect of the treatment, but asked the question anyway. It was a seemingly dumb question but raised an interesting problem, no-one know why, and more interestingly, most people hadn’t even noticed it previously. So this seemingly dumb question now moves into the realm are curiosity for many. I am still yet to actually find a reasonable answer other than because of the electricity, but I live in hope. The lesson is, NO DUMB QUESTIONS, with the sole exception of Who’s ID is this…

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Well there you have it, my Five lessons that I couldn’t learn in a classroom or book for my Acute Care placement. This brings me to the end of my journey as a Diploma Student, in a number of short weeks my registration will come in and I will be an Enrolled Nurse. Come March I will begin a new journey as a Bachelor Student as I study to become a Registered Nurse. I thank you all for coming on this journey with me far and I hope to see you all as the journey continues.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Day 1

Day 1 saw us all complete the Mandatory Training for the facility with a number of other staff. The day ran for approximately 9 ½ hours and covered everything from Emergency situations, CPR, Manual Handling, Infection Control, Aggressive Behaviour Management, Electrical Safety, WH&S and an overview of Company, which included a brief talk from the Facility CEO.

Though the day may not have been clinically interesting, as most of the material was fairly standard, although good for a refresher, it was interesting to hear about the company, its values and its culture. The company has a great culture of supported, safe, client centred care. They believe in their employees and treasure their skills, experiences and opinions. The policies and procedures of the facility are often sent out to the staff to ask for feedback, input and commentary. It serves any workplace well to have input from the people who are actually using the polices to test them first.

From day one the facility has set an excellent tone for professionalism, courtesy, input, support, and mentorship. All of these values and ideals are ones that I not only appreciate, but attempt to emulate as a leader, mentor and employee.

My previous apprehensive feelings have been mostly alleviated by the attitudes of the staff and their attitudes towards education and students. I look forward to my coming eight shifts in the Medical ward, and the lessons that will be learnt.

Until tomorrow, Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Placed Upon

Through out our lives we get called a lot of different things, whether by virtue of our job, by our loved-ones, our friends and those around us. These names, these titles, carry with them a certain level of expectation from the person giving them to us; it places us in a position that we may not fully understand ourselves.

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For myself, I’ve been called, and still am called many different things;

Each of these comes with their own level of expectation and assumed level of knowledge and understanding. It is a huge responsibility to accept some names, and for some people it can be what breaks them.

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When I was in the Navy, simply being referred to as Sir meant that I not only had an understanding of the situation being discussed but would have the answer to any questions and strategic oversight to know what to do next. In the same breath, when I was referred to as Mr. Sondergeld by a superior, that expectation shifted to a subservient role, I was expected be able to follow, blindly if needed, any direction that I was given to follow. Between my counterparts, my ship mates and those I served a while with, I was Sonny. The young officer who bent the rules when dealing with enlisted rates, took a relaxed outlook on most situations, believed that the best answers often came from those below, not above him, and someone who could get the job done, or at least know the guy who could. I was still just one man, one young officer, but all of these differing expectations and levels of understanding were valid.

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In our daily walk we often have differing levels of expectation put upon us, as a Father that is extremely obvious when a young boy starts the conversation with “Dad I want to ask you something” or when your little girl is standing at your feet, tears in her eyes, quietly sobbing and mumbling ‘Daddy’ with her arms extended. These are the everyday expectations that can break people, and we as a community need to support them and let them know its ok to not have all the answers, and know they are not alone.

There is also a change in our behaviour when these names are used, when we are called out by a particular appellation we respond in a particular way, like a child being referred to by First, Middle and Last name by a parent.

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My Son and I both participate in Scouts, myself as the Leader of the Scout section and my Son, who until recently was a Scout, is in the Venturer Section. I had a rule that the second we put the uniform on, I was no longer Dad, I am Bass. This did two things, it meant that he knew that he was on the same standing as any other Scout, and secondly every other Scout knew he was going to be treated the same. It was also a bonus for myself as I didn’t have to worry about trying to seperate my brain between Dad and Bass. The changes in behaviour between a Scout Leader and a Father are surprisingly subtle, both require finesse, discipline, honesty, integrity, leadership, quick wit, behavioural management and patience. The main difference is I personally have one Son and 20 Scouts. So the scale, and subsequent odds, are a little off.

Wife and I

In the relationship between my Wife and I, we refer to each other as Wife and Husband. To some this may seem odd, demeaning or detached. But we see it for what it is, a voluntary commitment to each other to the exclusion of all others till death do us part. I have referred to my wife as Wife in conversation with people who have not known the reasons behind our family tradition, and have been met with hostility, shock, and at times amusement. To me there is no greater pet name, than Wife, and nothing makes my heart sing more than hearing my beloved call me Husband. For us this works, for others, maybe not. But even this endeared name that we have embraced carries with it a level of expectation, that we will be supportive of one another, be a united front, openly communicate, place the other before ourselves, make time for each other, share, love and laugh together, but most of all Love each other. And that’s an expectation I don’t mind living up to.

