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Archive for February, 2013

Remembering Alice

This isn’t the post I’d planned on writing today, not the post I’d like to be writing either.  When I first got into healthcare I quickly learned that some patients hit you a little harder than others.  The kids the same age as yours, the elderly lady that smiles like your Grandma, the babies and small child, the times that no matter what you do you can’t save them and are relatively helpless at even relieving their pain.

What I didn’t realize was how difficult it is to take care of one of your own.  Whether it’s a neighbor, someone you go to church with, and most difficult someone who has worked beside you for years.  Jackie was my first experience with watching someone go from healthy and full of life to seeing them bravely battle cancer to finally going home on hospice.  She was such a dear friend, so kind and everyone she took care of received extra special care.  Everyone.  I still think of her often, her stash of jokes she kept on her phone, her strength, her love for her daughter.

A month or so ago I found out that the nurse who oriented me as a new grad, was a mentor for a long time, wonderful example had a brain tumor.  I didn’t know many details regarding prognosis etc, since I’ve left Med/Onc at DRMC and work in ICU at VVMC.  I’d occasionally hear updates but they were never good news and when I hadn’t heard anything for a while I hoped things were looking better for her.  I was wrong.

She left the hospital end of last week on hospice and passed away last night.

As a newer nurse I had a patient who had been admitted a few months before for similar situation, she was scared and in pain with no IV.  I did little to relieve the fear and was not very confident about how easily I’d be able to get her IV.  Alice walked into the room, had heard she was being admitted again and stopped by to just check on her.  With her sweet smile and gentle hands my patient quickly felt more at ease and had an IV so I was able to help her pain.  It’s one story that stands out in my mind, but was nothing out of the ordinary for Alice.  If it was possible for her to help ease someone’s burden, whatever it may be and whatever the cost for her, she was there willing and happy to help.  I’ve seen her sitting at the bedside holding someone’s hand that was scared or lonely, her smile would brighten any room.

Alice, you made the world a brighter place your example has influence many.  Your ability to comfort someone in need went far beyond any skill set taught in nursing classrooms.  Thanks for your years of friendship and mentoring, you will be greatly missed.  I might just go pick up a paperback Harlequin Romance novel, making sure it wasn’t “too bad” to read on my lunch break.

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Whatcha’ been doing?

The kids are growing up, regardless of my desire for them to stay little and have me be the center of their world forever.  Charlet has been gone with the band since Thursday morning supporting both the girls and boys basketball teams at the state tournament at Weber State.  She’s across the state, without me, and just fine.  They’re all driving home in this

Jealous?  No?  Me either.  Nervous?  Yes, me too. I do know she is good hands and I’m going to have to trust that the bus drivers aren’t taking them on a wild ride like some of our snowy volleyball trips to Salina were.  
Michael is playing his tuba with the Honors Band on a Saturday concert next month.  He’s absolutely loving everything about band and it’s great to see him excelling at something he enjoys.  He wants to play baseball this year, sign ups are next week — not certain how it’s going to go but it’s fun to see him interested in something.  
Softball sign ups are the same time as baseball and it’s a little bittersweet.  I’ve put a lot of bleacher time in watching Charlet play ball for years, through the times when it’s hard for the kids to hit, to throw, t-ball to machine pitch to coach pitch.  The last few years I’ve really enjoyed her games, making me want to find a time to play with.  This year?  Track.  I promised myself that I’d never be the parent pushing my agenda for my kids and I would support them in whatever they wanted to do.  I stand behind that but I’ll miss her games and the excitement when she’d make some nice double plays at second.  Kaede is just starting out with Little League ball so we’re back to the very early learning stages.  
She’s also starting piano lessons {we really need to get the piano tuned} and the noise level in the house after school has definitely gone up a couple of notches.
I’m still working nights in ICU, very anxious for spring sunshine with long walks and a sunset that is actually in the evening instead of late afternoon.

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I’m thinking one of my categories up top should be “life is hard”  I find that my life can easily become a series of waiting for the next step because certainly at the next step there will be a break.  Time to catch my breath, a period of time when perhaps things are easy.  That’s the way it’s suppose work — on my timeline.

I don’t see a break coming.  Milestones have passed that I’ve anxiously awaited because after X then Y.  I really, really think Y would be great but X has come and gone with no sight of Y in sight.  Apparently life isn’t quite like an algebra equation or the alphabet.  It’s not a long straight highway either, my road is mostly dirt and rocks with what might be two tire tracks surrounded by some beautiful scenery.

