Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sorry ma'am, they're just trying to have you die more slowly.

So, surprisingly, the worst thing about nursing is not the stress, smells, torture, early mornings, late nights, no lunches, thrown out backs, ruined bladders, and continuous stress ulcers.

No, the worst thing about nursing is the denial. The denial that life ends. We all know it, and we all seem to accept it…until we walk through hospital doors apparently.

It's amazing the number of people I care for who are being kept alive with no dignity, no comfort, and no respect. Every day I have elderly people in bed, basically unresponsive, with tube feedings going because they can't eat, catheters in their bladder and butt because they are incontinent, central lines because they are an impossible stick for a peripheral IV, high flow oxygen because their lungs are weak or full of fluid, skin breaking down because despite our frequent turning and repositioning, it's super fragile and just can't take the constant pressure and friction, and ten thousand medications to crush and force into their body because everything is breaking down and by god, we will make it work with these pills!

Only it's not breaking down. It's naturally declining because guess what? WE ARE NOT IMMORTAL. Sure, there are things we can do to slow down the process, or make it happen a bit more gracefully and comfortably. And that's fine. But I really don't think tubes from every orifice of your body, constant needles, and complete loss of dignity are within the realm of comfort and grace.

You can say all you want, "Oh well, my family knows that if I get to that point, they need to let me go". In response, I will laugh in your face because I guarantee you 90% of the patients on my floor once said the same thing and now guess what? They have not been let go. And when they code, I am smashing them to smithereens while doing chest compressions, then replaying the gruesome scene over and over and over in my nightmares when I get home.

Only I got lucky last week and I had Mrs. O. Mrs. O was a few short years from being 100. I walked in the room and this little lady had a massive toothless grin for me that made my morning grump melt away. Her wild and wispy white hair was a perfect accessory to her laugh lines and wrinkles around her bright blue eyes. Every time I walked in the room, she had that smile. Sometimes she knew where she was, sometimes she didn't. But every time she would grab my hand and squeeze it, and more than once she cupped my face and told me she wanted to take me home. Um, no Mrs. O, I want to take YOU home! Her family showed me a picture of her from the week prior, standing in the kitchen holding her great grandbaby. Apparently the confusion and frailty was sudden, and surely she would bounce back and be her same self after a few days of IV antibiotics.

Yesterday I came back to work after the weekend. I was happy to see Mrs. O on my assignment list, but surprised she hadn't gone home. When I walked in, I saw why. This wispy, bubbly lady had become a gaunt, sleepy shell. She wouldn't swallow water, and would no longer squeeze my hand. The only indication that she was the same lady was the random smile she would flash in her sleep, her personality clearly showing through the veil of fading life. Yet her daughter continued to talk and walk about the room as if nothing had changed. She left for work like every other day, telling me she would be back that evening.

Mrs. O's breathing got more and more labored, and she became less and less responsive. I wheeled her outside in her bed to see the sun set for the last time at the family's request. Her family put flowers in her hair and sat out for a long time while I went back upstairs to take care of my other patients. When they came back up, the environment in the room became more peaceful, more accepting. And Mrs. O continued to sleep.

When I left for the evening, the daughter hugged me crying and said she'd see me Thursday when I come back for my next shift. I know that isn't true, and I won't see her on Thursday. I just nod, squeeze Mrs. O's hand, touch her crazy white wispies, and walk out the door.

Everyone deserves to be Mrs. O. Everyone deserves that love, that dignity, and that respect. That acceptance. That trust that Life knows what it's doing, and we truly do not have control. And every nurse deserves to experience what I did…because we all know it's few and far between outside of hospice. We deserve to be able to actually put to use the one thing that made us become nurses in the first place: celebrate life- beginning, middle, and end.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The fallen Viking.

Usually I don't most too much about every day stuff like haircuts…mostly because I lack the talent to make them sound truly interesting. But I figure this deserves it's own post.