Do you have a name that has been placed upon you? Something where the expectation is sometimes too high? Do you know someone who has a name bestowed upon them that they can’t live up to? Is there a name you don’t think fits? Write it down in the comments section below and share your story.

Maintain The Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Legacy

Last week I discussed Mentorship in my article Walking With where the idea of providing what someone requires to achieve the goal they have set is a kind of Patronage. This week I want to discuss Legacy. If we consider Mentorship as answering the question of How, Legacy is answering the question Why?

Legacy is what and who we leave behind to carry on when we are gone, in both the physical and mortal sense. As a Scout Leader I am imparting my collected knowledge and wisdom onto the Scouts in the hope that they take it with them into their lives and make their worlds a little bit better. As a member of CQUniversity’s SRC I try and leave the University a little better than I found it through culture change, policy changes and initiatives that better the Student Experience for all. As a Father I endeavour to teach, show and guide my children through life in the hope they won’t make the same mistakes I did, that they go further, do more and achieve their goals, just as my parents did for me.

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The creation of Legacy is less about planning and more about being responsive to the environment you are in. As a parent, the needs of my children change constantly. I can’t plan what they need to make their lives better. I can plan strategically by ensuring that I remain employed, feed them, ensure they receive a good education, and stay safe. But I cannot plan their career, their partners, their lives and where they are going to live. As a SRC member I must be reactive to the needs of the students, I can also be proactive and identify issues before they become problems for the students and the University. The Peer Assisted Study Scheme that I helped develop and implement was birthed from an inherent need the students didn’t know they had. I saw a void in the support structure of the TAFE students and endevoured to fill that void. This, I hope, will leave a lasting legacy on the University and the student body. When a student graduates feeling supported and feels empowered to go further with their study, I can stand tall knowing the legacy I left contributed.

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This whole blog, not just this post, is about Legacy. I share my stories, my life, my journey and my reflections in the hope that others will read them and make positive changes. I know people who have contacted me directly and shared how different posts have pulled them out of a tight spot, or steered their lives into a new direction for the better. That’s why I write, to inspire, to reflect and make real impact on people’s lives.

I encourage everyone to think about their Legacy and what they are leaving behind. If we don’t think of Legacy we are destined to leave either nothing, or worse a negative Legacy that is actually a detriment to the next generation. As a challenge, take a moment this week to reflect on what you are leaving behind and make a concerted effort to change it. Start living life selflessly for the next generation, start the small turns of the ship now before we run aground, make the world of tomorrow better today.

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What did you reflect on? What are you going to change about your legacy? Make a declaration today in the comments section below, who knows maybe your change will help someone else change their Legacy.

Maintain The Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Walking With

I have been reflecting this week on my personal journey, my failures and triumphs, the good leaders and the bad, the men and women who invested their time in me, and those who left a lasting impression. I reflected on leadership and the importance of Mentoring those who we lead and not just giving blind directions. I reflected on the importance of walking a journey with someone beside them, not in front leading blindly, or from behind barking arbitrarily.

This lead me to write about, what I believe, is the most important facet of Leadership, and that is Mentoring. The understanding between two individuals at different points on their journey to walk together and learn from each others experiences. This may sound like a different model of mentoring than what is commonly taught, namely where an experienced person takes an inexperienced person and attempts to impart knowledge and experience on them. I kindly draw your attention back to the person leading from the front. Or where a person will share their experiences with staff or individuals via a mass email while never actually allowing time for the people to engage with them personally, I draw you attention to the person barking from the rear.

I therefore want to share the three points I feel are integral in Mentoring, along with some experiences I have had with good and bad mentors, and pitfalls and windfalls of mentoring that I have discovered along the way. The three points I will cover are; Neither Equality nor Equity, Be the Example, and Never Stop Learning.

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Neither Equality nor Equity

Simply put Equality is everyone receiving the same thing, and Equity is everyone receiving what they need to meet a socially perceived goal. I never liked either of these labels as they are both narrow in their view. In leadership Equality presumes that everyone should benefit from 10 minutes of mentoring from their Mentor, regardless of actual need. And Equity presumes that everyone should receive what they need to be at a certain knowledge base, productivity level, or personal understanding of  leadership. Both of these ideas are flawed.

Not every person can be mentored in the same manner, with the same material, with the same time allocation, Equality. Just as a fish cannot be competently judged on its level of success by its ability to climb a tree, Equity.

I therefore believe that everyone, we as leaders take on, should receive what it necessary for them to succeed in the goal they have set. This may seem like a watered down version  of Equity, but hear me out. Understanding that an individuals have differing ideas on what success is, what achieving that success is, and what the mentoring relationship is, has already fundamentally changed the idea of Equity. Remembering that Equity has a pre-established level or goal. Therefore the amount of mentoring, support, instruction guidance, leadership and opportunity for that individual is dependant on both the goal and the ability of the Mentor. Neither of which are fully supported in the idea of Equity.

