Thursday, January 28, 2010


Not like I didn't know it back when I was saving lives as a cardiac nurse, but, life is fragile.  That is all there is to it.  People live and die everyday and very few of us have a damn thing to say about it.....unless, of course, you are an idiot and choose to do stupid things like ride motorcycles without helmets or do cocaine.  As far as I am concerned, Darwin takes care of those.

So, one might wonder what prompts my very cliche statement about life being fragile.  It's easy.  My first professional mentor is dying.  I found out this week and it hit me like a ton of bricks.  I haven't talked to her in years and had absolutely no idea that she was 'sick'.  By the way, sick is word you use for the flu, your puny cold, or your random GI upset, you don't use it for someone that is dying.  However, people misuse the word according to my specs every day.

She's 49.  She has a brain tumor.  She will see her 50th birthday, she probably will not see Thanksgiving.  There is absolutely nothing ok about her not continuing to make valuable contributions to society everyday.

She hired me in 2002 as a nursing assistant on her unit.  At the time, I was destined to 'wash ass' as I liked to call it, take vital signs, give bed baths, bring pudding cups, and get ogled by old men.  And, most of the time, I liked the job.  I liked my job because alot of us liked our jobs.  And, we liked our jobs because our boss was good to us.  She gave you a hug when you needed it, kept kleenex in her office for our meltdowns, and made fun of you when you deserved it.  She also wore the same perfume as my Mom did so that was destined to indicate that she had great taste.  She and my grandmother had the same birthday.

She hired me into a place I would grow to love.

Over the years, she continued to move up and I continued to move around.  She became over worked and over programmed.  That's what happens when you are really good at what you do, everyone has to have you do something for them and be on their committees.  Don't even get me started on committees.  That's a dissertation for a whole other time.

Before she left KU, I have no idea how she really felt about me anymore.  We rarely talked.  But, that was a consequence of an asshole manager that I had.  I liked to call him on the carpet for being a schmuck and knowing very little about how to take good care of patients.  He grew to despise me.  I didn't care.  But, he liked to complain to my mentor about what a problem child I was.  Nope, I wasn't a problem child.  I just believed very passionately that everyone deserved good care.  And, that, if you weren't capable of providing that, you had no business working in an industry that took care of people.  I am still pissed at him for sabotaging that relationship.  However, I sang from the rooftops the day that he resigned (got his ass canned) as the manager of my old unit.  He pushes paper now....and I hope he gets paper cuts.

I am so thankful for my mentor for so many reasons.  She hired me into the best place for me.  I grew to love KU and everything that place stood for...even on a rotten day.  She held my hand through my first year as a nurse.  For those of you that think your office jobs are bad at's a cake walk for you.  People died where I worked and I was supposed to prevent that.  And, that is alot of pressure on the mind of an over analytical 23 year old.  She helped me through the death of my first patient.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  I was hysterical...and convinced I couldn't be a nurse because I just couldn't handle it.  She taught me how to deal with it.  She also taught me how to laugh at myself.  I used to/still do get really worked up and  she pointed out the idiocy of the stuff I sometimes got worked up about.  She saved me from a very scary roommate situation.  I still thank God that she told me not to move in with that psycho.  She also had a really good relationship with her Mom, and I loved that about her.

The world is going to lose a good nurse.  And, it makes me sick.

But, the good thing is, she is going to know how thankful I am for her.  I am drafting my thanks now.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Feeling her presence

For months, I have struggled with the giant void.  I have heard countless times that 'your Mom is with you' and that 'she is always watching over you.'  Not that I disagree with those sentiments...I don't.  I just haven't really gotten the feeling that she was anywhere near me.  That changed a little bit today.

Today was my first Sunday on the Altar Guild at church.  I was a little nervous.  There are so many terms and little things that must be done just right...and I am a perfectionist.  However, the ladies that I was working with today made me feel exceptionally welcome.  I think they are glad to have a little 'young blood' in the group.  And, I am excited to meet some of the pillars of the congregation.

After the Peace during the service, it was my job to go up to the choir loft and wait to assist people after Communion.  So, I patiently waited off in the side room where one half of the congregation exits after the Eucharist.  As I was standing there, I began to recognize some very familiar chords on the organ.  Chords that were so familiar they brought me to tears as I am standing there trying to help unstable parishioners.  The all too familiar hymn was Bread of Life.  It was one of my Mom's favorites and mine as well.  We sang it at our wedding and exactly one month later at my Mom's service.