The Viking helmet, aka Liam's hair, is (was) pretty long. There are tons of reasons we've never cut it, but mostly it's because he's active so I knew he'd hate to sit and have it done and around here we have to pick our battles. Long hair doesn't hurt anyone, so if it's one less thing I have to battle him on then whatever. Another reason is because he likes his hair and every time we'd ask him if we could cut it like Daddy's hair, he'd say no. It's his hair, so I left it alone. Lastly, I'm a stickler for gender stereotypes. It pisses me off when people tell their boys they can't play with dolls or play dress up or have long hair. Liam frequently dresses like a duck and rocks his "baby" (yeah, it's a firetruck with a pacifier taped to it but hey, whatever he wants his baby to be is fine with me). He would be dressed in total "boy" attire (blue shirt with trucks, jeans, blue sandals) and people would still refer to him as a girl. I remember standing in line at the store and the check out lady was going on and on about how adorable "she" is. The guy behind us was a tall dude with a pony tail. As we left, she said, "Hi sir, how are you today?". Um, why can he have long hair and be masculine but Liam has to be an adorable little girl? Gets on my nerves. Not the fact that people think he looks girly, but the fact that toddlers have to have labels and look a certain way. They're toddlers! Jeez.

Anyway, now it's to a point that it is getting wrapped around his teething necklace and ripping and hurting him. He hates having his hair washed and making sure it all gets scrubbed was cumbersome. Finally the other day I asked him if he wanted to go to a place with trains and airplanes and get his hair trimmed. He said yes, so today we went.

I kind of thought he'd look older with shorter hair…but to be honest I think he still looks his age and slightly more girly than when it was actually long! And I'm not gonna lie, I had a minor heart attack when she was blow drying it because I thought it was a Bieber haircut. Fortunately once the hair fell into place, it's just a plain boys haircut.

He didn't really care much, and pitched a fit when we left because the train table had to stay behind. It's nice to have the front of his hair not choppy and butchered like when I trim it. And everything is even, so it can grow back out without being a baby fine mullet.

So there he is. My little Peter Pan who doesn't age.

Before. They actually cut off 6" but it's hard to tell it was that long because of the curl.

Hang on, I gotta take this call guys.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The things that never were.

I've never really been one to believe in fate. I do think there's such a thing as something "right" happening, but I think there are a lot of rights in life. But sometimes I also feel like there's some great power out there that is controlling something, and things are going too well to be just a coincidence…like they are meant to be.

But then the aforementioned power sees something shiny and gets distracted and shit changes.

Then you're left wondering. Wondering if it was supposed to happen like that, or if there was a glitch in the system and if you hadn't gotten a wild hair and let yourself freeflow wherever, if things would have turned out differently.

I never wanted to be a nurse actually. I wanted to be a veterinarian. But I'm too much of a softy and knew I couldn't handle it. I actually don't even remember when I decided to go to nursing school; somehow it just happened. I had a pre-med focus at ASU and at some point I just changed it. Everyone else has these "meant to be" stories about how they've wanted to be a nurse since they were a child, and wanted to take care of people and be there for them in their time of need. Then there's me, and apparently I just pulled a nursing degree out of my ass and here I am.

It's not that I don't want to help people, or that I don't care. I do. I just have moral issues with a lot of goings on in hospitals, and I lose passion for it daily. Don't get me wrong, there are tons of patients that I have that I will never ever forget, and that totally make my job worth it most of the time. But that's getting rarer and rarer.

But if I hadn't have gone to nursing school, I wouldn't have made certain friends or had certain relationships. I wouldn't have stayed in Phoenix and I wouldn't have my son. But what did I miss out on? What would I be doing if I decided to do something else? I don't know.

