Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Final Post

It has come to my attention that there have been some readers out there in the silent shadows who have read, spread and been quite upset by things that I have written here. I realize my responsibility to post thoughtfully and accept the risk that comes with the interwebs. Sooooo, that said, this will be the last blog post. Thanks for that, awesome shadow readers! I will be starting up a new blog. If you enjoyed my blog and would like to know where I will be posting in the future send me a message and I will happily inform you of the new blog. I will state for the record that I never intended to hurt or offend. I was under the impression that the blog was at best obscure and likely highly unread. I am deeply sorry for the strain I have caused on my dear in-laws. That was NEVER my intention and I feel a little sick thinking about the mess my thoughtless venting has instigated. I continue to feel pissed about the things that occurred but I recognize that there are more appropriate locations to express these feelings. Best wishes

Sunday, July 18, 2010

When I am an Old Woman I will no longer worry...

I am beginning to think that this is what I will look like by the time we make it to October. I am worrying myself old! And not in the good or wise or well earned old way. I am just becoming pessimistic and cranky. Just ask my husband!

I was doing really well with all of this stuff up until about yesterday. My patience had been wearing just a tad thin. I found myself happily playing along with the Hubbs' "Ahw babe I'm so tired give me ten more minutes" routine one second and twenty minutes later seething with resentment that I was trying to wake him AGAIN. I am finding myself at shorter and shorter ropes with nebulous time lines and ambiguous deadlines. This is certainly not the Hubbs' fault. Not all of it anyway. Yes, he could decide that my sanity is a teeny bit more of a priority and just suck it up and wake up when he says he's going to. I KNOW how exhausting the half sleep of duty is. Sorry babe but I don't care. I am out there doing it too and I feel it in my bones too. The shitty part is that there is no one to take up the slack for either of us when it comes to shit getting packed, sorted, cleaned. It is either you or it is me. Every day you say you are going to get up and get something done and then decide to sleep in feels like you are saying "Meh, it's not that important after all. Someone else will do it." It's like pouring gasoline on my already, nearly constantly smouldering fire of overwhelmedness and exhaustion. I know but cannot fully comprehend the stress of being the financial 'only' right now. I am sure it puts it's own gut knotting stress on top of the oh, so relaxing act of moving and wedding planning. I KNOW....the thing is that I am drowning. I see all of the shit that needs to be done and all of the shit that is past due. I am tired of being the one who is "on top" of everything, the one who makes sure that things keep rolling. I want help. UNCLE. As sweet as the little sis is I don't want her help I want HIS help. I want to be important enough to him to inspire him to overcome his aversion to taking part of the helm when things get shitty and confusing. I don't love that we have fallen into the habit of me being the only list maker and timeline writer. I want more partnership than that. I want him to get engaged in "making it happen". If he is reading this he is upset with me by now. He is thinking that I am being demanding and overbearing and that I don't get what it is like in his head at ALL! He's right. I don't. Partly because he doesn't tell me. I think he doesn't tell me because he doesn't want to worry me and he is right. It worries me to no end when he tells me all of the things he is afraid of and I am shitty at listening to it.

I think this is my "Wife Work" right now. Just what I needed right? More homework! But this is important shit right here. This is THE stuff our lives together depends upon me mastering. I need to listen without absorbing the awfulness of worry. I have enough worry for both of us and I can learn to just hear his concerns without internalizing it all. I am not entirely sure how I will do this but I think that's what the next fifty years are for. I hope it doesn't take all fifty.

Anyway, the other side of all of this is how well I have been doing. I made it well past a month before losing my shit and then really only lost it after getting the crap news that we no longer had a solid closing date. I feel more and more committed to my life with G and here in the city. I am feeling more and more excited about joining the ranks of the midnight superheros who stand watch so everyone might sleep. I am struggling more days than not right now. I mean really struggling. I miss my folks and I miss summers on the boats and everything seemed simpler. It is hard to keep my forward momentum in the relative moments of day to day. In spite of all of that I have a more absolute sense of peace on it's way. My dear friend S pointed out to me yesterday that I only have to survive 63 more days and then it is all done. I will look around and see my lovely little house, my diploma on the wall, the wedding flowers drying in the window and my warm, wonderful, infinitely supportive husband by my side. I will work hard right up to the end and I will get to look back and feel pride in my efforts and joy, knowing all of this bullshit and indigestion was worth it. In the mean time....I need to keep my mouth shut, practice taking deep cleansing breaths, work hard at interning, eat well, run often and further and further and kiss my Hubbs. We will work out the partnership divide when the dust settles and we can talk without such high risk of hurt feelings. We will take our notes from this war and craft a better battle plan for the next such challenge....Yesterday as I sat at the table crying into a box of packed up dry goods I begged for a promise...."Promise me we will never try to do everything all at once, ever again?!"...He said "Yes honey, next time someone is trying to finish school and we are having a housing transition I am sure we will only have one or two kids and you'll just be pregnant so, yeah, that will be way easier..." He has a point. While I hope to not repeat this cycle of intensity often if ever again, life does not slow down much from here on...at least not for a while. Not until my hair is the color of that woman's and my eyes as wise as hers....like I said, that is what the next fifty years are for.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Of First Tubes and Delayed Closings...

The night started out just like every other night...diabetic refusal, drunk and disorderly at the mission. At 2300 we were posted way out east. I had just finished my chart from the drunk and was opening my napkin across my lap, about to enjoy some yummy salad the Hubbs had packed for me. Doot Doot Doot, "Engine 22, Medic 723 respond to a 1432 Sanderson road for PD reporting possible assault. Stage and await PD."
"Damnit! My salad looked so good!" I was pretty sure it was going to be BS but I packed up my lunch and put on my gloves and my eye protection. I even pulled out a set and built an IV lock. I taped a trauma band to the wall so that I would remember to give the number to MRH if it came to that. We drove over to the staging area (out of sight of the address given) and we waited. It wasn't 5 min before the radio chirped "Engine 22, Medic 723, you can clear. Non injury."
"Damnit! I knew it. Crap!"
We went back to our assigned street corner. My preceptor and his partner fell asleep. I played solitaire for a while before giving up and closing my eyes as well.
At 0415: "Doot Doot Doot! Engine 22, Medic 723 respond to 1432 Sanderson road for AS1" (this means someone has been assaulted or at least that is what dispatch is calling it). "Wait a second, isn't that?" "Yup". And we were off, lights blazing, sirens blaring.
We arrived to find the nastiest apartment. It was like some frat boys had moved in and locked the door behind themselves. There were holes in the drywall, dirt everywhere and cans of 4 Lokos in various states of consumption lined up along the sofa and the entertainment center. On the floor of the apartment was a young man. He was face down on a sofa cushion writhing around like a wild animal. He was flanked by his brother and a "friend". His brother was significantly older and appeared entirely sober. The same could not be said for the friend. The brother informed us that he had a seizure disorder and he took medicine for it. He said his friend had called when he had started seizing and he had rushed over. That was about eight minutes ago.
I was still half asleep but mesmerized by this creature writhing about on the floor intermittently drooling and thrashing about and then still, staring at us and demanding to know what was happening. Before long we were in the back of the ambulance (here after referred to as "the car" for you non-EMS type). Once in the back he was seat belted to the stretcher and I set to work obtaining vital signs. I got a manual BP and heart rate as my preceptor turned on the monitor. I was attempting to take a respiratory rate when it dawned on my sleep fogged brain that he wasn't breathing. "Ed, he's, uhh, not breathing...." I trailed off. Instinctively I took my pen and squished on his finger to elicit a pain response as I shouted his name in his ear. "Jake! Jake! You need to breath! Jake! Wake Up Dude! You need to BREA..." "GASP!" He tried to sit up and began thrashing around. "Where's my girlfriend?! What the hell?!" He was "awake" but he was staring right through me. He started wringing his hands together and staring at them in a trance. *Meth? or just the Lokos?* I wondered to myself. Nobody said anything about meth...Not that that means a damn thing.... As I was pondering all of this I was hooking him up to the monitor and putting on the end tidal CO2 monitor. This lets us know A. Is he breathing? B. Is he exchanging oxygen and CO2 properly? I hit print on the monitor as I pulled my pre-made lock off the wall and started an IV. "Guess I get to use this on you after all." I said under my breath. I pulled the strip from the monitor and looked at his wave form (this is the tracing that tells us how well his breathing is working and how regular it is) it was ALL jacked up. There were a few breaths and then nothing. I thought about checking the connection at the monitor but instinct made me turn my head and put my hand on Jake's chest. He wasn't breathing. AGAIN. I shouted and squished his finger. I rubbed my knuckles on his sternum. Nothing. I looked to Ed who was getting out the leads for the ECG and I said "He's not breathing." It was almost like Jake heard me because again, he roared to life. This time making less sense and becoming increasingly wild in his movements. "He's not going to tolerate a non-re-breather mask" I said out loud. "Let's just get to the hospital" Ed said to his partner who was at the wheel. We fired up and as we pulled onto the road Ed looked at me. "He's your patient. Do you RSI him?"