I have recently being tutoring a collection of Nursing Students in Mathematics, the collection of individuals is vast and experiences doubly so. They all have their own strengths and weaknesses, goals and aspirations, and expectations for the tutorial. Understanding this as a leader and mentor, endeavoured to ensure that the goals of each individual were met, while giving each of the students the amount of instruction or guidance they required. For some this was just being a part of the group discussion, for others a more guided approach. In each instance a positive result was recorded. I encouraged each of them, and for those reading this I continue to encourage you, to share what they learn, be the next generation of mentors, take the time investing into someone else and showing them that they matter. I feel the best word to describe this is Patronage. Patronage is a older term that was used when someone, a Patron, would support someone else in their endeavours. This could have been financially, morally, with experience or in whatever fashion the person needed to achieve their goals.

Carey Lohrenz, The Corps Group, female fighter pilot

Be the Example

I had the pleasure of sitting in a service at Lighthouse Baptist Church in Rockhampton one Sunday morning listening to a sermon by the Senior Pastor Dr Robert Bakss and he made the point “Sometimes we are the only Bible a person may see, live like it”. This really struck a chord with me in my Christian walk, but it resonates with other aspects of my life also, especially Leadership.

As leaders we have the need to set and implement culture, strategy, rules, and regulations, we are expected to uphold them all but most of all portray them. We cannot expect anyone else to follow our lead if we do anything less.  As a young Naval Officer we where expected to be able to lead a group of 25 – 35 people of varying experiences, age groups, and backgrounds. It was expected that our influence and our example was strong enough that those we lead would follow that example. We we charged with their safety, they personal development, their mental wellbeing, and their career development. We were praised when our Sailors did well, and were reprimanded when they did not.

Lord Baden Powell once said “Show me poorly dressed Troop and I’ll show you a poorly dressed Leader”. Most people will follow someones example before they arbitrarily follow a written rule, regulation or culture slogan. As a leader be the example of an employee, team member or peer that you would want to lead.

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Never Stop Learning

As leaders it is important to never stop learning, and there is ample opportunity to do so. I had the amazing privilege of serving under the then LCDR Brett Westcott, on Patrol boats early in my career. He was a even handed, professional leader who knew what someone was capable of before they did and could draw it out of them. He never expected perfection but did expect excellence. And his crew gave it to him. One of his parting words before I posted off was “The day you stop learning is the day you become dangerous”. And its true, the day you believe you know everything about your role, your job, your career or even your family is the day you begin to decline into mediocrity and potentially make dangerous mistakes.

I have taken those words and made it my goal to learn something every day, from someone, in every situation, good or bad. I believe that everyone has something to teach you.  A leader who is task orientated, narcissistic, or a slave driver who has no concern for people, families or anything out side their own world, anyone who claims mentor status but doesn’t allow the time for those they mentor, all have some of the best lessons to take away. Most of these lessons are going to be what not to do in your own leadership, or with your own team, but they are all valuable lessons none the less.

If you have been following my blog for a while now you will know that I am the Scout Leader for the Warripari Scout Group, I have about 20 Scouts every Wednesday and more when we involve the region on camps. These Scouts have taught me more about my leadership, patience, modesty, honesty, impact, and time management then I think I would have ever received from a book. Every week I have the pleasure of watching them grow and develop into the young leaders of tomorrow, learning lesson after lesson, and I am glad I get to be a part of that journey.

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Thats my take on Leadership, it is in no way intended to be all encompassing, nor is it designed to be definitive, just where I am in my journey thus far, and some thoughts for others to reflect on. Do you have something you would like to add? A lesson that you have learnt from your Journey? Share it with us in the comments below, and lets get the conversation going.

Maintain The Rage

Luke Sondergeld

 

Baby Lessons

There are numerous baby websites, books, journals, and magazines that will gladly tell you that there is a million things you should get for your new bundle of joy. Couple that with friends, family, mothers, in laws, outlaws and everyone in between, there is a lot of information to sift through.

With the announcement of My wife and I having our second child together, third in total, this week I felt it prudent to share some lessons learnt from the first one, Darby. I will cover the things that I Would do again and the things that I most certainly Wouldn’t.