Maybe it was just happenstance that song was the Communion hymn today.  I would like to think that wasn't true at all.  I think that was my Mom's way of saying hello and recognizing that I was now part of the Altar Guild.  I know that would have made her proud.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The frustrating thing....

about all of this grief crap and the loss of my Mom is that I still need her so damn much.  I still need her for everyday life.  I need her to proofread my stuff, listen to me vent when life gets annoying, and give me advice in when I get frustrated with my husband and I feel like I have NO ONE to talk to about that.  You just don't talk to your Dad about that stuff...he wouldn't find it annoying or would tell me that there was nothing wrong with what Bryce was doing.  Mom, however, would tell me that men are stupid, they are lucky to have us, and that they all need to suck it up once in a while.

For work this week, I have been writing alot....about all kinds of things and pieces that will be in all kinds of places.  However, my A #1 proofreader is no longer available.  That makes me very self conscious.  I know that I can write...she taught me how...yet, I still need some supervision to make it amazing.  I want people to read what I write and go...Damn. That woman can write.  I have never written so much without her feedback and I hate it.  I am doubting the pieces that I have written and there are no equivalent subs to help me out in this instance.

I feel like I have been in a funk and it is taking forever to get out of it again.  I don't feel like doing anything.  I don't sleep well.  Life is general is annoying.  Guess who talked me out of my funks...nope...not anyone I can still talk to and get an audible response from.

Training seems to be going well so far.  I really felt like I was, I pulled myself off the treadmill and on to the track at the gym I went.  That is going much better.  In fact, I ran my first consecutive mile the other night.  I ran that mile..took a baby walking break...and then ran another half.  And, it actually felt pretty damn good.  I just have to keep the momentum going and keep making it to the gym.  I am now officially convinced that I can do this half mary.  I can run a mile so I can certainly run might not see the logic in that...I do.  I never thought I could run one consecutive mile.  I am looking forward to warmer weather.  I want to run outside.

For those that have already done the math...I passed the dreaded 6 month mark this past Wed.  It wasn't great but I also didn't feel like I was going to get admitted to the psych ward either...that means progress.  I spent the whole day at the office.  I knew that if I stayed there, things might be better.  Nobody there had any idea of the significance of the date and I didn't tell them.  I got through.  I went to the gym and then I had some mexican and margs.  I decided I needed a cocktail to celebrate that I had made it through.

We will see what this week brings...I am hoping it is a trip out of my funk.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Thoughts on my new career

As many of you know, I started my new job last new career.  In so many ways it was anti-climatic.  I was excited because I was working again and I was excited to have a good reason to get out of the house.  However, everything is new.  Everything.  I now go to an office.  I have a cubicle.  I don't have to check in or out with anyone.  They could care less if I make personal phone fact, they want me to.  Oh yeah, and I know significantly less about this job than I did about my last one.  I am not the expert nor am I considered even experienced.  That is odd.  It's an odd position to be in after being in an industry that you understood quite well....and it was even backwards more than half the time!!!  And, it's odd to be in an office surrounded by new people that have absolutely no idea the hell that I have been through in the last 6 months or that I am not the same person that I was a year ago.

There are so many things to think about as I start.  Should I have my own personal website or just use the company provided one?  What should my company name be?  Should my picture be on my business cards? How much should I spend on marketing?  What is the best way to reach people?  How exactly am I going to organize my time?  Supposedly, I am asking all the right questions according to my new colleagues.  However, they don't understand that I am used to having most of the  And, that there is a right answer.  There really aren't any right answers to my questions above.  It is all up for interpretation.  And, for someone is who is Mrs. Black and White, this is a bit of a challenge.

However, I am confident.  Confident that these issues will all work themselves out....I just need to be patient. Since when have I ever been patient.  Never really.  But, as I have done for the last 6 months, one. foot. in. front. of. the. other.

One foot in front of the other is how I am going to have to get through this week as well.  On the 13th (Wed), it will be 6 months since my Mom has been gone.  She hasn't been part of my everyday life (other than in my head) for half of a year.  I barely went half a day without her before she died.

At this point in the grief game, things are getting very interesting.  Many have forgotten that you have recently lost a parent....they don't think it is that recent anymore.  Many ask generally how I am doing....and they are not alluding to "how are you REALLY doing?"  I think that many assume that the loss of my best friend is no longer at the forefront of my thoughts.  They assume incorrectly.  She still permeates almost every thought and action of everyday.  I still catch myself wanting to ask my Dad 'what Mom is up to' when I talk with him on the phone.  Or, ask him in the late afternoon if he has heard from Mom yet.  She called me everyday on her way home from school and it's still odd to not get that phone call between 3-5 every day during the week.

But, I will continue to keep her memory alive.  She is with me everyday that I go to the gym.  I am training for her.  I am training to FINISH a half marathon in her honor....and having a cocktail while overlooking the Magnificent Mile when we are finished to celebrate her and the money I will have raised for KU.