Changing jobs can be a strange experience when you stretch yourself and try something different. We all have a comfort zone and when you step outside it the anxiety it produces can be intense. Recently I switched from a floor position to one in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit-SICU. The health profession loves our acroynms you know. HTN, CHF, FOG, FOS, WOB, SOB, CVVHD, CRRT, blahblahblah.
The gear shift required for this position is one that is hard for me working for so long with people, whom for the most part, are getting better and on their way home or to rehab. Now, my patients might die, actively trying to die while their families watch them helpless to persuade their bodies to keep going, hang on a little longer-have an opportunity to turn it all around and get well.
I hugged my first family member last week and I felt so funny about it. I have hugged people goodbye and hello before in my old position but not in this capacity. Who knows if someone wants a stranger to hug them? Does it help? Does it make it any better? It makes me realize how limiting our care can be for someone who is just really really sick to begin with and then have no reserves to overcome a more critical event like emergency surgery or trauma.
I watch patients sit in their beds with no visitors, with visitors who harm more then help, watch families struggle with the fact that they may hate that family member because of all the shitty things they did or wonderful things they did not do in their lifetime realizing that they can get any time back. This might be the end and the end is only regret and guilt.
Last friday was my mom’s birthday and she would have been 68 years old. My kids are 10 and 13 and have never known her. I am not known as a mama to my mama. I am without that parent to call and exuberantly brag or complain. So much regret.
I appreciated all the nurses who cared for my mom. The amazing doctors who did everything they could. I am sorry my mom was so pissed she was dying and I hope, where ever she may be she knows that it doesn’t matter now. All of the things that went before because despite every single thing-I know she loved me.
Isn’t that the only thing we can hope for in life-that someone loves us enough to miss us when we are gone?
Sassy eye rolling and endless complaints mixed with clingy hugs and kisses. One minute they are holding my hand and the next they are storming away muttering things I don’t want to hear anyway. While I realize this song and dance complete with jazz hands is just the prologue to a future filled with push and pull of maturity it still tucking hurts.
It hurts because its confusing and exhausting. It hurts because its like a slowly pulled bandaid on a tender road rash. I feel bruised and raw unprepared for their evolving journey into independence.
Its blurry and just makes me want to go to sleep and go back in time to soft cheeks and small feet.
The first day of school is always so exciting and fun but this year feels a little different. Spawn enters 8th grade this year and despite his armpit hair, deep voice, zits and surly attitude it seems impossible that the uncooked wee chicken I held on the day of his birth is the mostly manly boy who stands before me. There are certain times where the fast forward button seems to be stuck and some sort of special effect is in play to change the small, weird, funny and affectionate little man in to the large, weird, funny and affectionate young man who asks me in too deep a voice if he can have a popsicle.
Our boy’s changes felt like they were never going happen because he grew so dang slowly for the longest dang time. He was always little and at times his littleness stuck out as everyone else shot up and out around him. He is average now which seems enormous. His feet have grown at a phenomenal rate and they have been bigger than mine for over a year now. He is a teenager, officially.
Spawn’s changes keep overshadowing the physical and emotional changes in his sister, 3 years his junior because we expect her to change. Our chica has been a marvel at advanced behavior and growth her entire life and I take it for granted. Luckily for her and for me she is excited by her body changes and giggles about her boobs starting to grow and is fascinated by her older BFF’s body changes and not especially scared of them as I was at her age. I would like to think that it’s because I talk to her about them constantly-hazzard of being a nurse I think-so she feels prepared for what happens. Our girl has more inner turmoil going on and frets constantly about what will happen to her when she dies, what else is out there, what is reality and was is just a dream and how do we know what is real and what matters because we don’t believe in god.
First day of school and all I can really think about is how they are closer and closer to walking away from me into their own grown up lives.
I may have to turn to drugs and alcohol to cope. Or go crazy with longing and love. No one tells you when you sign up for this that you would all the time feel like you are teetering between the urge to push them away and the desire to hold them so tightly.
With my feet on the air and my head on the ground I accept the sleep deprivation that come from having a sick child. You think after 13 years that it will go away and you can sleep through the night regardless of illness except for puking but no, small hands with bed head hair stand in underpants outside my door.
I feel less powerless in my powerlessness as they get older as I can reasonably tell them I can’t make anything go away and especially at 230am. Luckily I can convince them to try to live through it as our alternatives are the emergency room or I can kill them and put them out of their misery. They usually choose going back to bed.
After periods of being able to do whatever I want I feel offended and constrained by the promise of fixing it all in the morning. Doctor visits, co-pays, medication I have to remember to give and other activities that will have to be canceled is exhausting to arrange.
And i am already exhausted from being awakened at 230am by small people who need me. So, I feel lucky and pissy and that seems about right.
There is just too much going on in our household. Chica is getting boobs and a waist. Spawn has so much leg and underarm hair. Our bathroom smells moldy. I am changing jobs. Spouse is making goats. There is an endless stream of crap all over our coffee table. The cats have fleas. The dog won’t stop biting his ass. It’s hot. It’s muggy. The kids are NOT in school and the summer is just going by too fast.
Every year at some point since the kids each turned about 5 years old there is this fast forward button that seems to be pressed and I just don’t know where all the time goes, what we should be doing and how I am supposed to manage it all. Too many changes, too much that makes me feel like I have no idea what to do.
I look at older adults, strangers around my town and resist the urge to constantly ask them how to manage it all? How did you survive and seem so dang happy now? Change is exciting and fun mostly but I find myself wanting do-overs for most things. I try to practice my yoga-be-present-in-the-moment thing but it just doesn’t work the way I think it should.
When do you reach the age where you feel like you aren’t going to keel over from the weight of all this adulthood?
Anyone, anyone? Buehler?
Sunday marked our 22nd anniversary. We were 21 and 22 when we met and moved in together. Neither of us really felt anything much changed when we got married and I just count the date from when we met because-we have never not lived together and how is the piece of paper obtained in Martha’s Vineyard make us any more together? It doesn’t, so whatevs.
22 years is a really long time and I can say honestly that I can’t believe it has been that much time. Like, smacking my forehead as in I coulda had a V-8 style. I mean, we have owned 3 houses, have lived in two states, had two children, have finished school, people have died, other people have gotten married that were children when we first met-you know, the whole life thing has gone on.
Some days it is a glory to behold-our love. And some days I can’t believe I haven’t run away yet. Or killed him. Or myself. Or the children.
Everyday that THAT does not happen feel like I am winning this marriage/family/children/life bullshit.
One point for me, since we all still live and no one is in jail.
I know that doesn’t seem romantic but romance is for amateurs. We are pro’s at this living together shit. I want love and laughter and for the most part, there has been lots of that.
Walking the dog in the twilight hours in this late spring burgeoning summer season with the inky blue sky gradually lit by far away stars I wonder how I can stick right here on earth. I understand the rudiments of gravity, feel its invisible force upon me sticking my feet to the earth.
I feel like a cactus in the middle of a desert standing still, dew forming and burning away as the sun rises, birds perch precariously on my spines, feeling the wind whip around me, rooted to the spot.
Otherwise I am a stone in the middle of the creek, sticks pushing up against me resisting the rush of water, leaves resting on me, fish hiding behind my edges and then swimming on.
Possibly I am a bird with short wings that allow me only to fly short distances like a fat turkey who can get more quickly across the road if I were to just wobble across rather than flinging upward and forward with effort and air.
We don’t feel the earth spinning and that is a blessing as the life you live on earth shouldn’t be one where you have to squeeze your eyes shut to keep from throwing up. The earth turns around in space with all of us on it and it is wonderful with your eyes open, staring at the stars.