RSI means Rapid Sequence Intubation. It is when you decide that someone is no longer able to control and protect their own airway and you need to control and protect it for them by paralyzing and sedating them with drugs, placing a plastic tube in their trachea, inflating a balloon to prevent anything else from getting into their trachea and then breathing for them with a bag filled with oxygen. RSI is a privilege and a HUGE responsibility. There are many states who do not allow their medics to RSI patients no matter how sick or unstable. It is a highly controversial topic in EMS right now. However, it is the gold standard of care for securing and protecting a patient's airway. Rescue airways like the king or the LMA do not secure the airway if the patient vomits. This puts the patient at very high risk for aspiration pneumonia...the reasons I am a fan of RSI go on and on and the research indicating both its strengths and liabilities are the topic for another post.

"How far out are we?" I ask, my voice catching just a bit. "How far to the hospital man?" Ed asks the partner. "Ehh 5min" he says. Ed looked out the window. "Hmmm. I don't think so. I think we are further out than that. What do you want to do?" I froze for half a second. "He's getting worse. He is spending less and less time breathing and more time apneic. He isn't coming around if this is post-ictal. If he's been drinking he's gonna puke. He's not going to tolerate a non-re-breather. I want to take over for him. Let's RSI him." "Ok" says Ed. "Hey partner, call fire back, pull over and join us. We need to tube this dude."

I jumped into the airway seat and began setting up my stuff as Ed began sorting out the drugs. Partner joined us and attempted to place a mask on his face for a little added 02. He woke up and began thrashing around and wringing his hands. He tried to sit up and appeared to be seeing things that none of us were seeing. *This kid is tweaked out of his mind* I thought to myself. I thought through my airway algorithm as I pulled out tubes and checked balloons. I turned on the suction machine and flipped on all of the lights.
"Etomidate is in.....Versed is in..... Succs is in.....30 more seconds....10..9..8......Ok, go time"

I placed my hand on his head and tilted it back, I opened his mouth and placed the blade in his mouth sweeping his tongue to the side. I looked and all I could see was pink and secretions. I held the blade with my left hand and reached for the suction on the wall to my right. I suctioned and repositioned. I hit the release mechanism to lower the head of the gurney with my knee and it crashed down onto my lap. *SHIT!* "Cric pressure please!" *Oh Damn! There they are!*. "I am visualizing the cords. I am passing the tube through the cords. I am in. Bag please." The partner placed the bag on the end of the tube as I withdrew the stylet. I had a death grip on the tube with my left hand as I fumbled to place my stethoscope in my ears with my right. I listened over the epigastrum and then over the lungs. It was so loud in the back of the car with the suction pumping away next to my head but I KNOW what tube in gut sounds like and there was none of that. I bagged him a few times and as the tape was being secured I could feel his mouth working away at the tube and my fingers. "Guys, he's waking up. We need some more sedation on board". Just then the fire medic arrived and the partner jumped out and back into the driver's seat. We were on our way. Jake was starting to writhe on the gurney again and Ed handed the fire medic the Midazolam. It felt like an eternity passed as he drew up and double checked the dose. Finally, Jake relaxed again. I was able to bag him easily again without the disturbing feeling of trying to compete with his own respiratory drive. It felt like days later, we arrived at the hospital. We piled out of the car just as Jake began waking up again. "Shit! He is just burning through this versed guys" I pointed out. It had only been about 7min since the last dose. We rolled into the brightly lit room and the Doc and the respiratory therapist were waiting for us with arms folded. "Good morning" I said. "This is Jake. Jake was at home partying with some friends tonight and we are not clear what happened but Jake had a seizure. Jake has a seizure disorder for which he takes Dilantin. His family and friend say he takes his meds as prescribed and he has not missed any doses. His buddy says he smoked some weed tonight. We arrived to find Jake apparently post-ictal on the floor. Initially he was making some sense and interacting with us. As we loaded him in the car he began making less sense and began experiencing longer and longer periods of apnea interspersed with periods of violent disorientation. We elected to intubate him. Vital signs have remained steady. He has a 8.5 tube, 27 inches at the teeth and when he is properly sedated he is easy to ventilate. He is currently waking up and starting to buck the tube." As if on cue, Jake reached his hand up towards my hand on the tube.
The doc called for more sedation and the RT offered to take over my spot at the airway. I happily relinquished the responsibility and kept watching what he did as I helped the nurse hold Jake down until the Midazolam took effect. "Let's get this young man to the CT scanner. I want to look at his brain and we only have about 10 min before he needs more sedation" the doctor said. As I was gathering up the wires and cords that were spilled all over the floor the doc looked at me. "Is that your tube?" "Yes" I said. "Nice big one. Good work." I blushed. "Thanks" I said, "It was my first one".
Fifteen minutes later Jake was back from the scanner and being tended to in his room by a troop of nurses and the RT. Labs were being drawn, x-rays shot and the tube backed out a little from it's placement in his right mainstem. I went to the bathroom and slumped to the floor. "No fucking way..." I said to myself as my eyes filled with tears. "No fucking way..." Somehow the gravity of what had just happened hit me all at once and there I was teared up on the ED bathroom floor. Adrenalin was rushing through me. My hands were trembling uncontrollably and I thought I was going to be sick. I took a few deep breaths and started to feel it all. *I helped that boy. I helped him breathe. I just did right by that kid. I DID it*. As Ed bragged me up to everyone on the computer. "She got in there an placed it on the first try. Did it like a rock star."

I have arrived on the doorstep of my education. I am ready to learn now because NOW I understand that this job is about 95% no big deal, diabetic refusals, drunk tank brawls. But it is the 5% that makes it life and death. The 5% that makes all the difference. I understand what it means to have a young man's life in my hands. It is huge. It is a terrifying honor. I am ready to learn how to serve my patent's best interest in the 5%.

As if that were not enough for one week The Hubbs and I found out today that the sewer guy "needs more time" and thus we will not be closing on the first of the week after all. I don't know what that means. I don't know when we will close or when we will move. I cancelled the moving van today and then cried. I cried for the unsatisfactory nature of it all. I cried for wanting it to be over. I cried for wanting my mom. I cried out of exhaustion and exasperation. This week has been wonderful and awful all in one. I think I will lace up my sneakers tonight and take myself for a nice long run. The breeze is cool and the sun has gone down for the day. I won't sleep anyway so I might as well get some endorphins cranked up. Tomorrow's another day, I'm thirsty anyway, bring on the rain.....

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The all you can eat (way more than you want) buffett of life

Name that city.....

If you said Denver Colorado you'd be right! Now why, you may ask, have I posted a picture of Denver? Well its a math problem. I sat down yesterday to figure out when I would be done with my internship hours and thus, when I could take my national registry exam and to my horror I will be taking it to the last few weeks before the wedding. If I manage to get all of my calls in I could be done before September 5th. This means that sometime before Sept 5th I will be able to take my director's oral where I sit down with my medical director and he tests me on drugs and patient care and likely a few critical scenarios. Once that is done I get to go to the testing center and take my computer based written exam. As soon as THAT is done I can take my practical. This is the exam where you suspend common sense and logic and show the NREMT that you know how to read and memorize their often ass backwards way of doing something. It has very little correlation to how things are done on scene, in the back of the car or at the hospital but whatever, they write the test and I have to pass it to become a medic so I will learn to walk on water if they want me to.

You're still wondering what the hell this all has to do with Denver. Well, here it is. There are only so many practical exams offered every year. They are offered all over the nation. Oregon is in the fall. The late fall. I don't have time to wait until the late fall to try to get a job or to let the information atrophy in my mind. California is a favorite. Folks find a car pool buddy and a cheep hotel and hop on down to Cali to test all the time. Maine even has one in Bangor. I could shuck out the 5oo.00 to fly home and then there is no rental car, no hotel, just hanging out with my mom. The problem is the date of the test. California is all at the end of August and likely, before I will be done with everything. Maine is on graduation weekend and I can't really miss my own graduation. So, Colorado is testing in the beginning of September. They are testing 5 days before the wedding. FUUUUUUUHHHHHHCK! It appears to be my best and really only option. The flight is pretty cheep, I found a cheep hotel and a decent rental car. All together with the testing fee it would be somewhere in the 800.00 range. That beats the pants off of the 1200.00 range for California.

The Hubbs and I have done a lot of talking about the wisdom of testing 5 days before the wedding and it is what it is. In the grand scheme, I need a job. The wedding will be wonderful and I will learn to let go. I have worked too hard and too long to not take 100% crystal clear focus to my exam. I will just have to deal with the rest when I get home. I think my mother is going to want to kill me but it is what it is. It is time to test and time to apply for a job.

G was helping me talk through the logic and look critically at the options last night and he said, "I just want to make sure its not too much all at once." I laughed out loud. "Of course its too much!" I said. "This whole thing is too much. Trying to plan a wedding while in school is too much. Doing it while trying to buy a house is too much. Trying to move, pull off a wedding, intern and prep for the exam is ALL too much. THIS WHOLE COURT IS OUT OF ORDER!". We had a good laugh and he said "You're right this is insane. I just want you to have your head wrapped around it the best you can so that you have the best shot possible". Ladies and gentlemen, my husband. The very best guy you could ever hope to have at your side in a shit storm. I think I'll keep him.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Update from beyond the boxes...