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Would

  1. Invest in a decent bedroom fit out – Darby’s bedroom suite, graciously paid for by my Parents, was of a good enough quality, that we are actually able to pass it down to the next child.
  2. Buy Nappies, or diapers for our American brethren, in bulk – Quite frankly the 96 pack of Huggies that we were purchasing, sometimes felt inadequate
  3. Buy wipes in bulk – In the midst of a poo-nami you can never have too many wipes, they can be found in packs of nearly 400, and sometimes this doesn’t seem enough
  4. One Piece outfits – I WOULD BUY ALL OF THEM!
  5. Invest in a good quality Baby Car Seat – the one we bought Darby, well actually my parents bought this one also, is so good that we could use it for the new bub and buy a bigger one for Darby
  6. Teething toys/rings/jewellery – If the child can chew it they will, might as well make it safe for them
  7. Take regular photos – In the first 12 months of Darby’s existence I took something like 9000 photos, on my phone. I still feel like I don’t have enough
  8. Spend more time reading – I don’t feel like I have spent enough time reading with Darby, it is something I am currently rectifying but feel that I should have done more earlier
  9. Buy Nappy Poop Bags – These things are basically dog poop bags, for babies, and I tend to buy whichever is cheaper. When you child opens the back door to hell in their nappy, these things make it bearable enough to make it to the outside bin
  10. Feed my child Formula – We endeavoured so hard to make sure Darby was breast fed as long as possible, but you can’t squeeze blood out of rock, so my wife and I have decided this time we will go for as long as we can, and if thats 3 days before formula, then so be it
  11. Continue to Vaccinate my children – I will never not vaccinate my children, EVER!
  12. Let my wife spend more time at home – We were in a financial pickle with Darby, and as such my wife very graciously returned to work after 3 months. This time, however, we are going to try and have her home till the children are at least in school
  13. Let them eat dirt – Seriously there isn’t much in dirt that can hurt them long term, let them eat it
  14. Continue to encourage social activity – Spend time with other mums and dads, especially ones with children the same or similar ages, the children love the play and interaction
  15. Use a Bumbo earlier – These little foam chairs are amazing, supportive and encourage great posture. Sometimes I wish they made them for adults
  16. Heed this advice – There is plenty of advice out there, these are some simple things I have found with experience and common sense
  17. Johnsons Night time Baby Bath – Seriously, I don’t know if there is Nightquil in this or not, but it actually does what it says it does

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Wouldn’t

  1. Buy/use a baby monitor – Other than the fact that you can hear Darby from down the street, the monitor gave a false sense of security that was actually unnerving after a while
  2. Buy a huge complicated baby bag – They are heavy, expensive and complicated. Really a couple of nappies, a change of clothes and some food, you can fit that in any bag
  3. Buy a baby bath – Use the kitchen sink, child too big? Move into the laundry, use a Bumbo in the bath, they’re waterproof
  4. Buy any two piece outfits – Seriously the child is either going to be squirming, crawling or vomiting on the thing anyway, a one piece and a singlet is more than sufficient
  5. Try and dress for a fashion show – basically for the same reason as above, people may find it cute and adorable, but try changing a baby in a jump suit, that has no buttons, zip or other poop access
  6. Buy anything you can’t undo – if I have to remove something, or many things, to change the child, it’s too hard and needs to be thrown out
  7. Pack the kitchen sink – You can go to the shops for a five minute trip without anything, just the child and a rag
  8. Listen to all the advice – There is so much advice out there, if you try and do everything you will give yourself a hernia. However see point 16 of Would!
  9. Buy anything before the baby shower – Other than the fact you will no doubt inherit a lifetime supply of nappies and burping cloths, there could be something that you may not have thought of, or something that is expensive if not handed down
  10. Stress about people confusing your babies gender – My darling little girl has as much hair as George Costanza, and we refuse to dress her in pink. So naturally she gets called a boy fairly frequently, it used to bug me, but now I just laugh
  11. Try and see the child in the car – I set up an overly elaborate mirror setup in the car so I could see Darby when I drove, guaranteed she would roll over and knock it over, vomit on the mirror or otherwise ruin my plan
  12. Stress about whether or not she is going to wake up in the morning – SIDS is a real thing, and I know people who have been struck by it, so don’t mistake my words, but if you spend all night checking on your child every 15 minutes, you will be the one in hospital before long
  13. Fly with a baby – Unless I absolutely had to, I wouldn’t do it again

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So there is 30 Woulds and Would nots with the upcoming child. Do you have any hints, tips, tricks or Would and Would nots? Is there something you would move from one list to the other? Then add them to the comment section below. Or head over to our connect page and drop me a line.

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Maintain The Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Childhood Rage – Part One

Following my post last week about how my wife and I Maintain the Rage in our marriage, my 15 year old son asked me why I haven’t written about him, and the joys of being a Dad. So here it is, Childhood Rage how I endeavour to raise my two children to be somewhat respectful, independent, useful and productive members of society, and how I Maintain my Rage when my best intentions don’t quite work out.

This topic is too much for one post, so I am going to split this over two weeks, this week will be focussed on what I do as a parent to achieve all of the things I mentioned previously, and next week I will go over how I regroup and Maintain my Rage when things don’t go according to plan. With that said, along with my wife as we are a united front, we maintain boundaries and structure, push for improvement and love unconditionally.