In the past when I’ve struggled with something there comes a point where I stop and think “what am I suppose to learn?”  Sometimes it’s been a person that our personalities clash and they just grate on that very last nerve even when they aren’t around but when I stop and let go of the power I’m giving them over my life and look at what they can teach me or add into my life the irritation and struggle fall away into remember when land.

I don’t know what I’m suppose to be learning right now or if there is even anything but I wish whatever it is would fall away into “remember when”  Looking back I can see that times of struggle have been when I’ve grown stronger it’s just hard to see when you are in the middle of struggling with an unknown and it never eases up to give some recuperation time.

I do know, with all of my everything, that things are better now than they use to be.  I am stronger now than I use to be.  I believe more in me than I use to.  I hope I have the strength and endurance to follow this through to the end — not knowing what the end will be but certain that after the end something else will come along that I wasn’t expecting to challenge me in different ways.  I wish that somewhere along this journey I find someone to travel it with me.  Much like filling a position in ICU though, waiting for the right person with the right skill set, background and knowledge is important.  No one is better than the wrong one.

The Road Not Taken

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The nature of being a nurse is seeing people and families at their worst.  I’ve worked Medical/Oncology, ICU, and ER.  I’ve never heard anyone say “hey, not much to do this weekend why don’t we go get admitted to the ICU”  No one wants to come visit me at work and families are often in crisis when they end up with us.  In those circumstances I often get the chance to sit front row seat to some of the unfairness that happens in life.  Single Mom’s dying too young of cancer, accidents taking a young father’s life, a new diagnosis that changes everything about how a family functions from being able to work and participate in their hobbies to even church callings.  A lot of unfairness is also dealt outside of the medical world, I’ve yet to hear of anyone who has the perfect life and hasn’t gotten the short end of the fairness stick at some point.

When I look at the kids and teens in these situations the weight of the situation seems a little bit heavier for them, consequences of having to navigate through the situation seem bigger and more looming.  There has always been adults around who love and care about the kids.  The closer to home it is and the more I know of the situation I wonder if all the people who love them can make up for the gap left and then it always comes back to home.

My kids have so many people out there who care about them.  Aunts, uncles, neighbors, scout leaders, YM/YW leaders, family friends, teachers, mentors {I could go on and I could list names specifically but I’ll stop} who all have a vested interest in my kids’ lives and have stepped up in very real ways to help them.  Can all of that make up for the unfairness they’ve had to deal with as we went through the divorce as a family?  I don’t know, I certainly hope so.  I wish there was some way to let everyone know how much I appreciate their part in our lives whether it comes from a lesson on how to tie a tie to loaning a can opener to the kids when they can’t find ours because I moved it.

I sit and think back to a recent meeting with my Bishop when he mentioned that somehow all of those injustices get accounted for and the peace that I felt when I stopped thinking “but HOW?!?!?” makes sense. I am grateful to have people around me now who help hold me up when I can’t myself, who step in where I fall short and am grateful that when it comes to an eternal perspective the Atonement will make up the rest.  No, I don’t know how for now faith will carry me along.

Picture is from the break in the storm today.  When you think spring is around the corner and winter reminds you very loudly that it’s still only February there are moments of a beautiful sky that help carry you on like a breath of faith that yes, it will all work out like it is suppose to.

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I sometimes water down my posts, for different reasons.  Sometimes that days events stirs up some very intense thoughts and while I’m writing they are even more intense.  Definitely out of proportion for their part in my life.  I often will write those posts then sit on them for a while.  Other times I don’t want to offend anyone {really, I don’t — I try to get along with people most of the time} and it creates me finding ways to word things delicately or tip toe around what I’m feeling.  The past couple of weeks I haven’t written because what I was feeling was very close to my heart and/or inflammatory to other people specifically.

Yesterday on FB {yup, heaven knows I’m not away from there for 2 weeks at a time} someone posted this meme.

The whole reason for me even having this blog is for me.  Not to water down {for whatever reason} what I’m feeling.  There are still times that caution is warranted, this is a public blog and things I skipped over in my I can do hard things post aren’t things I want to put out there for the world to see, they’re too close to my heart and too personal.  I’m not going to post the  less than charitable things about specific people — if you can’t say anything nice is a good rule to follow after all.  My Valentine’s Day post?  Yeah, should have written it.  My “will love make up for it” post that I was thinking of not posting today?  Yup, plan on writing it later tonight.