So...It is HOT here! Like really damn hot. I was out running errands yesterday and as I was standing talking to the frame shop guy I realized that the backs of my legs were sweating. Not the knee crooks but the actual backs of my legs were generating their own rivulets of sweat. Yuck! I am not a girl who digs the heat. Frankly, I am too well padded. That said, I hate hate hate air conditioning. I would rather be sweating it out then trapped in the "oh my god don't open the door or pull up the blind for fear of letting out the manufactured odd smelling air!" I just feel claustrophobic with the air on. Anyway, I am rambling.

The house: The sellers agreed to our inspection addendum and will be shelling out about 7k to fix the radon problem and the sewer line issue. In fact, they should be starting and finishing next week. I was quite pleased to hear that they got a better bid on the sewer and it will only be 5k instead of the 7k quoted earlier. The radon problem will still be spendy at 2k. Anyway, as I had always said, I didn't want them to suffer hardship on our behalf but as my realtor reminded me...that's the way it goes sometimes. That's the biz. Now all we are waiting for is the appraisal from the bank and the final approval from the loan underwriters and then closing 11 days! Cross your fingers for us! There are a zillion little ways that this could all go to shit but I am doing my damnedest not to focus on those things. If all goes well, by this time next week I will be totally done with the packing and onto cleaning projects. It will be hard with the dogs but I think I can start chasing cobwebs in corners and wiping down window sills and what not. We hired the carpet cleaners for the 28th and for all the carpet it was only $198. I was pleasantly surprised.

The Hubbs and I have been purging shit like we are on the Titanic and someone told us it was a weight problem. We are in the everything must go mode and I couldn't be happier about it. I am one of the biggest recovering pack rats you will ever meet. If you asked my folks they could tell you stories about me hoarding Popsicle boxes and scraps of paper. I have a vague recollection of thinking that they had feelings and that their feelings would be hurt if I threw them out. Well, moving across the country in the back of the Ford Ranger was the first wave of change for my pack rat mentality. I realized what a phenominal pain in the ass moving was and vowed to never acquire that much crap again. Oh how soon we forget. I had way too much shit when The Hubbs and I moved in together and worse yet, I had to pack up and move all of that in the middle of a total freak Christmas snow storm. The Hubbs has a TON of crap. When we first started dating he was in the process of moving. I helped him pack up and move out of his apartment which honestly should have frightened me off. It was one of the nastiest apartments I had ever seen. You couldn't even SEE the sink let alone the counters. I still don't know what kind of surface the kitchen floor was. It was 6 months away from a trail house. To be fair, he wasn't alone in that apartment. There was one steady roommate and a rotating cast of characters who would come, stay, trash and leave. Anywhooo...it was nasty. The next house was better but still too big and nobody really cared if the toilet talked to you or if the counter was covered in the remains of the last weeks worth of meals. By the time we were moving in together I was just so happy to be in a space that would be ours that I let him pack up and bring anything. BAD plan sister! He had six boxes of random bits of half broken shit. Paper clips and push pins mixed in with a storm whistle and an old tape of something....we don't even have a way to play tapes! Needless to say I had grand aspirations for the next move. The next move happened altogether faster than anyone in their right mind would have planed. We got the letter ten days before Thanksgiving. We had 5 weeks to be out but those were the weeks between Turkey and Ham and in between there were finals and a half marathon in Seattle! FFFFFFFF! No problem! SIL and I set on it like fruit flies to fresh peaches. We had a new house picked out and in process the next day. Four days later the house was packed up and the moving truck was in the driveway. Six days from the day we got the letter we were out and settling in to the new house. We had intended to stay here a while....we were happy with the stuff we had. It was no awesome but it was totally good enough for now. Once we were done with school and ready to settle in to a house that was truly ours we would worry about having the stuff we really wanted. Hell we were so happy with our current station that we weren't even going to register for stuff for the wedding. We wanted to take a medical relief trip. Well, getting that last letter changed things.

We are now registering for stuff. We have begun flushing out the stuff that we don't love adopting the philosophy of "we would rather have a space that we intend to fill with just the right thing than have things that aren't just what we want". It is liberating. It is significantly harder for my pack rat hubbs as he is just now beginning recovery and has backslides regularly. The most recent example is the pile of old, weird, wool, army clothes in the garage. Some how he has convinced himself that in spite of having some the best outdoor gear available, in our closets, if there is "a winter earthquake or natural disaster" he will wear these moth bitten, itchy, 40lb wool pants instead of his waterproof, lightweight snow pants (he has 4 pair). I don't quite understand this and I have begun referring to this behavior as "Zombie Apocalypse Syndrome". It goes like this, the stereotypical little girl has spent a significant portion of her life thinking about her wedding day or having her own family some day. We have plans for the future in our little pink lacy minds. The stereotypical boy on the other hand, has spent a large portion of his life planning for the day when all hell, literally, breaks loose and the great zombie world war or some other unlikely event will take place. They too have plans in their little lug soled, camo print brains. My theory is that the Hubbs is manifesting some of this in his insistence upon packing these tatty old clothes that would be waaaaay better served passed out at the rescue mission down town. I don't get it....Some things are not mine to get though so I permit a great deal more of it than I might think reasonable.

Well, this has been a very long post leading up to the following....

The one thing that I have really really really been looking forward to is a new table. I want a big old farm table. One where you can expand it out to fit all of your friends at a potluck or game night. One where you can stick some benches on either side and pile the kids up next to one another. I feel like the real start of a family is the kitchen table. Here is the one G and I have picked out. We are going to get it once we get all the shit into the new house. It is my major motivator to donate the old crap. It seats 6 as shown but has 2 leaves so it can also seat 8 or 10. I can't wait. I know its silly but it is starting to feel real. I took my Nikki McClure prints to the frame shop and we have picked out the dining room table...hell, someone has already been shopping on the registry and bought us the toaster oven we sooooo wanted. I think we are going to have a lovely little house. Now I just have to get back to the packing....boo.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


We are 79 days from wedding day and I must admit I have a lot of mixed emotions. I am very excited to celebrate my partnership to G in front of our family and friends. I can't wait to wear my dress. I can't wait to see our friends from far and wide as well as those who live right down the street. I CANNOT wait to see my brother and my parents. However, had we known we would be buying a house and all of this nonsense mere weeks before the wedding I think we likely would have opted for a wedding in G's folks backyard followed by a camping trip to the coast or something like that with our buddies. And, with guilt in my heart I must admit that right now that sounds like a lot less work.

The truth is that I feel married to the Hubbs. I feel like we have forged the first of our bonds in the fire of this past year. It sounds all cliche' but it has been a hell of a year. We have moved in 4 days and lost another house, we have (very much together) put me through a fast paced year of medic school and done it all on less than 2 full paychecks. We have dealt with lots of challenges and come out (as I see it) on top every time. We are like a cat who seems to land on its feet.

Wedding wedding wedding....It all seemed like such a good idea at the time. We were happy where we are and with all of the things we had. We have asked for money to help send us on a trip to Africa with Project Helping Hands as "honeymoon mission". NOW we are looking at all the stuff we need for this new house. I am not talking about candle sticks and crock pots or fancy linens and crystal. No, I am talking about a door that fits the back doorway properly, a deep freeze for the basement so we can buy locally raised antibiotic and hormone free meat in bulk and at a budget saving cost, shelving for the basement. I am talking about frames for the artwork we have recently acquired so that we don't start in this house with the same college kid feel as our houses before. It is all very materialistic but they are things that would make starting out in this house so wonderful. Anyway, that is where I stand in my poverty mind swirling with wants and "needs".

I must give a thank you to the mother in law, without whom I would have significantly more anxiety about just about everything from school loans to commitment. I will preface this by saying that my mom is one of my very best friends and she is number one in my book of bad ass, smart, wonderful women. That said, the mom2 is a total gift in my life. She is a friend in the same time zone when I need one. She is a total insomniac so she is my late night life line occasionally. She has a wicked sense of humor and she seems to "get" me. She certainly loves her son but on some fundamental level I think she must see something of herself in me. She seems to get the person I am trying to become as well as the person I am right now. She seems to understand that occasionally I need to share difficult things and I just need an ear not a remedy and I don't want to worry my mom so far away. Also, she is married. She has been married to the same wonderful, funny and stubborn man for over 30 years and shows no sign of changing that. My parents were married for 32 years and for 95% of that time I saw a happy, compatible partnership. My parents did not fight, nor did they speak disparagingly of one another ever. I had a true friendship as my model for what a partnership should look like. My parents divorced and I think I have said before that I think it has all shaken out for the best. I think they are more truly themselves now and I am happy and proud of them both in their own ways. I think I win twice because I saw a healthy marriage model as a child and then saw two people self actuate as "grown-ups". That said, my mother is no longer married to a man and there is "stuff" around all of that. This makes her not the absolute best person to talk about weathering the storms of a life long marriage. Not for lack of wanting to be that person....she just has some opinions now that I can't totally access on this end (the new end) of a partnership and adult life. It does make her a very open person to talk to about shedding the weight of the "musts" and "shoulds" and for that I can't begin to thank her. Anyway, the mom2 and I see eye to eye on so many things and that brings such a light to my heart I am tearing up now as I write about it. Talking to her today was really great.