Maintaining Boundaries

Any good parenting course, book, blog or otherwise will  always talk about the need to maintain boundaries, to have rules in place, to be a parent and not a friend, and to know when those boundaries have become blurred or ignored completely. I know that from an outside perspective I can be seen to be a hard task master. A dear friend of mine shares a similar regime and he calls his a ‘Dad-Tatership’. Ultimately, I want the best for my children, I expect the best out of my children, just as they should expect the best out of me. I have a clear set of rules for my eldest son, who is nearly 15, including a chores list, do’s and do not’s, pocket money, and expectations for schooling. These are all outlined in a contract, which he signs, and we renegotiate every Summer Holidays. The rules and punishments he helps develop (that stops the fighting later on) and the expectations are listed by myself and my wife.

I run pretty tight ship, there is an expected bed time, there is an expected morning routine, there is the expectation that there is work before play, there is an expectation of manners and respect, and there is an understanding of knowing ones place. My son knows he can come and talk to either of us about anything, whether he takes that up is another thing, he knows we love him, he also knows the reason for the boundaries and expectations are to prepare him for the real world.

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I am a firm believer in no empty threats, if you tell your child If you do that I am going to kill you, and you don’t actually kill them, its empty, the child knows that you aren’t going to kill them, and therefore the assumption will be, they can get away with it. The threat of the other parent also doesn’t sit well with me either, as a parent you need to be able to discipline and control your child when needed, if you use the other parent as a threat or weapon the child is going to realise you do not have control of the situation and abuse it.

Words can be powerful for children, as can actions, the child needs to know that the punishment for breaking the rules isn’t because your angry, but because they did the wrong thing. This could mean the best course of action is to send the child away for 5 minutes to collect your thoughts and calm down, then go and see the child and calmly explain what the punishment is and why. It is also important to know what is going to allow the child to reflect on what they have done, a smack on the hand or tap on the backside can sometimes be the most appropriate punishment, but I know, for example, my son hates to be separated from people, and not be included in things, so the most effective punishment for him is to remove him form what is going on and leave him alone.

We have recently taken to the 12 Labours of Hercules as a punishment. The idea being he will receive a list of mundane, boring, but constructive tasks, like pulling weeds, mowing the lawn and washing cars, and have no electronic devices until the tasks are completed, the punishment will last as long as it takes for him to complete the tasks. If its a day, sweet, if its a week, sweet, the record to date is 6 weeks, for a task that actually only took two hours when he finally sat down to do it.

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Push for Improvement

First up I am just going to say, I don’t celebrate mediocrity, not with myself, not with my wife, not my children, not with anybody. If you complete a task as given, or complete something that is an expectation, like your job, I won’t celebrate it and tell you how awesome you are. I will thank you for completing the task, because acknowledgement is important, but no celebration. If you go above and beyond, or do something unexpectedly well, that will get celebrated. I expect a lot from myself, just as my parents did for me and themselves. This attitude is how I purchased my first home at 19, joined the military at 21, bought my second home at 27, and how I am now studying Nursing at University. I push myself to the absolute limit and expect nothing short of awesomeness. I am therefore going to expect the best from my children. Having said that, if they are just starting to learn the guitar and they smash out smoke on the water after 15 minutes, that gets celebrated, if six months later, they can still only punch out Smoke on the Water and haven’t progressed, I will start to push. If we push our children and expect better of them, they will continue to grow and flourish. Fight mediocrity and Push for Improvement.

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Love Unconditionally

I love my children, I love them when they are happily playing, I love them when they are quiet, I love them when I at my wits end and close to pushing them out of the car. I love my children. And that is unconditional.

Love, especially with children, needs to be that Agape Love, the unconditional, not matter what, kind of love. My children, God bless them, test me every day. My daughter just the other night pitched a fit because she was hungry, she pulled out of the cupboard what she wanted, pitched a fit because we prepared it for her, then pitched a fit because we served it to her, pitched a fit when we left her to eat it herself and finally pitched a fit when we ignored the previous fits. But I still love her. My son continues to push the boundaries between being stationary and moving. I have seen herds of frozen snails move faster than my son in the morning. I am perpetually frustrated by constantly telling him to chew with his mouth shut, or not talk with a mouth full of food, or do the simple tasks that he needs to do every day, like put on deodorant or comb his hair. But I love him.

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My children know that I love them unconditionally, even when I lose my temper and yell and scream, I love them. They also know that I am here for them no matter what. That’s what we need to be as parents – there for our children. We are not their friends, their play pals, or their life sized dolls, we are their parents. We are their protectors, their confidants, their guides, their sages, their fences around the play pen, the guardians in the night and shelter in the storm. We as parents need to act like it more often.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Our Rage

I have decided to talk about my favourite subject, my Wife and our life together. But before I loose the male portion of my readership this isn’t going to be a love story with walks on the beach, champagne breakfast and how I was the perfect embodiment of Casanova. Instead this is going to be how my Wife and I stay together, keep it together and Maintain Our Rage. The three main concepts I wish to convey with regard to Our Rage are; Communication, Priorities, and Making Time.

