Tuesday, February 23, 2010

They are precious in His sight

I had to make a special point tonight of spending extra time with each of my kids. I'm not sure why, I certainly wasn't feeling guilty since I had just spent the entire weekend taking them sledding, swimming, cooking special dinners and even baking a pie! Imagine that. My energy has come back so instead of lying around on the sofa I am delving into piles of laundry from the past 3 months, cleaning the kids' rooms and washing windows. I want to not only feel normal again, I want my family to realize how much I appreciated them holding down the fort for me the last few months of my illness.
But tonight the kids were just so cute at the dinner table I wanted to hold them tight and never let them go - not get one inch taller, not learn one more cruel thing, never know a home without me in it.
Of course I couldn't tie them down til bedtime - they had better things to do than cuddle with me, of course, like playing Polly Pockets and trucks. So I busied myself with a crossword until they were tuckered out and looking for mom - my eight year old actually requested I lie down with her when tucking her in, something she has outgrown only recently, but I was all too happy to oblige. We laid down in her bed amongst the stuffed animals, our heads together, listening to Taylor Swift playing softly on her stereo (she has been falling asleep to music since she was an infant - it used to be Johnny Cash, lately its either Taylor or Elvis), while she told me about her school day in hushed whispers. It was over too quickly. She was soon sound asleep, her hand in mine.
I was soon jarred awake by the sound of my son bellering for me from the next room. He was all too happy to join me in my bed, excited to have his pacifier (he's only allowed it at bedtime now) and favorite blankie to rub his nose with, exactly as his sister did at that age. As we settled into our pillows, he reached up and touched my cheek. "Mom, you da best mom da world".
How can I argue with that?

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Why I will not lose sleep over Tiger

So Tiger Woods, who is some kind of famous golfer or LaCrosse player or some such shit, has a press conference Friday to talk about the whorehouse or rehab spa he's spent the last two months in and how sorry he is that his PR people are such pathetic excuses for human beings for not doing a better job of getting him out of the mess he's in. Or maybe he was saying he was sorry for being such a douche canoe manwhore, but that's not what I heard. Basically he appeared really pissed off at having to be there at all, but I see he had to make a point of denying his irate wife nearly succeeded bashing his head in with one of his own golf clubs. Imagine the embarrassment if that story got out. God forbid that frail thing, poor victimized, beautiful-and-cheated-on starter wife actually beat him at his own game. Although I say she should have aimed at his balls, to make it more ironic and maybe kept him from texting his mistress immediately due to the blueness and swelling and all.
Personally I don't buy the whole sex addiction story. First of all, there is no such thing as sex addiction by definition. If he would just man-up and admit to having extra-marital sex and lots of it, he would have more credibility. Nobody would even be surprised, his wife could leave him and be set for life and he could go back to sleeping with ugly-ass whores while making ridiculous amounts of money playing with balls. But instead he is going to pretend to have some disease that basically prevents him from keeping his pecker in his pants, thus reliving him of any manly moral duty to his wife he vowed to be faithful to. So his family and fans should, and must, support his treatment and keep him supplied with porn, chicken and access to an endless supply of hookers.
But I, for one, am not going to partake in this huge steaming pile of dogshit being served up. Here are my reasons;
#1: Tiger Woods means nothing to me. He is not the most famous man in the world I don't care what anyone says.
#2: He plays with balls. This does nothing for mankind. And he is no role model in my book.
#3: He has not found the cure for cancer.
#4: Whether he will return to playing with his balls or not has no revelance and I refuse to lose sleep over it. Because while he is "battling his addiction", I will be fighting for my life.
I hope people can appreciate the difference.
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Sleddin', Shreddin', and Wipeouts