Wow! First let me say that I haven't even done anything cool yet but I LOVE being on the ambulance and running calls! I am starting to get pretty good at starting IVs in the back as we trundle down the road at a bumpy 40-60mph. I have spent the last two weeks running generic rather crap calls. We had 2 trauma entries but nothing even all that grand about either of them. The take home message is DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE MORONS!! Next week I will be working with a medic who is known to be intense and a little "particular" about the way things are done. Ed, my preceptor now, is a pretty laid back guy. He is a good teacher and since we haven't seen anyone who requires ANY sort of medical knowledge to care for it has been a little hard for him to challenge me. R.C will challenge me no matter what. I have already started reviewing protocols and medication doses so I can be ready to be "pimped" (put on the spot with questions).

There is something cool about riding around all night keeping watch on the city. It feels a little like a band of secret superheros. I know that sounds super geeky but I can't help it. No one thinks about it but at any time of day or night there is an ambulance not more than about 8mins away from where you are ready to help you if you get ill or hurt. We will come to your house, check your diabetic husband's sugar and put a line in, give him an amp of dextrose, wait until he is conscious again and making sense, then we will make him a turkey sandwich or maybe PB&J, check his sugar again and when we are satisfied that everything is OK, we will pack up our stuff, shake your hand, pat your husband on the back and tell him to finish the whole sandwich before going back to sleep, and we will leave....back out into the predawn darkness....back to our street corner. It is not a glamorous world. It is full of dirty corners and dirtier houses. It is full of people who want to hurt one another or themselves. It is full of sickness and death and bullshit. But it is a noble profession. I never would have thought I would be joining the ranks of these superheroes but here I am. They won't give me my own cape or even a good superhero name for a few more months but I am here, learning. Helping the watch standers and watching over the city.

So that is about the gist of things right now. I have been writing to my best friend who shall be henceforth known as "the captain". I have been trying to put together weekly house/wedding/school updates for her. It has been helpful for my processing. I find sometimes (like today) I just feel totally socked in by worry. I worry about everything but mostly money. I hate not getting a paycheck right now. I hate having to rely to heavily on the Mr. Its not really my style. However, it is my reality. I suppose I shall just keep my snoot down as the Mr likes to say, and work hard, try not to kill anyone and get the house packed up. That is the best I can do so off I go....

Thursday, June 24, 2010

And The World Spins Madly On....

The Hubbs and I escaped to the woods a little over a week ago for a little camping trip with friends before my internship started. We packed (waaaaaaay too much shit into) the Jeep and tossed the dogs in on top and headed out of the rainy blah on this side of the mountains, to the sunshine and PERFECT weather on the other side. We spent the first night setting up camp and gathering wood and oh yeah, seeing a black bear and cub trying to cross the street! Eeep! It was a sight I won't soon forget. The momma came lumbering down out of the woods and saw us, turned tail and headed back up the embankment. Seconds later a 5oish lb cub comes tumbling down into the road, sees us, sees that his momma is already splitting in the other direction and follows her. G and I looked at each other and were dumb struck. "Duuhh, I thought you said there were no bear out here?". "Duuuh, I didn't think there were any." Thank you Steve Irwin!

We had a wonderful time with our friends G and C. They are recently engaged and planning a wedding for fall 2011. C is my kind of girlfriend. She is a little off beat and has a sly sense of humor. She and I fall just about equally on the apathy control freak scale of wedding planning which for me lately, has been just apathetic of center. Anyway, we both fret (very small scale) about things like our dresses and the food. She too is going the simple inexpensive dress route but still, like me wishes on some level to feel more beautiful than on any day of her life so far. I feel that! I am not even squeamish about it anymore. I love G and I am pumped to marry him! I want to look smokin' hot! Or AT LEAST feel really, really pretty.

On Thursday, G and I ran around the lake we were camped by (13 miles of trails!). It was a fun and staggeringly beautiful run. My shins couldn't even complain with the soft spongy trail beneath my feet. We took the young dog who did a great job on and off leash in the woods. I love taking her to the woods to run. It just makes her so happy.

On Friday, our other friends showed up expanding our merry little camp to 5 people and 3 dogs. It took a little time for the freak dogs to all settle down but soon it was a peaceable kingdom and the people were roasting sausages and drinking beer. It was so much fun. The next day I went for an accidental 9 mile run. I miscalculated my distances and my planned 6miler turned into a 9 miler. I did it. I just wondered why I was so dammed hungry. :)

The next few days were filled with failed attempts to fish, canoeing adventures, hikes to lost lakes, watching the dogs tear around by the shore some swimming and others doing everything in their power to "get" the other dog without having to get more than ankle deep. Every night was the same....The old dog would lay down on her bed facing the road on guard duty, the young dog would get very cold and end up either zipped into my jacket on her bed like a sleeping bag, or under a pile of towels and blankets like a living laundry pile. It was stinkin' cute.

On Monday everyone was packing up when The Hubbs received a text from his sis who requested he call as soon as he could. Lilsis does not generally call or text while we are away as she is freakishly respectful of our time together. (I know I said "freakishly" but I mean it in the most awestruck "nobody is as respectful of our time together as she is and we absolutely adore her for it" way). Needless to say he called her back as soon as he got the text. She informed us that we were going to have to move. AGAIN! Because our house was going to be put on the market. I say again, because we have only been in this house since November. We moved because the woman who owned our last place decided to move into it. We have not been here that long but I had imagined we would be here for a long time. I don't know why. We only signed a 9 month lease because she didn't want to end up with an empty house in the winter again...I just didn't think that it would mean we would have to move in the summer.

Anyway, I was mere nanoseconds from freaking out and spontaneously combusting when it occurred to me that I had a choice. I could freak out and cry and be generally miserable for an as yet to be determined period of time, or I could just chill my shit for five seconds, take some deep breaths, admit to myself that the last thing in the WORLD I wanted to do right now was find a new place to live, pack up all of our shit again and settle into a new house, and then I could realize how stressful this was going to be for my partner and best friend and I could rally a positive outlook and start brainstorming ways that this could be OK and good even. I could be a positive force and not just momentum. I could help him feel heard and seen and understood. I could do less freaking out and needing and more standing behind and supporting. Less MY way and more OUR way.

I am under no illusions that I am an easy woman to be married to. I am especially aware that this year sort of blows in sense that while we are trying to plan a wedding, settle into married life, and continue getting to know one another I went to paramedic school. I have been a giant money hole this year. I have been a huge financial burden and he has not said one word about it. He doesn't bitch or complain or point out that he is the money of this operation. He just holds up his end of the deal. ALL OF THE TIME! He does it so well and with no hint of resentment of the imbalance that I feel so strongly having never been the dependant in a relationship before. Anyway, I felt like the least I could do now would be to make a real effort to be an emotionally stable and even giving and supportive influence. I wanted to put his soul and heart in the black instead of the red this time.

We drove home from the mountains that afternoon, scrapping our plans for the second half of our vacation which included a trip to Bend and the High Desert Museum and a dinner date with a dear friend who just graduated from university. We felt like we had been punched in the gut. My wheels were spinning. Was there some way, any way that we could pool collective resources and *whispers* buy a house? That way, we would NEVER find ourselves in this shitty place again. We would never be at someone else's whim for a place to live. We could stop lighting hundreds of dollars on fire every month. The place would be ours to paint, ours to decorate, ours to repair and remodel. It would be OURS. The question remained...how would we put this all together? Could we do all of this in about 45 days? The wedding was in 90 days and we had a lot of people planning on staying with us for parts of the wedding weeks. I was also starting my internship (the work I am PAYING to do) 7p-7a four on four off for the next few months. What a cluster F%$#!

We called our moms. Yay moms! Over the next 4 hours (no joke people! 4 hours and these folks had it figured out!) Our families (all 3 of them) had lent support in various ways to make it possible for us to call a real estate agent and set up an appointment to look at houses two days later. And BAM! Just like that we were on our way to home owning.

Over the next few days we looked at a LOT of houses ourselves. We drove around peering in windows like a couple of perverts. We wrote down MLS numbers and emailed links to the parents. We wrote things of and underlined must-haves. When we finally met with Gail (the most amazing woman ever!) we had 7 houses to look at. This one was small, that one was a dump, this one had a horrible smell, that one a wet basement, this one was too much money, that one just wasn't "us". And then we stopped at Commercial St. A sweet little craftsman bungalow with a finished upstairs, a dry basement, a chicken coop and hardwood floors. (Sorry no pictures until it is ours for good. I am just superstitious) It was lovely and perfect and I wanted to move into it right now. I even like the color of paint on the walls. G agreed and so did Lilsis. We loved it. Gail told us to go home and talk about the houses we saw that day and to sleep on it.

We went home and decided to meet a buddy for a happy hour beer. A little while later we called Gail and asked to make an offer the next day. It was too good to pass up. It was in our price range, it was in our neighborhood area of choice, it was cute as shit! She agreed to meet us the next day to sign offer papers. We got drunk. I think there was even a shot of tequila from our buddy.

We met Gail at the house the next day and toured it and then another house in the same price range. The second house looked like the set of a horror movie. It smelled, it had frightening siding, the trim and floors were a total mess, there was tile and carpet in one of the upstairs bedrooms and the basement was horrifying. I wanted to cry. "OK, Uncle! We will make a competitive offer! The house is a good value! I can't see anymore!" Gail laughed at me. We signed the offer and she turned it in.

They countered and we countered their offer. We agreed on an offer that weekend, 5 days after receiving the letter from our current landlord. Two days later we met the inspector who found nothing majorly wrong with the house. Tomorrow the sewer will be scoped and the radon testing will happen. We will be back to negotiations by Monday or Tuesday. We want them to put in a new back door (one the mice can't get in through) and secure the electrical wires to the house. Minor things really. Fingers are crossed that the sewer doesn't have roots in it!