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Communication

All good relationships, whether marriages, friendships or working relationships are based around solid, effective, two-way communication. Our marriage is no different. From the onset Alinta and I set out to communicate every idea, thought, question and issue. Other then the normal getting to know you questions, one of the first discussions we ever had was around the intent of our dating. A hard discussion, but one that ultimately set the tone for our relationship. Alinta shared that dating should be with the intent to determine suitability for marriage, and not some summer fling, thankfully I tend to agree with the notion and the matter was sorted. But the matter was still raised and we discussed it, something not too many people would have given similar situations.

Communicating, discussing, relating, talking, sharing, and listening are all part of the exchange of information in a relationship, and it extends beyond simply sharing of thoughts and ideas. My Wife and I made the decision very early in our relationship that we would never go to sleep angry, we would instead remain awake and discuss what is on our mind and come to an agreement, or at least understanding, before saying I Love You and going to sleep. This isn’t to say that there haven’t been many  sleepless night because of this rule, but it has meant the irritations, habits or disagreements cannot take strongholds within our relationship and rot it out from the inside.

Our marriage began with a six month separation due to work commitments whilst I was still serving in the Navy. This meant our normal sitting arm in arm on the couch conversations weren’t happening.  We missed the personal connection that comes with being in the same location, myself especially, but it didn’t stop us from communicating. We would spend hours on the phone at night taking about our days, reflecting on how different things made us feel, and delving deeper into our relationship through our words.

The most sage advice I ever received in regards to a relationship is Never stop talking. This isn’t to say that you should continue to talk AT your partner until they submit, or fill the air with so much talk and noise that your partner cannot think, but to never stop talking to each other, never stop sharing, never stop reflecting, never stop saying I Love You.

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Priorities

In my 30 Lessons Learnt by 30 I mentioned priorities and how they govern everything I do, how I organise my time, and ultimately what gets my energy first. The lit of priorities, in order are;

  1. God
  2. My Wife
  3. My Family
  4. My Employment and Education
  5. Myself

Now, some of you are going to be asking Why is God first? And it’s a valid question. God forms the focal point of our family, He determines what blessings we should or shouldn’t have, where we go in life, how large our family should be, everything. Our entire life is conducted through the lens of Is this what God has planned for us? To that end, my wife is  next on the list. I ensure that she is the first one to receive my attention when I get home, when I wake up in the morning, she is the last one to get my attention before going to sleep, she is the first (most of the time) to know when plans have changed and she is the first person I consult on anything to do with the rest of the list, including how I spend my me time. I would encourage everybody to organise their lives into a priority list, but don’t do it haphazardly. My priority list has been carefully considered and prayed over for a long time. It took a while for me to realise that I am at number 5 not number 3. And I am OK with that. You need to be ok with it too. This priority list also helps when it comes to decisions about time. Our lives all get busy from time to time, some a lot busier than others. By having my wife as the second on the list, when I get asked by my mates to come to the pub, or come hang out, I will either ask to bring my wife, or decline in favour of staying at home. Same goes with unwarranted overtime, excessive extracurricular activities and the like. I will either decline upfront, or at least consult with my wife to make sure she is going to be OK with the level of commitment I will need to put into something else. See back to Communication to understand why.

So my advice, set a list, put it aside, come back to in a week, think about the decisions you have made in the week. Did they fit into that priority list? What needs to Change? Make the necessary changes and do it again, and again and again until you have a list that works for you.

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Making Time

The need to take time extends to most facets of our lives, and taking time for those we love is no exception. Alinta and I, endeavour, to spend time as a couple, just the two of us, no kids, no distractions, no anything. That doesn’t always come to fruition but we try. Sometimes the us time is merely sitting next to each other at our desks and mutually ignoring one another while we work, study, blog or otherwise. Sometimes it is as simple as watching a movie together on the couch. Whatever the activity is we endeavour to make deliberate time for it.

As I mentioned previously, I personally endeavour to make sure that the first person I spend time with when I get home, is my wife. Without her our family unit doesn’t not have its united leadership. When we are out and about we endeavour to be sitting next to one another, walk with one another, hold each others hands, and all the other cliche things, that normally make people sick due to there sweetness, but we do endeavour to do these things. It is what helps us remain united and strong together.

So make time to spend with your loved ones, take a vacation together, get off early from work and surprise your loved one, small tokens of love and appreciation will always go further than singular large gifts. Time is our rarest commodity and the most cherished, share it once in a while.

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So to conclude we may only be on the early steps of the journey but we have enjoyed every minute of it. I look forward to the memories we will make together in the future and the times we will share. I look forward to the trial and tribulations, the good times and the bad, the sickness and the health, until death do us part.

