Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Birth and death...I came home to read my sweet Mary's blog about her new grandson at http://www.blessourhearts.net/ after taking care of a strapping young man who is dying.

I read the joyous note of a birth at home, a lovely time when family is together and loving one another while another human enters the world.   I finished reading and turned to my husband and said, "I should have had our kids at home" and I believe it.  I believe in home...in home birth and home death.  I believe that homes are holy places where the deepest of love happens along with the deepest of hurt and pain...similar to birth and death.

My young man is slowly dying...losing his control and power over his body and this life.  He is amazing...strong and fighting to stay with his family...kind of like when a mother is ready to give birth but the baby is staying in her belly...not ready for this life.  His body is failing but his heart and soul wants to stay. I often say that birth and death are so similar...the process of being born and the process of leaving this earth.  So similar...

I honor both...the living, birthing and the dying...so tonight, I celebrate the birth of Gibson, the love of a family and the process of an amazing birth.  I also celebrate the strength of a family that can care for the dying...the difficult process of loving the one who is leaving when you want to bury your head and wish things were different. 

So tonight, love the ones closest to you...

Good night.
We'll tawk soon,
I love you all,

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Another Tricky day...part two...

Today started out like most of my other days in this life...trying to get two teenage boys out of bed.  The younger one could sleep through the end of the world.  He sets his alarm for 6am and the music is loud.  I typically walk in his room around 6:15 and he is sleeping soundly with what sounds like a 95 member marching band in his room.  "Get up How"  I say.  "Howie get up...it's 6:15"...he stirs, pulls the covers up and snores again.  At this point, I am just mad.  "Howard...get out of bed, put your feet on the floor and sit up!"   He peels open one eye and so he can give me the "stink" eye but he doesn't budge.  Then I sit on his bed until he gets up.  It makes him crazy because all he wants to do is go back to sleep and this crazy woman is not leaving him alone.  Finally, he gets up.
Sounds fun, huh?

That's only half of it.  I then go downstairs to my oldest son's room.  It is difiicult to find him in there and I am not sure where the floor is.  But, I put the light on and speak his name.  "Mac, do you have to get up for school?" (I ask that because seniors in high school rarely go to school anymore...they have half days, seminars, pretend test days and free periods...which all add up to no school.)  This happened to be a day he should be at school for some reason.  "OK, then get up" I say.  He replies, "Can you come down again in 15 minutes?"  When he says that, the voices in my head start to explode about how he needs to go to bed earlier, he needs to clean his room and he never goes to school...then I reply "OK" and walk upstairs and pour my coffee.

About 30 minutes into the morning, the boys show up in the kitchen.  The pour giant bowls of cereal, make bagels and sit at the counter.  They don't talk much because they are so tired...I guess.  I try to make conversation and it's like pulling teeth...they both look at me like I am crazy.  Finally after sitting at the counter, reading the cereal box and chomping down a bagel or ten, the older one will look at me with his puppy dog-tired eyes and say, "Hey Ma, will you help us with our lunch?"  Here come those voices in my head again stating the obvious...."ya sleep in, you don't get up, you sit at the counter eating and chewing like a couple of piglets and you then want ME to make your lunch?" I silently get up and throw two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches together and grab cereal bars, crackers, and try to sneak a piece of fruit in and put them in grocery bags.

The boys head to the prospective bathrooms to brush their teeth (I hope) and begin to feel the sense of urgency of getting to school.  They grab back packs and lunch  from the counter, remove the piece of fruit that I snuck in there and say, "Bye Mom, love you" and run out to the car.  You cannot understand the sense of relief when those two leave the house in one piece.   It is palpable.

Then, I get 'organized" like my mother used to say, and leave the house to see patients. 

Today was beautiful, like spring.  The sun was shining and it was warm. I saw my patients, who I love, and finished my day.  Headed to the high school to pick up the youngest for the orthodontist.  He needs to have his braces tweeked one more time and for some reason, I cannot seem to get him there.  Today was no exception.  I pulled up in the front of the high school and the car died.  Now, I was just talking to my youngest about how my car was going to make it to 300,000 miles yesterday. Shouldn't have said a word. 

I found my oldest in band class and asked him to jump my car..in the front of the school when school was over.  I am sure that he was totally mortified but he didn't act like it.  We charged and charged the battery for what seemed like hours and all the thing would do is "click, click, click."

I called my husband, who was in a meeting at the ski area, to ask for advice. During the phone call I promptly came to the conclusion that I was going to kill him... so I hung up.  My son's, both of them, headed to baseball practice and I was going to head home in my son's (our) car.