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Tv and banana sandwiches

As I sit here at 3 am, eating a slab of rye with Jif and sliced bananas, listening to Pancho and Lefty (by Willie Nelson for you young'uns), I am reflecting on what an awesome day it was today - or technically yesterday- and my earliest memory of eating peanut butter and banana sandwiches.
(I have to pause here in sheer bliss now because Conway Twitty and TightFittinJeans just came on)
Ok I'm back. That was freakin awesome. And if you don't appreciate Conway, you can leave my blog right now. I mean it - GET THE HELL OUT. The man may have been the homliest white man in a fro, but I would have thrown my underwear at his head if I had the chance. It still isn't clear to me why this was an accepted practice at concerts back in the day, and it is one I have always scorned from my mother's era, but I would have definitely made an exception for Conway. The man's voice can turn me into a melted puddle of butter.
But back to bananas and Jif. Because choosier moms choose Jif. Don't ask me why. I do what the commercials tell me to. That's what they're there for right? To make the hard decisions easy for us so we can concentrate more on trying to figure out which Desperate Housewife will be the next one to go off her meds and knife someone.
Do you realize how much of what you do is directly or indirectly influenced by what you watch on tv? Actually its not what you watch, its watching it in general. For instance, my latest obsession, or shall I say fantasy, of stabbing certain tv characters in the neck can be entirely blamed on the drivel we like to call reality tv.
Some might say maybe I should stop watching it, and to them I say nonsense. Watching someone else's train wreck may just be what is keeping me off Prozac, and fantasizing about stabbing Kris Jenner just may be what has kept me from setting fire to a meth whore's house after rescuing her 7 children who think all their mama's teeth fell out from eating too much candy. Not that I have ever thought about doing that.
Watching tv is therapeutic, I think. Kind of like eating banana and peanut butter sandwiches. I remember eating one as a kid, and my mother telling me that it was Elvis' favorite sandwich. Really? I thought, then Elvis can't be all that bad. (Daddy was an old-fashioned preacher who said Elvis was possessed of the Devil). I was beginning to realize all is not as it seems.
Coincidentally, my eight year old daughter is a huge Elvis fan. Do I tell her Elvis was possessed of the Devil? No. I tell her Miley Cyrus is.
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Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Loot

Isn't it what V-day is all about?
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Friday, February 12, 2010

This is what I do

Do you ever have that moment of clarity, that confirmation, that you are exactly where you should be, doing exactly what you should be doing?
I wish I had an exciting or paticularly revolting story to tell you about *the moment*, like a critical cardiac or messy trauma where I herotically save a life - it is, after all, what I do - but I don't.
It was, actually, the most unglamorous of calls. A 69 year old male having breathing problems and anxiety. No lights and sirens, please. The address was all too familiar. I had picked Lenny* up many times, and it was almost always the same complaint. What concerns me about Lenny is, too often these episodes of respiratory distress are labeled "panic attacks" and those responding tend to get lack-a-daisy about it, when in reality Lenny is panicking *because* he can't breathe. Lenny has a long history of COPD (congestive obstructive pulmonary disorder) on top of heart disease. During one such call not too long ago, Lenny was having an active MI (heart attack) and the EMTs who picked him up that night didn't treat it because they assumed it was business as usual and simply transported him to the hospital - they didn't know, because they got lazy and didn't do an assessment.
So I'll admit, I'm a little protective of Lenny. When I arrive on-scene I am relived to see the First Responder there ahead of me is a well-seasoned EMT who is one of the most compassionate providers I have ever met. It makes my job so much easier to work with people who get it.
Lenny is in his recliner, wheezing. I can hear the hum of his home oxygen machine in the background as I kneel at his side to get a pulse. Its irregular, too fast. I'm speaking softly to him, knowing he will recognize my voice, while reaching with my free hand to open my O2 bag.
"Oh. Thank. God. It's - you!" Lenny peers at me through red-rimmed eyes and gasps, clutching at my hand. I know its bad when he's only getting one word out at a time. His wife, a wretched, hoarse woman with skin the texture of dust-crusted canvas, is leaning over his shoulder, her strong tabacco breath assaulting me.
"Stop asking him questions, goddamnit! Can't you see he can't breathe?!" Her voice is like gravel. I ignore her, because Lenny is already calming as I soothe him, but in my head I'm telling her off: back up bitch, he could breathe a lot easier if you'd quit blowing smoke in his face 24 hours a day.
The room reeks of stale cigarettes, sweat and other foul body odor. Its enough to make a healthy person wheeze.
Some high-flow O2 by mask and a nebulizer enroute to the hospital only 8 blocks away, and Lenny is noticably breathing easier, although fatigued. And he still won't let go of me. And I'm still talking to him. He knows I don't expect him to answer; we've been through this enough we both know the drill. I have his medical history memorized, right down to what meds he takes, and my voice has an immediate effect on him. I keep it low, even and soft. He sighs like a child as his respirations slow into a more normal rhythm.
And that's when it hits me. I am looking down at my hand in his, my fingertips almost white in his grip, and I'm thinking how impossible it is to get good capillary refill on him because of his prematurely mottled, dusky, cyanotic skin. I am relived he has responded so quickly to my simple treatments this time, and I realize, as he shoots me a grateful look, nodding, that this is what I'm good at. Not the medicine, not my technical skills. I flashed back to a previous call where I had held the hand of a trauma patient as she asked repeatedly what had happened. Then the little boy with the mutilated leg who never shed a tear but gripped my hand tightly the entire 2 1/2 hour transport to the trauma center. The suicidal young woman who survived her purposeful crash off a cliff into a ravine who sobbed into my shoulder, staining my uniform with her blood and tears. So many of them, over the years. Did my interventions help them? Probably. But my touch is what they remember.
How lucky am I? This is what I do, and I am good at it.
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Friday, February 5, 2010