The Hubbs struggled a little getting in gear with all of this but as of today we have thrown out and recycled about three bins of shit we moved and never unpacked the FIRST time we moved together. We were packing and talking last night and he brought up something really interesting. As a culture, we associate much of our identity with place. Who we are is very closely linked to where we are from and where we live. Moving is a very unnerving process and lends itself to clinging behavior. Especially in our unattached youth. When you are leaving your parents or packing up at the end of university, you hold dear to every stuffed animal and ticket stub from every concert you saw with your buddies as a way to cement that you have a place. A way to be solid in such a groundless time as moving. Even as G and I moved into this house, there was so much uncertainty. It was mostly good but it wasn't any less unsettling to find ourselves moving. This time, the potential is so thick you can cut it with a knife. This will be the house we bring our family home to. Hopefully, this will be the house where they are born. It may also be the house they first come home to though and that is good too. I have the baby bug pretty bad right now and so that is largely how I project my future. I see myself making PB&J sandwiches at the kitchen counter and listening to G reading to our small people on the sofa in the living room. I picture us collecting eggs from our chickens in the backyard and planting veggies in the side yard. I see my life unfolding in that house. Because of all of that potential somehow I am ready to shake loose some of the clutter of my life up to now. I want to throw out those boxes of random shit. I want to send all of those clothes I haven't worn in forever to Goodwill. I want to streamline. I want to prune and make room for the new. It all seems very exciting to be "making ready" for our lives together in this way. Even if the small people don't arrive the way I dream or at all for some time. The house seems like the beginning of something new and wonderful. I need space for it to bloom.

Well, that is just about all the news fit to print. It may or may not be obvious that there are a few upcoming posts. Internship is awesome! I can't wait to start my memoirs of a baby medic. We had our "engagement" photos this week. As if we needed one more thing to worry about! It turned out to be a real blessing. It felt like the cap of a monumental week. It was nice even, to have someone telling me to smooch on The Hubbs. I also need to post about how much my mom rocks. She has just been a shooting star this week. I don't know what I would have done without her. Our moms are a pretty rad pair actually. G's mom is one of my favorite women in the whole world. I can't believe I scored so hard in the mother-in-law department.

Well, I have been running! I am running a half marathon on the 4th of July and I am feeling pretty darn optimistic! I think I am going to win this one! Haha! No really, I have done many more high mileage runs in prep for this run and I think it is going to be more fun than any of the other halves I have done in the last 2 years. I am excited. My body continues to change though not so much on the scale these days. I could eat less cheese and it is about time to go there in the final push for the wedding. However, I am happily trotting along eating what is good for me 80% of the time and getting lots of exercise. Life is crazy but life is good. I will keep posting as things keep unfolding.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Goodbye Old Friend

I went home to Maine this last week. The plan was to go celebrate my besty's graduation from Medical School (I think that deserved capital letters) and to visit my Mother. This trip was nothing like I anticipated when I bought the ticket a month ago. In fact, it became a perfect example of why we should not "plan" or write stories in our heads about what will happen or what the future will be like. That's not to say I don't plan ahead or think about future goals. On the contrary! I am a planning FOOL! What I am talking about is the planning we do when we say "Oh, it will be like this or like that. So and so will behave this way or it will feel like X when I see him or her". That sort of planning is what I have learned to call mental television. It is generally NOT how things end up going and I don't know about you all but I very often end up disappointed that things did not go the way I thought they would or should. As it pertains to this trip back East, I didn't think I would spend the time I did at my Mom's. I also didn't think we would be putting down the very best dog who ever lived. Cede has been my dog since I was about 10. She was my family dog, then she was MY dog as I moved into my first apartment. She was my constant companion. I would throw her in the truck and take her everywhere with me. She was a babysitter with Milo, she was a boat yard dog up in Rockland, she was a study buddy and a snuggle pal on cold, windy nights when the wind shook my rickety third floor apartment way up on Munjoy Hill. I remember nights when I would wake up startled by something and look bleary eyed into the shadows on the sofa in the other room only to create some axe murderer in my mind, sitting on the sofa, waiting for me to fall back to sleep. I would feel my heart pounding (ridiculously) in my chest and I would look over to the dog, asleep on the pillow next to me. Seeing that she sensed no danger and had not awoken to the same imagined horror that I had calmed me. I would stroke her silly ears until I fell back asleep.
Cede was smart and gentle with everyone. She was trained to walk next to me off leash on our morning romps along the Eastern Prom. She lived to be told that she was a good girl. She was also beautiful. She was a "white"Lab. Not a yellow or a blond lab but white. From birth to death she was the whitest lab with a black nose and black eyeliner on. She was stunning even in her gimpy old age.
I left Cede with my Mother when I moved out here because she had become ill and we were all sure that she wasn't long for the world and afraid that she might become acutely ill or even die if she were trucked across the country in a pick-up with no air conditioning in the middle of the summer. That was three years ago next week. She was taken VERY good care of by my Mother and her partner. My Dad was still living in town for most of the last three years and he took her when Mom needed a break or had to travel. As she aged we all became more and more afraid that "at any time now" it might be time. Well, Cede knew better and just lived and lived as happy go lucky as ever. She even traveled to summer camp with my mom last summer where she won hearts and soothed the homesick campers who came to see my mom in the Nurse's cabin called the "Health Hut". Cede was just what the doctor ordered. She was such a sweet thing that even the camp director couldn't get upset when she wandered into the dining hall and became so excited about begging for food that she took a poop right in the middle of the dining room and then looked back at it like "who did THAT?! That's gross!" The campers got quite a kick out of her.
Dad moved west several months ago and it has been all Mom and C taking care of the old girl. She had begun having more and more trouble getting around up and down the stairs. She was coughing and breathing heavily when it got hot and was deaf as a post. After many long hard conversations Mom decided that it might be time to put her down before she crossed the line from old and gimpy to suffering. We could ALL agree that we didn't want to see her get to the point that made you cringe and wish you had done it sooner. She was almost 17 and didn't owe us a day. We owed her EVERYTHING. My Mom had a friend who was a vet and had offered to come to the house and do it with us. Mom scheduled the appointment and we set to spoiling Cede rotten for the next week. It was a horribly bittersweet week. I vacillated between feeling numb and feeling like I was killing her. She was a lab and would honestly, look at you with that sweet happy face NO MATTER WHAT! She was just too sweet. But I could also see that she couldn't get around very well anymore and the things she loved most like swimming and car rides were not easy or comfortable for her any longer.
On Thursday Mom and I got up and took Cede to the beach. She mustered up all of her energy and swam and rolled like a little snow angel in the sand and low tide seaweed. We took her home and gave her a bath and cooked her a steak. Top sirloin and some of my chips and hummus. Then it was time for a nap and a cuddle in the sunshine on the lawn chair. Nellie came over late in the afternoon as the sun was working its way down the back yard. We talked about Cede and she told mom and I about her old yellow lab. I was horridly sad but somehow very comforted by Nellie's presence. I felt like she had her heart with us and was actively participating in loving Cede as we all were. We laied on the deck with her as she drifted off to sleep. Dreaming I hope, of steak and swimming and all the wonderful trips we took together. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done. Holding her head in my hands and crying onto her black nose while my Mother cried into her neck. But it will also be one of my strongest best memories. We did Cede justice. We loved her so much we let her go before she had to suffer and hurt. We did it together and we were able to think clearly and with enough love to give her the best day ever.
I could never have imagined the richness of the pain and the love I felt all tangled together that day. I get all weepy thinking about it. My heart breaks open when I think of her. She was here to teach us. She taught my family and especially my mother and I what it means to really love a creature. I will forever think of Cede as the world's best dog but it might be more accurate to think of her as my first unconditionally best friend. She insisted on loving me her way and teaching me things with her life from start to finish. I owe her the world.
I was initially angry with my Mom for planning this while I was there. I felt like it was a selfish thing and I was resentful that I was "being put through this" on my vacation. What a Bitch! Me...not my Mother. Mom did me the honor of being there to experience this with her. It has strengthened our relationship. We had to hold each other up through this. I understand now what a heavy mantle she had been holding up being the only one of the original family cast left to make the calls about this old dog who was the most loyal and loving creature but was also ruining her carpets and struggling to remember to pee outside. It was not hers to bear alone and I am glad I could help share it with her. It is no longer my place to think of myself as the child who should be sheltered from these things. I am a member of my family community and a being who shared everything with that dog. It was my duty, my right and my honor to help give her that day and send her to the next life knowing how much she was loved.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Going Home