I decided to try one more time.  I pulled his car up and put the jumper cables on both cars and started jiggling everything I could think to jiggle including myself.  I waited a minute or two and got in the car..."Please start" I thought, and turned the key.  The sucker started.  It must have been all the jiggling (and let me tell you, these days, there is alot of jiggling to be had)  but I was happy.

Needless to say, I headed right over to the liquior store to get a bottle of pink wine.  I ran in, found the wine and realized that when I got back in the car, that I had shut it off.  For a second, I panicked, and thought about how it would look sitting at the liquior store trying to find someone to jump the car...not a pretty sight.

Thankfully, the car started.  I headed home, put the wine in the refrigerator, got dinner started and sat on the couch.  Two hours later, I woke up, refreshed and ready to start the night routine.

Around 7:30, the house became animated with the boys home, Jim coming home and me with a glass of pink wine in me for strength...and the night was great.

Another tricky day...the usual and the not usual...but we made it. In the scheme of things...not a big deal.  At the time, this afternoon, I felt like it was the end of the world with a broken car. But, as my mother always said...tomorrow is another day...and it is.  We'll see in the morning if the car starts...

We'll tawk tomorrow,
I love you all,

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Another tricky day...

I got up, got on the scale and noted that I have lost  5 pounds...that 5 pounds that I lose alot and then find again.  I don't feel 5 pounds thinner and I don't look 5 pounds thinner (whatever that looks like) but I will take it. 

I made coffee and listened to my husband's alarm go off about seven or eight times....BUH! BUH! BUH! BUH!...then it is shut off only to do that every 8  minutes.  I guess he must be tired and it's only Tuesday...

I better get going and will write along the way today...I have a bunch of thoughts and then they are gone when I sit down at night to write...

There goes the alarm again...
Have a great day,
We'll tawk later,
I love you all,

Monday, March 12, 2012

I don't know how you do it...

Today felt like spring...the sky was blue, the sun was bright and it was warm. I went from patient to patient...drawing blood, changing dressings, and doing assessments feeling like one of the luckiest people in the world. 

There is something about a warm breeze and a bright day when you've been in what seems like the darkest days of life.  It helps me know that there will be another day...

Yesterday in the grocery store, I ran into a friend that I have known for years.  She walked up to me with this sad face...looked at me for a long time.  Then  she said, "I have been thinking about you...how are you...what's wrong?"  I stood there stunned at how pitiful she looked and how she came across.  "I'm fine, really..." but she continued to ask with that look, " But you said you were so sad on facebook and I was so worried about you."

I told her about my last few weeks and how I had been with my sister and now was home and okay...still sad and wishing things were different but okay.  "I don't know how you do your job...I could never do that" she replied.  We said our goodbyes and I got back to shopping.

I've been thinking about that statement a lot today.  The "I could never do that" statement.  To be honest, I am as guilty as the next person.  I will see a mom struggling with a child and think..."I could never do that."

Why do we think that, I wonder?  Are we limiting our gifts, or are we just not willing to move out of our comfort zone?  It's an interesting thing to ponder.  The other thing about that statement, "I could never do that" is...usually folks that are doing "that" which we think we couldn't ever do...thought the same thing.  Then, because there was no choice, they did it.

Certainly, being a nurse and doing hospice work takes a certain kind of person.  I haven't quite figured out what kind of person that is  but when our group of nurses get together...you can tell we are all a "certain" kind. 

But I have to say, doing what I do is not all sad.  "How could it not be?" friends will ask.  I always think that when a person has fought and hurt and watched their family watch them suffer...there is a relief in meeting the person that helps them stop the treatment, stop the suffering and help them deal with symptoms so they can be home loving their family.  There is comfort and peace in that and I get to help them choose the path.

Usually,  when I walk into a house, the relief is palpable and sometimes you can hear the family taking deep breaths and sighing loudly.  It's the beginning of letting go and changing the goals from cure to comfort.  How could a person not do that when it's time?

As I sat in the sun over the weekend watching my boys play baseball, I could only think of how lucky I am.  I have plenty of things...enough to get me through many years.  But the luckiest thing is, I have family...a "through thick and thin", "I could never do that" family that will drop everything to be there when the curve balls of life come at you at 95 miles an hour. And to top it off,   I have a job that makes me aware of my blessings day in and day out and I get to care for people that I can make a difference in their lives. 

 I've been through the dark valley and know that I will be again.  I can only hope not anytime soon... But now I'm back and I'm whole and doing the "I don't know how you do it" work and loving it. 

Good night all,
We'll tawk soon,
I love you all,