But this is it. This is all I have and all I will ever be given. Am I making the most of it? I'd like to think that I am, but I know that I probably am not. I guess it's like that with everything though…we all have a tendency to take for granted what we have when we are busy wondering about the what ifs. I love my life. And I'm fortunate to be where I am. I'll continue to moan and groan when I get up in the morning, knowing I'm headed toward the weird smelling place full of fluorescent lights, pain, addicts checking in hoping for their next fix, death, psych patients screaming at me for ruining their purple furniture (wtf?), rotting flesh, the smell of shit wafting through the air, laughter, reassurance, love. Life. And try to remember that I see a side of life nobody else does. Something pure and raw and real. I see more things in 12 hours that some people will ever see in a lifetime, both physically and emotionally. I am continually reminded on a daily basis that life is all we have and it can be done in an instant. Our bodies are freaking amazing, intricate, mind blowing. But they will just stop. And then all that's left is your shell, laying alone in a room, waiting for me to come in with the white bag that smells like shower curtains and haul you off in a metal cart. A new patient will come to the room and you are just gone. Forever. I zip the bag closed over your face and know that's the last time your face will ever be seen.

And I guess I'll just have to keep telling myself that even though sometimes I look back and wonder how the hell I got here, life is a lot like placing a urinary catheter in a morbidly obese person. You hold your breath (because it stinks) and just keep stabbing in the dark. Eventually you'll get it in, and no matter how you got it there it'll work out ok, because there's only one way in and one way out.

In the end, we're all just searching for that hidden urethra.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The ghostly roommates go paparazzi.

So my mom and I got silly and decided to get our old point and shoots and take pics late at night in my house to see if we could catch anything. We took a bunch of pictures in all the rooms, but what I expected to see was something weird in Liam's room, since all the weird crap happens at the end of our hallway by the bedrooms and mainly in his room.

well, we went through all the pictures and there was nothing in Liam's room. Zilch. However, apparently the kitchen was rockin' that night because we have at least 20 pictures with these round light orbs floating around. I don't think they are dust or light particles because when I flip through the 100+ pictures in sequence on the computer, the movement of the light balls is really erratic, and they are just a weird color/brightness. I dunno. Plus they moved really fast and left light trails...not all slow and lollygagging like a floating particle of dust. Again, I don't really know...up until a few weeks ago I didn't even believe in this stuff so, yeah.

I've got tons of pics of the same things, but here are a few that basically sum up what we saw. My disclaimer is to ignore my trashed kitchen because I was preparing for Liam's bday party today and also ignore the ugly paint and decor...it's a rental folks. ;)

First, the creepy ass face on the kitchen wall. This is just some horrible paint touch up job that you can't see with the naked eye, only with a camera flash, so nothing paranormal. But it's probably the creepiest thing you'll find in my kitchen. It's like a freaky devil monkey face. Ew. Look right above the phone jack.

Here's some random streak in the living room. We had a moth in the house though so this could have been him flying.
This one was dashing around the kitchen all crazy. I caught several pictures of the streak, along with a bright ball of light near it.
One little light ball thing.

It seemed like the later it got, the more we caught. We took a few pictures at like 10, and got absolutely nothing. Got maybe a few at around 11. By midnight every single picture had something.

So I'm not sure how I feel about all this. But the fact that I didn't see a black figure with fangs, flipping me off with a giant blood dripping dagger is probably a good thing.

But there's still a damn devil monkey on my kitchen wall. :/

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The House on Haunted, I mean, Mint Hill.

So I'm convinced there is something in this house. I've never really been a believer in that kind of thing but after months of creepiness, I'm pretty darn sure and pretty darn over it.