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Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Studious Student

In all endeavours we should attempt to excel past expectations and achieve the best we can achieve; for some of us that come easy, for others not so much. There are many stresses put upon us by others, and many more that are put on by ourselves. As a student I know there are expectations to retain knowledge, pre-read textbooks, complete assignments, study for exams, pass said exams, eat healthily, maintain the rage, maintain a work life balance, hold down a job, pay my fees, and somewhere in all that actually sleep. I know that a lot of people out there are going to think that the life of a student is easy, that compared to the real world there are no pressures, that how hard could it be to simply rock up and pay attention, and until I returned to study, I would have shared similar thoughts. But I have since seen the struggle of being a full time student, full time parent, part time employee, full time friend, and full time human being. The juggle is difficult, but I thought I would share some of the simple things that have helped make me a Studious Student and the habits that can be adopted to ensure that you too can be the best that you can be.

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Pay attention and Study

The temptation to skip class, study in the evening, study in front of the TV, read only the sections of the textbook that you need to for the assignment and coast through is strong. But at the end of the day, you are paying a large sum of money (my course is totalling somewhere near $18,000 which doesn’t include textbooks) to be in class, absorb knowledge and pass. For my course, the Diploma of Nursing at CQUniversity, we have to attend three full time days per week, 0830 till 1600. During those days we have classes that are a mix between lectures and tutorials, clinical skill development, and content discussions with the instructors. In those classes it is not unusual to cover large volumes of textbooks, broad subject material and a ton of detail. The expectation is that you take the information from class, add another 40 hours per week in reading and studying to fill the blanks, and keep up with what happens in the rest of the week. If that sounds intense, that’s because it is. I began the course thinking the 40 hour reading and study on top of classwork was over exaggerated. By the end of the second week, I realised it wasn’t enough. I spend, on average, 50-60 hours reading textbooks, journal articles, news articles, research papers, and anything remotely related to the subjects at hand. All of this study now brings up the total hours spent on Schooling to 75 to 85 hours a week.  But it pays dividends, for every hour I work during the semester is three hours I don’t have to madly cram for an exam at the end, it saves me countless hours in research for assignments, and gives me the confidence and ability to answer correctly when the instructors ask something of me. It also means when I am on placement, I am confident in my own abilities and know my own limitations. So I implore you, pay attention in classes, take notes, read the textbooks. As I like to say to my other budding nurses, You are studying to save a life not pass an exam.

Studious Students Pay Attention

Read Broadly

The temptation as a student is to see a reading list that has been prescribed more as a set of guidelines, though the broader we read, and dare I say it, even outside of the prescribed reading, the better students and better graduates we become. I have purchased every book on my reading list (that was available), either Prescribed or Recommended, and I have collected over a dozen other books of use from book fairs, second hand stores and family. All of these books have been useful at one stage or another. I also read journal articles, health news, nursing news and magazines, blogs, Twitter feeds, converse with Nurses in the field, overseas and local professionals, I endeavour to gather as much information regarding our profession, how to conduct it and the latest and greatest procedures I can. This gives me a wide and varied base to draw from for exams and assignments. It means I am as up to date as I can be, and as a professional, ensures that I am maintaining my professional development habits which will serve me well in the future. My suggestion is read broadly and read often. Buses, trains, morning tea breaks, lunch, quiet times in the lounge room, relaxing in the bath, everywhere is a potential reading spot to absorb more knowledge.

Studious Students Concentrate

Don’t Cram

Anyone who is anyone has crammed at one stage or another, and if they say they haven’t, they lie. I have crammed for exams in the past and it serves to only have you pass in the short term but provides no long term information retention. During my time in the Navy we would be learning a new concept every week, with an exam on the Friday. It was expected that you pass the exam on the Friday so you could start a new subject on the Monday, if you failed however, you would resit the exam on the following Thursday, and still have the new exam on the Friday. Now you had two exams to study for. So cramming became a way of life, which was ok for passing exams and frying brains, but horrible for long term retention. The only way we retained the information was through constant drill and use. The information became so second nature, that I could almost step back onto the bridge of a Patrol Boat and not have too many dramas. However, in Nursing you are studying to use information one month, two months, three years or even a decade later. Cramming is no longer effective, and rigorous drill is ineffective as there is simply too much information to rote learn and reflex learn. So, slow, methodical learning through reading, writing, studying, revising, and reciting is the only viable way to retain the information long term. Now within all of this your individual learning style still applies. I am, for example, an aural learner with visual tendencies. Which basically means I learn best by listening, but can get away with reading. Some people are kinaesthetic, which means they learn through movement or by doing. The difficulty is going to be discovering what works best for you and going for it. I remember listening to a recording of a friend of mine, which ran for just over 45 minutes, with the rules for Navigation, droning on and on and on, and listened to it over a two day car trip incessantly in the interest of passing an exam on the other side. Which I did. So for me that worked.

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So there we have it, a quick look at some tips and pitfalls of study and being a Studious Student. I am in no way the perfect student, but I have learnt over time some habits that have helped me. So I now pass them on to you. If you have other hints, tips or lessons learnt from your study, add them in the comments below, or connect with me on the connect page. Don’t forget to subscribe so you can get regular updates on what is happening on the blog.