Its official. In a month I am going home to Maine for an impromptu visit. If I could figure out how to post the pictures Rosebud sent me of the Otter I would show you and you would UNDERSTAND why I had to buy a plane ticket immediately. I am missing it. I am missing all of the important stuff. I am missing him learning to crawl and learning to talk. I missed him being little and snuggly. Now he is big and moving all over the place. By the time I get there he will be 10 months old and the pictures make it look like he is oh, so busy. I miss Rosebud too. I miss her like a breeze on a hot day. I miss her so much. I have had a lot of time to think about what she said to me and why. I have come to know that she said what she said because she loves me. She loved me enough to put it all on the line and tell me the truth about how she felt. That took a lot of love and some mighty big stones. Bigger than I have. I never told her that I don't love her husband and that I don't think he's good enough for her. I will never tell her that sometimes I think she has 4 sons. I will never say that because I love her and I see that she is happy and my saying that would only cause confusion. Not confusion of "Oh, did I choose the right partner or not?" Not "Did I make a huge mistake?" confusion. But confusion about my having her back and loving her unconditionally. There is enough disapproval in the world and in our families. There is enough doubt and struggle in everyday life without getting it from your best friend. It just shakes the bonds that hold your friendship together. It shook me. When she said "I just don't know if he is good enough for you". It broke my heart. I don't think I ever looked back after I decided that G was the one. Even when we had our rough spot this winter, I still knew to my bones that he was for me. The honest truth is that I cannot fathom living without him beside me. I know the world would keep turning and days would go by, I might even still have a happy life but it wouldn't be the same. Being with him is like wearing my favorite shirt everyday and never tiring of it. It always feels comfortable, it always fits just right, it always makes you feel like you look soooo good. That is what I feel like being married to the Hubbs. It is subtle but complete. I am better because he is here. So, even though my best friend doesn't see it yet, I don't need her to. I don't need anyone to honestly. It helps that I think my father really does, but even that isn't vital. I just know and that is enough. So, long story endless.....I am ready to go home. To sit and drink tea and hold the Otter. To watch him scramble around and to hear him laugh like a big boy. I am even ready to be around the Carpenter. And I will be grateful for every second I am there. I will feel blessed and fortunate. I will soak in the love I feel for all of them. I will walk by the ocean and let it tie knots in my hair. I will ride the ferry and look for beach glass with my mom or the Rosebud....I may even go by myself. I will practice just being with what is and being happy and still. I will pack my running shoes and run by the ocean...I can't wait.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Little update about becoming littler

I am not sure how it has happened as I have taken a week off of running and have been eating more than my fair share of bacon and bread but I am down 3 more pounds! I am now officially down 17lbs since the start of all of this nonsense in December! Hooray! Now, if I could only get my body in the groove! I went for a 3 mile run tonight and was battling pain the whole time. I was taking it easy and then I realized that when I was running up hill and pushing it I felt better. So I started running hard for one block and then regular for one block and it started to loosen things up. I can't understand why but I was feeling much better at the end of 3.
I have been seeing the dreamiest of acupuncturists and when I went in yesterday he showed me that the left upper arm links to the right upper leg. He put about a thousand needles in my upper arm and then did the usual in my legs and feet and set me to 'steep'. My arm was jumping all over the place. My leg felt all jumpy too. He said I might feel sore in my arm the next day but that was normal. Well I do feel sore in my arm today and my leg does not feel better but I am in it for the long haul and had such success with my shins and the needles that I will give it a month's worth of treatments before I make a decision. I go back the day after tomorrow....we shall see. In the mean time I drink my green tea and grin about my meager gains and losses....

Monday, April 19, 2010

The invites are coming! The invites are coming!

I am currently addressing and stickering about a zillion envelopes. I am feeling a lot of anxiety about it. Not about marrying the Hubbs but about pulling off the next 4 months. June to September is going to be the longest, fastest, most important stretch for me thus far (in life, the universe and everything). I just hope I can find ways to be present other than worrying. I heard that worrying is like praying for what you don't want....I don't want to do that. More sitting is required...Anyway, here are the invites. I think they are very sweet. I am proud to report that with the exception of the map envelopes (made from repurposed USGS maps and sold in bulk for a song), everything is from a local business. Pictures were taken at the local dive bar using a sharpie and some envelopes, the strips were printed at the local mom and pop print shop in St John ( Thank you Pilot Copy! ), the cards were acquired at a local printing press that does letter press. It continues to feel good and 'right' to use local, small, sustainable wherever possible. It is like the wedding is helping us warm up for the rest of our lives and living by the values we say we hold now. I like that feeling.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Of pulled quads and exhaustion

I have been sleeping a LOT this week. It has been really nice. I was almost concerned about it, for a moment yesterday, but it passed and I went back to sleep. I remember how it felt to sleep after coming off an OB course. I would be so wiped out I would sleep for 19, 20, 23 hours. I wouldn't even wake up to pee. I don't recognize that same level of exhaustion in my body and mind right now but looking at what I have been asking of myself for the last 6.5months I am not shocked to find myself willing and able to sleep for hours on end and days on end. The running is adding to that for sure but also is helping me sleep a restful, lower anxiety sleep where I awake feeling refreshed and calmer. In addition, I am sure my narcolepsy is partly a coping mechanism for the anxiety I am feeling about the summer. It seems that when I do a yoga class or try to meditate it doesn't take long before I am fighting with all my will to stay awake. My massage lady Barbara said she knows that when she hits spots of deeply held tension sometimes folks just fall asleep. It makes sense as a coping mechanism. Sleep is a very nice avoidance method. Anyway, I am not struggling with the sleep thing as I am sure I need it. I am sure it is serving multiple functions for me right now and above all else, other than the fact that my bedroom is a total disaster, there is nothing I love more than snuggling in with my Hubbs and taking a nap.

I am not sure I have written about this but I feel "older" for sure. I remember being able to slog through just about anything when I was younger. I could run or hike or sail as hard as I wanted and I would be sore the next day but not injured. I have never battled "injury" the way I am now and it is frustrating. I am feeling motivated and ready to rock but my body is not keeping up with the program. My thigh really hurt yesterday. It felt so sharp and icky that I was afraid it was a bone issue and not soft tissue. It really hurt to have Barbara hammer on me today but it was also refreshing and encouraging to feel tension in some of those places. Its like proof that I am working hard. Sick I know.

I have chilled a bit on the baby quest. I must have been ovulating or something. I am starting to see that there are things I am focused on accomplishing first and marathons I want to run, trips to Africa I want to take. Things that will be very different with a tiny person or three. I have time. I am not "putting it off" but rather I am taking full advantage of the time I have right now to make the most of my "non-mom" time before it is gone forever. I still want it so badly I can taste it and I can't wait to see the Hubbs experience little ones but it is no longer the ONLY thing I can taste. I am beginning to taste the sweetness of us being just an "US" right now.

I am still planning to write about my whole desire to change focus and pursue a career as a Labor and Delivery RN. I just haven't gotten to it and I am not sure I have totally processed it in my bean yet. I am trying, as much as possible to be clear when I "blog". I am aware that this is a totally self indulgent process but none the less, I hate reading utter rambling....ANYWAY, that remains on the horizon.

Fitness Log: Day 116
Total lbs lost 14
Miles run 143.5
My weight loss is stalled currently but I am continuing to see positive changes in my body shape so I am doing my best not to fret about the poundage.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Waiting for my real life to begin

Any minute now my ship is coming in
I'll keep checking the horizon
And I'll stand on the bow
And feel the waves come crashing
Come crashing down, down, down on me

And you said,"Be still, my love,
Open up your heart
Let the light shine in"
Don't you understand?
I already have a plan
I'm waiting for my real life to begin.

When I awoke today suddenly nothing happened
But in my dreams I slew the dragon
And down this beaten path
And up this cobbled lane
I'm walking in my own footsteps once again.

And you say,"Just be here now
Forget about the past
Your mask is wearing thin"
Let me throw one more dice
I know that I can win
I'm waiting for my real life to begin.

This is a very fitting song at the moment. I am waiting for my "real life" to begin. I am waiting to know where my internship will take me. I am waiting to test and waiting to get hired. I am waiting to throw a wedding. I am waiting to be thinner. I am waiting to apply for nursing school and to become a mother. I spend too much of my time waiting. I am actively trying to spend more time "being here now" and "forgetting about the past", as well as "letting the light shine in". I am happy beneath all of my impatience and anxiety. I have such a fortunate life. I am in love with my husband and his family almost as much as my own. Yet, I feel there is this huge pause.....right now. It sucks to feel trapped and like nothing is quite right when I know that everything is as it should be. I am pretty sure it is a lack of meditation exacerbating my foggy awareness of the "is-ness" of it all. I am just so ready and so excited for it all. It is hard to sit still. Sometimes I feel like the picture above...like I am sitting behind a curtain until I finish my spelling homework and my vegetables.

Speaking of veggies...The Hubbs and I are getting a farm share with friends this summer. It will come from an Organic farm on a little island just outside of town. Each week, for 30 weeks, we will get fresh veggies and eggs from the farm. We will get potatoes, kale, salad greens, tomatoes, cukes, squash, corn, broccoli, and a host of other yummy things from the earth. I am really looking forward to the challenge of incorporating new veggies into our cooking routine. It will be my 3rd summer of Community Supported Agriculture (check out http://www.sauvieislandorganics.com/). I am a huge fan of the idea of buying a share of the bounty of a local farm as a way to help 1.Pay the real cost of my food 2. support local small business and agriculture. We are sharing the share with our friends GW and KJ who are also in the wedding planning process and medical field. She is an RN and he is a RAT medic like the Hubbs. They are awesome. I wasn't sure if she and I were going to get along just because she seemed very "wholesome" and I got a vibe that made me wonder. Well boy, was I wrong! She is so funny and so cool. I love spending time with the two of them. They are quickly becoming our closest "couple" friends in town. It is nice that we live so close and have common interests (as well as senses of humor)I am beginning to feel like we are building our community here in NOPO and it makes me feel very "grown up" and happy.