Fierce... My new fav word. (Entoned like Christian from Project Runway)
I feel fierce. I AM fierce. Being a hot mess was so... 2009. Thank God that's over. The past few months have taken me to Hades and back, and yet here I am, still.
To get everyone up to speed, I had a double mastectomy in November. At the same time, tissue expanders were placed, in anticipation of the breast reconstruction I had planned. Nothing had prepared me for the pain I experienced, however - a few hours after surgery, my IV was discontinued, and I was started on oral pain meds. ARE YOU FRICKEN KIDDING me? I was 10/10 on the pain scale and on the 3rd day when I finally broke down into a bawling, sniveling mess and rang my nurse, I was told I could have a Motrin to supplement. WTF?
Anyway, those first 2 weeks are a blur of horrific and unpleasant moments best left alone. I lived. Surprise! The pain didn't kill me. What almost did, was far more insidious and menacing: staph infection.
Week 3: surgery again. More debridement for the infection. One night in the hospital, sent home with more JPs (drain tubes) and bandages. Tried to go to work the next day, felt too fatigued. Got up on Friday, determined, and drove in to work. Walking down the hall to my office, I saw my coworkers at the nurses station glance my way, heard a collective gasp, and the next thing I know, I'm in a wheelchair being whisked away to the ER. I'm having trouble taking a deep breath. The room is swimming a little. Dr B hovers.
I come back from x-ray with a terrible chill. I hear "can't rule out the PE" and I am shaking. My husband looks down on me, his face a stoic mask. Why won't anyone tell me what the hell is going on?.
My father-in-law, who is also my boss, and J, my fellow EMT, show up with the ambulance cot. I don't want to go by ambulance, but nobody will listen to me. I am shaking uncontrollably now.
Somehow I survived the 2 hour ambulance ride - the memory is sketchy. When I arrived at SMMC, my fever had skyrocketed to 104.9. I was admitted to the floor but within 3 hours was moved to ICU, where I would remain for the next 3 days, spiking fevers and hovering somewhere between delirium and moments of painful lucidity.
Week 4: more surgery. Implants must come out. Two large abcesses discovered and cleaned out. But this time I woke up and thought, hey, I can breathe...
My recovery was slow and painful. I still don't like to talk about it much. I couldn't lie down without at least 6 pillows to prop everything up, and just showering and redressing my wounds exausted me so much I had no energy to do anything else. The day after my release from the hosptial this time, it was my daughter's final night of her Cinderella play. My husband had to work (he went and cheered her on her first two nights), so I took my two-year-old and we sat in the front row. She was so adorable, and I was so proud. I almost missed that.
It took me a while, but I realized something, after going through it all. I am much more resilient than I thought. Mentally, I mean. Because physically I was a puddle there for awhile - even after the infection was under control I was hospitalized two more times for complications like nausea and vomitting so severe I lost 37 lbs.
But emotionally? I'm in a better place then I've been in years. Is it really true, what does not kill us makes us stronger? I don't know. Maybe I always was this fierce.
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I miss blogging!

I feel as if I have come back from the dead. Literally. But that is another post... The main reason for my absence is, I haven't been able to post from my blackberry, and I am not tech-savvy enough to figure out why. So I am trying it by email...if you are reading this, then it works! And I'm back! Yay me!
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