Maintain the Rage

Luke Sondergeld

Speed Bump not a Road Block

I write this post as I stare down the barrel of yet another shoulder operation, number four on the same side, in a long list of nine other medical procedures, totalling 13, that left me staring into the stunningly bright theatre lights. I then begin to think about how easy it would have been to just give up; to think that this is my lot in life, to think that my life is meant to be full of pain and misery.  But thankfully I did not. My faith in God, my friends, my family, and my own perseverance has me sitting comfortably today knowing that this is just another Speed Bump in the Highway of Life, and not in fact a Road Block.

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You are not Alone

A useless adage to those who have been in similar situations, where you find yourself completely useless, helpless, and physically alone for large portions of the day. You seem to receive an abhorrent number of messages and phone calls letting you know that you are not alone, and that people are there for you. But for a fair majority of the time, you are. Everyone is at work, school, daycare, running errands and generally going about their day to day lives, while you may be laid up, on couch, with you leg locked dead straight and not being able to move to go to the bathroom without assistance, let alone make a meal or achieve any housework.  This was my life for nearly 18 months, in one form or another, as I was recovering from a Bilateral Tibial Tubercle Transfer, Dr Google will sort you out. In the early portions of my recovery I was almost completely couch bound, struggling to hobble to the bathroom when required. After a period of about 8 weeks I was granted 15 degrees of bend on my knee, which felt much more after such a period of being locked straight. And so my recovery continued. Once I was ‘fully recovered’ the Doctor then moved from Left knee to my Right, and started the whole process again.  During this time my wife was working full time, my son was at school, my friends were all at sea, and I was left in our West Australian home alone for approximately 10 hours a day. An eternity when cooped up with only a dog for company or conversation. I did however have a lot of time to realise something. Despite all of this seemingly empty time whereby, to the outside observer, I was left with nothing but my own thoughts I was, in fact, never truly alone. Thanks to it being the 21st Century and not 1348AD, I was able to call or FaceTime my parents in Queensland and update them on my recovery and have a chat, I could email my friends at sea and catch up on all the Royal Australian Navy news, I had the entire collection of human knowledge in the palm of my hands, and a personal library that would keep me going for years. So I came to realise, no matter how physically empty the house was, I was never really alone, not if I didn’t want to be.

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Reflect

I have mentioned, once or twice, about reflection and its importance on our mental health, this goes double when you are in the midst of an adverse situation. It is all too easy to be in the middle of a scenario and not be able to see the other side of it, or to see the lesson that could be learnt, or to see how this could one day be of use to you. I know I have, numerous times. Most recently I had the unfortunate pleasure of having my bowel rupture, and if you think that sounds uncomfortable and unpleasant let me assure you, it is. Perforated Diverticulitis for those who’s Google fingers are itching. I was admitted to surgery and spent a further six days in hospital, wound up with a colostomy bag, and a gnarly scar for my efforts. I thought to myself, at some un-godly hour in the morning, How can this be? What am I going to do? What if this is permanent? How am I going to live with these changes? and they were and still are all good questions, some of which were only answered 12 – 18 months later. I took the time I had to consider everything, the what, the how, the why, the when, and really consider how I can make the most of this awful situation. I decided that I would take this as a learning experience, something that I can take with me and add to my book of life and share later on. So I changed my attitude, I asked every question of the staff I could, I watched every procedure I was awake for, I asked about worse case scenarios and best case. I became the worlds best and worst patient all at the same time. As I went through the next six months I would go under the knife twice more and spend another five nights in hospital, and have close to eight ER visits. I ended up with 55cm of scar tissue on my abdomen, muscles that are still rebuilding 12 months later and a cool story to share with all of you. But it has also given me a really powerful insight into abdominal surgery, stomas, recovery and the real day to day, life changing effects that surgery like this can have on a person. And as a nurse, this is going to be amazingly helpful. Did I think that immediately at time, NO, but has it come in handy already? You know it has.

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All things come to an End

The saying usually goes All good things must come to an end but I have found it just as true of the opposite, so now I go with All things come to an End. Just as a broken arm will knit, the movie Titanic will roll credits and the visit to the In-Laws will soon be over, all things come to an end. Recently I was undergoing a Nerve Conduction test to determine the cause of some random arm pains. The test is, to say the least, unpleasant. It went for nearly 30 minutes and basically the technician sends varying strength electrical signals through the nerves in your arms and causes the muscles to involuntarily contract. It is both awkward and painful. But it eventually came to an end, my recent broken arm knitted, my knees healed, my abdomen has mostly healed, the visit to my in-laws ended (I love you guys, you know I do), the Titanic eventually sank and Leonardo Di Caprio let go and sank into the abyss. Everything comes to an end; hang in there, it will pass, you will become stronger for it, and hopefully have a story or two to share.

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These three lessons I learnt are great for transitional issues, injuries, seasons of life, heartbreak, pain, and suffering. Some things won’t pass, and thats ok too. Just remember even though this speed bump may be a long one, if there is no downward side, then its not a speed bump anymore, but a new road for you to travel down.

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