My running is going really well. The hubbs and I went to the woods last week and ran ten miles. It is the first ten miler since I broke my foot at Seattle. It was hard. The first 3 were great. The next 2 were a little hard. Miles 6-7 were good. Mile 8 ok. Mile 9-9.75 SUCKED! I walked a lot. I was so done. I wanted to be teleported to the car. I wanted down hill and no more mud. I was toast. The last .25mile I flew. It was downhill and lovely. I cranked out everything I had. It felt good. Later that night we went to see the Waillin' Jennys in concert and then met friends for drinks at a swanky cocktail bar downtown. We followed it up by splitting a pulled pork sandwich from the food cart kingdom in the hubbs' old neighborhood. It was AWESOME. The next day I was sore. Aching all over, dear GOD who walks down STAIRS!!???!! My back ached and my R leg is inexplicably painful at the strangest of times. I was a little concerned about running Eugene in oh 3 weeks. So Friday I rested and went to acupuncture and then work that night. Saturday morning I laced up and hit the streets to run home. It wasn't the best run ever. In fact, I felt very fatigued but not all together surprised to be feeling that way. When I got home I did some simple yoga videos off of youtube before dying in my bed. I woke up feeling shockingly good! I am still feeling a little beat up at the end of this LONG night, but it all seems manageable. I am apprehensive but hopeful about this coming Tuesday as well. I have another crack at a ten. Between now and then I am going to run my 3.5miles home this morning, do my simple yoga, have breakfast with my in-laws, sleep with the hubbs for a few precious hours and get up and hit a yoga class. I think adding yoga to my weekly routine will help build strength where I need it and foster some awareness and calm in my mind as well as my body. Why does it seem like it was so much easier to just grit my way through this "distance runner" thing when I was 17? It is a struggle and a joy to be getting to know my body again through running and endurance training. I am learning how to listen and accommodate

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

So..Yeah, That Just Happened...

This was a scary week. I had my annual exam with my new Midwife on Monday and she found a lump in my left breast. It felt a lot like every other lump in there except it was a little bigger and "funny" on the edges. She told me not to panic but that she wanted to refer me to the breast health center for an ultrasound just to be sure it was nothing. I left the office feeling like a stunned bird who had just flown into a window. I did not see that coming.

In every way I loved this midwifery practice. The woman I saw was just like my mom in her "way" with patients. There was a feeling that finally, I had found someone who would be with me, the way I had always seen my Mother with women. I was instantly very comfortable with her. Then....she did my exam and told me all of this. My mind reeled. I had felt lumps and had written them off as "boob fat lumps". I heard my mom rolling her eyes at twenty-one year-old me saying "it's nothing, you're such a hypochondriac. She told me that "of course, everyone thinks the big C when they hear lump" but she didn't want to freak me out she just wanted to be sure.

She took my blood pressure which was now soundly elevated to about 165/83, did my bi manual exam (always a treat) and then we talked a little more about my health history. I told her yes, I would like to get pregnant in the next two years and I was trying to lose a little weight. She noted that it would be best for me and my fertility to shed some pounds and suggested the high blood pressure diet. Ahhrg! I don't have high blood pressure. My cardiovascular system is in fantastic health. I can run forever! I am over my ideal weight and under the most incredible pressure I have ever felt in my life to "get everything right" right now. Also, I don't sleep normal people hours and I work in a place where people are dead/dying, faking/drug seeking. insane/off of their medications, pregnant and bleeding/miscarrying, or disconnected from the health care system and are using us as a primary care facility. It is HARD to be there and in a job where you get to do very little to make any sort of immediate or long term impact. I am not in a job where I might get a save or make an important call tonight, tomorrow or three days from now. I fetch blankets, dip urine, move people to ultrasound, chart on the broken and dying, occasionally, I do some chest compressions but a trained monkey could fill my slot with very little effort. Sometimes waiting for my job to "mean more" takes a toll. Anyway, all of that plus a fucking lump in my breast is enough to get a girl's BP up. It's not because I am fat. I am pretty sure of that.

So, I left the office in a foggy haze. I kept thinking that I wished I was walking out of there with the happy news that I was pregnant instead of the news of a lump. Wrong kind of lump I thought over and over again. Wrong damned lump! I got in the car and called my mom. I cried and cried. I told her everything expecting that she would give me some sort of "this is nothing" schpeel. Her words were "well how scary is that?" I replied through sobs that it was pretty f-ing scary. I felt so far away from her. So far away from my dad. Shit I even missed The Hubbs mom. I wanted anyone parental around me. I felt like if one of them were there there would be no way some big scary grown-up disease could grow in my body. I knew the odds of this lump being nothing were very very high. I also know that every young woman who has fought breast cancer at a tender age had the exact same odds and there is nothing special about me that should make me any different. Odds are just that, odds.

I got home and the Hubbs was asleep after working the night before. I told him they found a lump in my left breast and he said "oh honey, I'm sorry" and fell back asleep. I didn't begrudge him this at all. I know what REM sleep is all about and I knew that him waking up at that moment wasn't going to change anything. I called the specialist's office and made an appointment for Wednesday. Then I got ready to go to my clinical rotation. That night I was in Labor and Delivery. It felt like some kind of fucked up providence that I would be going to watch women have babies. Warped, I know. Anyway, I went and I observed and it was as miraculous and wonderful as always. I know that sounds dry and devoid of true emotion but my experience in L&D is the subject of a whole nother post on many things including the deep emotions I feel towards women in labor.

The next two days were mostly a big blur. Wednesday came and I got up and ready for my appointment. I walked into an office and filled out some papers with a graphical drawing of two breasts asking me to mark the target area. It felt like target shooting. Next a woman called out "Mrs Melnick?" That was the first time anyone had called me that other than jokingly. Again, wrong fucking ultrasound....Wrong wrong wrong. I went into a changing room that looked like a very fancy fitting room at a department store. I put on this strange cape and a robe and left my pants and shoes on. I was lead to a small room where the Hubbs was waiting for me. A very nice French woman put hot jelly on Lefty and smoshed around for a while. She reported that she didn't see anything concerning but the doctor was in the next room over and she was going to have him come talk to me and have a look. I was half-way to relief. The doctor came is and brought with him a young man about my own age who was a radiology resident. They both took a look at Lefty and there was more poking and now cold jelly. It felt strange to lay on a table with one breast hanging out talking about how I don't have menstrual cycles anymore. Very foreign. He didn't find anything concerning. The lump was a collection of glands and fatty breast tissue. It was normal. I was fine.

I felt happy and exhausted walking out of the office. I decided to scrap the day of school and went home to fall fast asleep in my husband's arms. Sweet sleep of relief. I called my parents and told them to sound the all clear. I was lucky. Barb, Irene and millions of other women are not so lucky. I feel lucky. I will do whatever I need to to loose the pre-baby weight, to stay healthy, to love my own body, to lower my goddamnned blood pressure. I have tasted the fear of illness and I am not ready to fight through it yet. I am not ready to wage that war even with the hubbs at my side. And BOY let me tell you he was at my side.

When I started panicking about the what ifs he didn't tell me I was crazy, when I started fretting that this might mean no babies, no breasts, no...anything...he didn't try to convince me that it was insane. He held me and told me he was sorry I was sad and frightened but that he wasn't yet. He told me he has never doubted that we will have many fat, healthy babies and live a long time together watching them grow up and watching their fat healthy babies grow up as well. He wins! Shit, I win. I married that man. I love him so for all the things he said and didn't say, for calmly going to the appointment with me and for thinking that the most awkward part of the whole day was when the doctor walked in while he was kissing my arm. I love him.

So, the moral of the story is that I don't have the big 'C', I am refocusing my efforts to relax, slim down, get healthy. I went for an 8 mile run with the Hubbs and the young dog today. It was good. I was tired but it was do-able. We had a great conversation about babies and the Hubbs has humored me with the loose goal of Christmas 2011 as the IUD pulling target. I just have to lose the weight and get hired, through orientation, and squirrel away some cash to pay for a home birth.

Midwives, home births, labor and delivery, and nursing school are all topics for near future posts. For tonight I am just thankful to have 2 strong feet, attached to 2 strong legs, 2 lumpy yet, healthy breasts, and the sweetest, strongest, toughest and most compassionate husband ever. And that is more than enough.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The lyrics to an Ingrid Michaelson song seem to sum me up right now.

I don't believe in anything but myself
I don't believe in anything but myself
But then you opened up a door
You opened up a door
Now I start to believe in something else

But how do I know if I'll make it through?
How do I know? Where's the proof in you?

And so it goes, this soldier knows
The battle with the heart isn't easily won

And so it goes, this soldier knows
The battle with the heart isn't easily won
But it can be won.

I sit in the back of a bus watching the world grow old
Watching the world go by all by myself
I took a faith full leap and packed up all my things and all my love
And gave it to somebody else

But how do I know if I'll make it through?
How do I know? Where's the proof in you?

And so it goes, this soldier knows
The battle with the heart isn't easily won

And so it goes, this soldier knows
The battle with the heart isn't easily won
But it can be won.