Let's start by saying that I didn't notice anything for the first few months living here. After awhile I started getting a general feeling of uneasiness at night, but I'm a total wuss in the dark so I figured it was just me being a dork (and it may have been). But one night I was asleep and our overhead light in our bedroom just turned on by itself. It's a pull chain light on a ceiling fan, and you have to pull it to turn it on obviously. I heard the click of the pull right as the light came on. Freaked me the hell out. Nothing happened for another month or so until one night I woke up randomly. I decided to check Liam's monitor since it has a temperature gauge and when we run the heater it tends to overheat his room. When I flicked it on I noticed he was standing in his crib. Just standing there. Staring towards the door. I couldn't see the door due to the position of the monitor but he was staring at something. He kept drifting off and his head would droop, then it would pop back up. And every once and awhile he would point. It was the creepiest thing ever. I have no idea how long he was standing there before I turned on the monitor. I woke Shaun up and told him to go in there because I sure as hell wasn't. He thought I was ridiculous (he doesn't believe in this stuff) so he went in there and told Liam to go back to sleep. He said the hair stood up on the back of his neck as soon as he walked in there. Liam went back to sleep no problem.

Following that there were a few instances of Liam pointing at a particular corner in the ceiling and chattering, saying "Nana!" and a string of unintelligible toddlerness. He also randomly wakes up during naps or in the night and talks, then says, "NO!!! NO!!!" like he does when I try to make him eat something he doesn't want to. He always goes back to sleep.

I came home from work a few weeks ago and Shaun told me at the dinner table, "I wasn't going to wake you up the other night and tell you because I know you'd freak out and not go back to sleep, but I saw something. I was laying in bed and couldn't sleep, and just happened to glance at our door where it's cracked open. A shadow passed in front of it, like someone walked down our hallway past our door. I thought I was seeing things so I kept watching, and then there was this weird shimmering, kind of like the heat rising from the street, and it stayed there. I kept staring and it didn't go away, so I turned over so I wouldn't have to look at it. When I turned there was this weird black blotchy thing on our ceiling by the fan, but it's too dark in our room for me to really tell what it was." I was like, "well, then what?" He said, "what do you mean, then what? If it's ghosts what the heck am I gonna do about it? I closed my eyes and went to sleep." Sometimes I wonder if something is wrong with the fear section of his brain, because really, who the hell just closes their eyes when there is creepiness outside your door and hovering over your head???

The latest episode was last week or so. We were sitting on the couch and I heard this metallic sound behind me. We have a giant oil pan propped up against the wall that Liam uses as a magnet board (classy, I know.). The sound came from that thing, and it sounded like a magnet being dragged across it. I tried to reason that it was a bug that flew into it and slid down, since this place is a freaking insect jungle and they get inside all the time. About 3 minutes later there was 3 loud distinct pounding sounds in the kitchen about 10 feet away. It actually sounded exactly like ice dropping in the ice machine in a freezer. Except we don't have one. And it was LOUD. Really loud. And it was rhythmic, not clattering like something falling. It sounded like a fist being banged on our refrigerator door. I tried to make Shaun check it out but he bailed and went to bed, with the excuse that he didn't want to know what it was. So there I sat, alone in the living room, freaking out that there's something on the other side of the kitchen wall. I pondered for a minute, trying to figure out what the hell to hit a ghost with (my fist? a crucifix? my soul???) then gave up and inspected the kitchen. Nothing was amiss. I still have no idea what the hell it was.

All I have to say is I can't wait to get out of the lease. And most likely have to move into another haunted place since everything here is old. Sigh.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

the girl with the blue sweater.

There's this place here called Monkey Joe's. It's all inflatable play place thingies. There's an area for kids under 3, adults are free and toddlers are like $5. I figured what the heck, it's better than sitting around the house listening to Elmo and Liam screech that he can't lick the window/wipe his schmeckle on the wall/throw the ipad/put banana in my ear/whatever.

It opened at 10 and we got there at like, 10:10. There was one employee there. Some dude with long curly hair and glasses, probably around 19 or 20. We walk in and he starts busting into some weird song about bananas as he puts a wristband on Liam. I'm wondering why he's being an idiot if there is no managers/coworkers around to enforce mandatory idiocy but whatever. He works at Monkey freaking Joe's, he must be going insane. Then he puts the wristband on me and starts singing about my graceful hands. Uh...ok. Thanks? he finishes lovingly placing a neon yellow wristband on me and Liam and I go as fast as we can to the jumps. it's silent except the whooshing sound of the air generators. This guy walks by every two seconds, and each time he's moonwalking or doing some weird chicken dance. I pretend I don't see him, then he comes up and starts asking me, WITH A KAZOO, if I'm a dating single parent.