There is something freeing in writing because you enjoy it not because you are trying to hit a word length {or having to shorten it to meet a minimum} and there is no fear of looking at a carefully thought out paper or poem coming back to you covered in red while the last minute typing it between classes so you can turn it in at 3 pm paper comes back with a glowing grade making you wonder why try so hard?

It’s my blog, my thoughts, my feelings, my words and if you don’t like it then you don’t have to read it.  I write for me, not so that you have something funny or entertaining to read.  Yes I’d like to be funny, inspirational, and humorous but let’s face it this is an unknown blog without a lot of traffic and it’s safe to say that I’m not inspiring the masses by my posts and definitely not by my lack of posts because I’m unsure.  I may even go back and write my “Dead Flowers and a Cactus” post — it would at least be funny to those of us who were there.

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It’s becoming a theme in my life, I’ve posted about it a couple of times {quite possibly with the same title minus 394} but life is hard.  I can do hard things.  Today I realized that anything in my life that has been worthwhile has been hard at some point.

  • Getting up the nerve to try out for volleyball in High School.  I was so afraid I’d fail, not make the team, etc.  It took a lot of courage to show up to those try outs.  The day after I thought I’d never be able to move again.  My legs and arms had never been so sore from anything.  Worth it?  Yup.  Wish I could find a v-ball team around here to play on and kind of sad my YW don’t like v-ball as much as basketball.  I’d be able to help them a ton more if they’d switch favorite sports.  {If I get brave and find it, I may even post an old v-ball picture}
  • Going back to school with 3 kids.  Definitely hard, definitely worth it, definitely was a necessity.
  • Trek, part 1 {this came up as I was wondering if the pioneers ever wondered if things would ever be easy again}  Toddler who refused to wear her shoes and ran everywhere barefoot — including through the cactus and a medically complicated infant who cried constantly.  3 days at Martin’s Cove with us an a handcart.  Worth it.
  • Trek, part 2.  Hard in an entirely different way.  Our youth went as a stake and I ended up being Medical Team Lead.  You know, because I had so much time between trying to put the Primary together, being a single Mom and working full time.  I thought I’d have a pattern to follow, a list of suggested supplies, someone to talk to who’d done it before for our Stake.  Turns out it was the first time we went as a stake so no lists, no patterns, no sage advice.  A lot of what not to do’s {it’s easy to want to do something like start an IV to rehydrate a kid but it’s also easy to lose your license that way}  Worth it in more ways than I can count, there are still things I’m realizing I gained from that experience, I could write a length blog about just how worth it that was.
  • Taking an unpopular stand.  No details I’m willing to publish online, but took a stand against some pretty big egos and drew a clear line with set rules.  Rules may have not been followed, but everyone knew my position and that I was not willing to compromise.  Worth it.  Had people who were in a position to understand where I was coming from later tell me what a tough spot it was to be in.  Validation was nice too.
This is by far not an all inclusive list, just barely scratches the surface truthfully.  It also isn’t a list of the hardest things, perhaps it’s just the safest list to share. The things I gained from each hard experience couldn’t have been gained had they been easy.  Yes, if I wasn’t so nervous about trying out for volleyball I could have still made the team and formed those friendships but it was a defining moment for me — first time I hadn’t let my nerves and fear of failing stop me from trying something that seemed hard.  It was an early step to choosing to do hard things because the experience is worth it.
So, here I sit feeling like I’ll never been a good enough {anything} because it’s too hard and I just want to give up.  Except I can’t give up, this isn’t like trying out for volleyball.  It’s life and life is hard.  I’m certain at some point down the road I’ll look back on this time and be able to say “worth it”  The thought even crossed my mind earlier that I should be grateful things are hard right now — I don’t know that I’m strong enough to say that with full confidence though.
Wow, look at our hair — I remember getting it that big was pretty hard to do too.

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We (general) are often harder on ourselves than necessary. My lab work came back today and my Vit D level is in the teens. I’ve been between 20-30 for the last several years which depending on the source is low to okay. Being in the teens is not okay by anyone’s standards. 50,000 U vitamin D weekly and better at taking my vitamins.

I’ve been feeling off for a long time now but fighting it, blaming NOC shift, stress, this bitter cold winter, the color of my toenails. Whatever I could blame I was good with. Trying to force myself to function knowing the value in just doing. Now that I have proof I’m so relieved and have felt even more fatigued today.

Tomorrow I will pick back up with pushing through, if I don’t get called in tonight. Meanwhile, how do I remember to take something weekly?

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