I am not sure what the battle with my heart is right now but it is an unceasing battle. I feel sometimes like I am on the other side of a window watching everyone have a wonderful time. On the other side of the window the world is in color and the sounds are clear and vibrant. On my side of the window things are dingy and muted and my ears feel like they are stuffed with cotton. I feel like I have been drugged. I am slow and clumsy. I don't respond to things the way I used to. People around me are getting excited about things and I am sinking. I want so badly to be getting excited about internship and the wedding and everything beyond that but right now all I feel is frightened. I am frightened all the time. I feel like I walk around startled and sleepy all the time. I feel like shit. I feel like a shitty wife, a shitty sister, a shitty daughter, a shitty student, a shitty friend. I want to be excited but I feel like if I move too quickly I will shatter into a million pieces and I just can't spare the pieces. What is this? Where does this come from? When will it pass? I am not "depressed" as I am still so able to see the colors and appreciate all the good fortune in my life. I am fundamentally happy. I just can't reach it right now. It is so far away, on the other side of the glass.

I want to be here. I want to be present and awake. I am not. I am tired and scared. I am not available to G and I know he feels it. We went away on vacation and had a really nice time but I was off. I don't know where. I was just feeling disconnected and I had no idea how to tell him I felt like there had been an invasion of the body snatchers. I felt awkward and anxious in my own skin and I know it came off as irritated or uncomfortable with him. It was breaking my heart but I couldn't get ahead of it. I am just so ready to have my own mind and life back. I am ready to be the sunny, cheerful woman I self-identify with. I am ready to feel like myself again.

Anyway, right now running seems to be the only thing I am able to do without trauma or feeling upset. I am going to see an acupuncturist to help with the stress and the physical aches and pains of increasing my training. I feel like if I can just keep running I'll be OK. I do believe in myself. I just need to learn how to believe in myself with somebody else. I need to learn how to believe in this new incarnation of myself. That is not easily done. It is lucky I have G by my side to help hold my hand when things get scary.

What The Hell is Wrong With Me?

I have had the good fortune to vacation with my husband at a beautiful hot spring utopia in the woods of Oregon. We went for a beautiful and quite successful long run. We soaked and walked and napped and generally hung out on the beautiful grounds of this peaceful place. I am still on break from the most stressful year ever....I don't have to go back to work until tomorrow night. Yet, here I am....I am cranky and petulant and bitching at my darling husband in my head over stupid shit. Selfish shit. No good reason to be bent out of shape shit. He isn't doing anything wrong. He is loving and patient and silly and most importantly he is not taking my mood personally. We are supposed to be sending out our wedding invites today and I am SOOOO not in the mood. I am not in the mood for anything. I am cranky and wishing I had all the freedom in the world to run to the airport and take the next plane leaving for Kathmandu. I feel spring fever amplified to life fever right now. I am quite certain it is not about The Hubbs or about anything but the general undercurrent of hard all around me right now. This too shall pass. I just wish my timing didn't suck so much right now.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Things I Am Not

I am not a straight A student this time around.
I am not yet completely ready to be someones mother.
I am not ready to be a full grown paramedic.
I am not ready to think about how big my school loans are now.
I am not ready to stop working yet.
I am not ready to give up cheese.
I am not quite ready to rock my wedding dress. (see above).
I am not over getting B's this term. (But I have stopped crying and have almost stopped beating myself up for it)
I am not ready to forgive my shit head brother.
I am not ready to write off my shit head brother.
I am not ready for my sweet old dog to pass.
I am missing the ocean and the old days of being on it 7 months a year.

All of that said....I AM several things right now too.

I am on spring break.
I am so very in love with my husband.
I am becoming stronger everyday.
I am loving running more every spin out.
I am ready to leave town for a few days.
I am ready to see my Dad and Kathleen in their new place.
I am ready to have my mom live a LOT closer.
I am ready to see my family.
I am ready to know where I will be spending the summer interning.
I am ready for a new ipod.
I am ready to start a garden.
I am ready to sleep under the stars for the first time this year.
I am ready to learn to climb a mountain.
I am still excited about becoming a medic
I am looking forward to each day with this strange mix of wonder and anticipation that comes from loving my life in a pretty profound way right now ups and downs included.

So, there you have it. The shit, the grit and the great stuff. All in a list.

Running had been going really well. I will hit a 20 mile week this week if my shinsplints don't bring me down.
The back fat is slowly receding.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Almost Over

I am thinking of having these made for my parents. I got a FUCKING B+ in EKG2 this term. I suspect I will be seeing the same thing in pharmacology this term. I am so disappointed. I feel like I let myself down. One point! One god damned point! I know that if I had put in a little more effort I could have done it. I worked my ass off last term and finals were trying but they were not this hard. I just feel like a failure. I am here to get A's. I need them to move on to graduate school. I am so disappointed in myself. I wonder what the hell my problem is. Is it that I am not smart enough or that I don't want it badly enough? What the hell is going to happen to me? I feel like a mess. I feel like I am letting G down. He signed on to help me get a's so that I could go to PA school. I am not holding up my end of the bargain. I am having flashbacks to all the times I disappointed myself in my undergrad. I could talk myself into not doing anything. This time I have tried. I have made school almost my entire life. Last term, it was almost at the cost of my pending engagement. This term I tried to find some sort of balance and I got at least one B. if there had been lab grades there would be a lot of B's. FUCK FUCK FUCK! I am so upset. Like a heartbroken teenage girl. I just want to die. I am totally freaked out. I need to be one of the best. I am not saying this out of vanity or out of some type A motivation to be the best. I am saying this because I have been so average my whole life and average isn't going to work. Average got me rejected from eight PA programs a year and a half ago. I have tried and I have asked and I have been told that this is my best bet and I think I blew it. I feel like laying down and dying. I just hope I find a way to pick myself up and dust myself off so that I can rally for the next term. I have come too far and asked too much of those who love me to continue to fuck up. I really wish Rosie would call me back. I miss having a friend who knew me like she did. I don't need to be convinced that I am over reacting or that it's not the end of the world. I need someone to say they are sorry I feel so sad and that they love me anyway and things will look a little better in a little while. I feel so sad.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Can relief and dissappointment be coemergent?

I went on my run today and felt like crap. I could easily have been that it was blowing stink and raining and cold. My legs burned, my lungs felt tired and I wanted to stop the whole time. It was by all measures a sucky run. The good news was that I was meeting a friend to study and I was meeting her at the other end of my 4.5mi run. It meant I had to keep going. My keys and my phone were in my bag which was at the coffee shop. I survived my run and even managed to run more than I walked. I sat at the shop studying all day full of snot and sneezing and my body felt strange. My breasts hurt and I felt all weepy and anxious and strange. I couldn't put my finger on it but it has been going on for days now. Its a little insane actually as the weight loss had been reflected in the bra as well until last week when they seemed to double in size overnight and became achy. The real shit of the whole thing is that I have an IUD and thus, should not be getting pregnant according to the statistics as well as the shear infrequency of our sex life. It shouldn't be possible to get pregnant on once a week sex. That should be my pay off for not getting to see my husband more than one night a week. That one night should be risk free. Anyway, what I am saying is that I don't have the luxury (?) of periods to mark my non-pregnant state with the IUD so things are a lot less concrete than they were before. They are a lot better without the monthly exhaustion and cramping and bleeding and all of that glory, but it leaves things open for interpretation or speculation. I have a healthy stock of home pregnancy tests and take one every few months or so just to be sure or if I have a feeling or a scary dream...I'm insane I know!

Anyway, I am trying to say that I thought I was pregnant today. I just thought I should take a test anyway because I didn't feel right. I took a test as soon as I got home today and it is supposed to show a blue "control" line no matter what and a pink line if I was pregnant. This particular one showed the blue line and then the whole background turned pink. No pink line just all pink background. What the fuck does all pink mean!? Beyond that what the fuck am I going to do if I take another one and I am pregnant? I can't get pregnant right now. I really can't. I am about to quit my job for the summer for my internship and live completely off of Garth's support. I am having a WEDDING in SEPTEMBER! Oh my god! What the hell am I going to do? At the same time I got excited. Really excited about the thought of watching my body change and meeting a new little soul who is part G and part me, watching G become a dad and become comfortable with a tiny person who would grow into a little person and then a big person. I just can't wait for the day when we get to do all of that together. Now back to reality where I say NO NO NO NO! That is not my plan. My plan was/is to graduate and wait another 18months before even starting to try. That would put me about 2 years out from right now. That would hopefully get me enough time to have established myself at a job and in the field a little bit. I would be ready. I would be in the perfect time frame and age of 29. Ok, Ok, long story endless as my friend says...I peed again 40min later (damned bladder!)....and I am NOT pregnant. It was a relief...and a disappointment. I am not so secretly afraid that I won't be able to get pregnant. I sort of convinced myself that if I were pregnant, even if the timing sucks beyond sucks, it would mean I CAN get pregnant. I know that G would be wonderful and amazing if I had peed a tiny pink line. I know also that he was relieved to hear me say I am not. He is the most wonderful person I could have ever dared dream marry. He wants kids as badly as I do but we have a plan. We have a schedule for this stuff so we can keep moving towards what we both say we want in life both independently and together. I love our plan and am happy to not have to adjust everything to accommodate a little person right now but I was a little disappointed. I won't lie. So, with that, I will do a little yoga and head to bed.