I'm a bitch and I started to laugh. What the hell else was I supposed to do? He's got a kazoo in his mouth and is doing some weird dance while he is talking to me...like some weird bird on Nat Geo trying to get a mate. Maybe he has social issues and I'm a total jerk for making fun of him but sorry, it was freaking awkward. Conveniently at that moment Liam decided to put his hand down his pants and yell "POOOOOOP!!!!!!!!!! EWWWWWWWWWW STINKY!!!!!!" so I went and changed him.

Later, we are hiding in the back of the place, going down this alligator slide thing with some other kids because by then, 4 or 5 people have shown up. All of a sudden I hear, over the freaking intercom, a voice interrupt the Jungle Book music that had started playing while I was cleaning Liam's ass. "This song is for the girl in the blue sweater!" and that "I wish that I had Jesse's Girl" song started to play. Heads turned and my blue sweater probably turned navy with the amount of sweat that started pouring out of me at that moment. I grabbed Liam's hand and we ran.

I get to the door and there is this giant old lady in a referee shirt (at least they have more than one employee, jeez) blocking the door with a pair of scissors shouting in a growly voice, "WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU ARE GOING?????" Apparently they have to cut off your wrist band and match the numbers to the sign in sheet to make sure the girl in the blue sweater isn't stealing children.

Mr. Romance spent like 10 minutes checking our wrist bands against the sign in sheet. WTF DUDE, YOU ARE THE ONE THAT CHECKED US IN AN HOUR AGO.

I finally get Liam buckled into his seat and he goes, "home?"

Yes, please. Who the hell is this possessive Jesse anyway?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Quick like Shake n' Bake.

There are so many updates I can't get to them all at this moment. I will, but not right now.

Right now it's midnight, and I was sleeping but woke up and needed to say this.

We bedshared/coslept with Liam until about 2 months ago, when he was 16 months. He was getting woken up too easily by one of us getting up to pee. Now he sleeps through the night. It's heaven. I have my body back to myself for awhile since he's not nursing at night anymore. It's obvious he's growing up, because he used to sleep a million times better next to me. Now he's more comfortable in his own space.

But sometimes I miss him. I wake up in the night and don't have that tiny body curled up in the dark next to me. So I sneak in his room and sit in the chair and watch him sleep. I need that moment because during the day it's easy to forget it. When he's screaming and climbing and throwing and hitting and just being a maniac toddler who is such a direct reflection of me it's scary...it's easy to forget the perfection.

Anyway, there is this weird feeling I get. And I don't know if it's just me or if every parent gets this. I got it the second I saw his face when he was born and now it startles me every once and awhile when he looks directly into my eyes and grins. Only just now I got it when he was sleeping and I was sitting in the dark thinking. It hit me randomly, like it always does.

I know him.

Like, other than the fact that he's my kid. Something about him is like deja vu. I remember I saw his face the second he slid out of my body and it hit me like a truck. It's like I'd met him before. It's that awkward moment when you run into someone in public and you know you know them from somewhere but you can't put a name to the face. That's what it was. I recognized him. From somewhere. I mean I know he looks like me, but that's not it. It's something. But I don't know what it is. And I think I notice it more and more now. When we lock eyes I just think in my head,

"Where did you come from? I KNOW you. I recognize you. You aren't new to me."

But I can't grasp it. It's something so fleeting that I lose it too fast to focus and figure it out.

Anyway, I need to go back to bed. But I couldn't sleep without writing this because I always get this weird semi-freaked out feeling afterwards, like I've seen a ghost. Now I'm losing my words because the whole thing is fading like it always does.

My son is my son. But he's something else too. Besides freaking awesome. I just wish I could lay my finger on it.