Thursday, December 17, 2015

Do you see what I see?

How is it that Christmas this year crept up so fast??!!
I mean, it's next week.
Hailee told me this morning as I was waking her up (in her sleepy little voice), "Mom, Christmas is in 8 days".
Yes, yes it is.
And I vow right now to start preparing for next Christmas this coming summer.
Because ain't NOBODY got time for this mad rush here at the end of the season.

So, I've  been working as a hospice nurse for a little over a year now.
And multiple times throughout the year, I've said, "I can't even."


But I can.

It's hard.

but Oh, so rewarding.
I'm doing exactly what I'm supposed to be doing at this point in my life.

I've learned so much about dying, death, faith, family...
Kinda morbid, but such a HUGE part of life, nonetheless.
It all comes full circle as it winds down to the last days someone spends on this earth.
And though not all the time, but sometimes, patients see people that we can't see at or near the very end.
And I can't see what they see, but I know they can.
And it gives me chills EVERY TIME someone tells me they see someone or talk to someone that's not there. That will never get old to me.
And it gives them peace - that they're not doing this whole "death" thing alone.
Because from what I've seen, some people hold on to life so tightly because they're scared of what comes next.
"When will it happen?"
"How much time is left?"
"Will it hurt?"
"Because I don't want it to hurt."

I can't answer these questions.
No one can.

And some people hold on because of worry.
"What will happen to my loved ones? I've always been the one to take care of them."
And there's terminal agitation, restlessness, and other signs that may indicate the end of life is near.

We look for signs.
We listen to symptoms.
We comfort the hurts.
We (try to) manage the pain.
Death has it's own game plan and it's different for everyone.
It's not conventional.
It's personal, it's unique.
It's not always how we imagine it will be but it's a part of everyone's story.
and it's final for our time on this earth.

Working in hospice really puts so much in perspective.
It's definitely not a 9-5 job.
Because people.
This is where my heart is.

and if they tell you they see someone that you can't, it's OK.


Monday, October 5, 2015

it's not over yet.

Saturday - October 3, 2015..
Happy Birthday to MEEE!!!
The big 34!
SINCE we knew there was going to be some weather stuff going on with Hurricane Joaquin and some special front/pressure system that was supposed to mix things up for our area, Roger and I went out Friday night so we could be good and hunkered down Saturday and Sunday.
Mom and dad kept Hailee.
She had a ball, of course..
So did we.




Clearly, from the look on Roger's face.

Then,

Sunday - October 4, 2015
No one was prepared for this.

All of the weather meteorologists had a feeling something catastrophic was going to go down with all the indications and weather patterns (I love me some doppler radar, but I'm no meteorologist...).
It rained.
and it rained.
and rained.
(And its been slightly raining all day today too. We've had dry times but it hasn't completely stopped yet)
it was 6:30 am Sunday morning and I couldn't sleep just thinking about everything.

So I turned on the TV.

Joaquin was heading back  out to sea but Charleston was flooding from all the rain coming in from the 2 weather systems wedged in place.
It was like a faucet had opened up and it was pouring water into the midlands.
Like several inches per hour.
Fast.

We had no idea what to expect.
The news coverage was 24 hours straight.
Dams were breaking.
Rivers were breaching their banks.
Homes were flooding.
People were trapped in cars.
People needed to be rescued from cars and homes.
Bridges and roads were crumbling.

Hailee didn't understand why we needed to watch the news constantly and not pay her any attention.
She doesn't get it.
She's 6.
I wonder how much of this she will actually remember.
Because she knew we were safe.
We were okay.
Even though so many others are not..

You have probably seen the pictures.
I stayed in my home.
Where it was dry, warm, safe.

People were losing electricity.
Water lines were bursting.
The water outside wasn't safe.
The water inside wasn't safe.
People were still trying to drive around amidst the horrific flooding.

County wide curfews were issued.
First Responders worked tirelessly day and night, trying to rescue and make sure everyone was safe.
911 calls were completely backed up.
People that worked in the hospitals had to stay there, not leaving, sleeping and keep on working.
(I was there last year during the huge winter storm, I know..)

The Governor closed all Schools and government offices Monday.
We were in a state of emergency.
OPCON 1.
Full fledged emergency.
Emergencies that disaster personnel prepare for.
Drill for and train for.
Everyone was urged to stay indoors.
Huge interstates have been shut down.
Back roads have been completely broken up.
Our ground and soil was not ready for this.

A thousand year event.
Devastating rainfall.

Just watching the news was heartbreaking.
Not even 10 miles away, people were losing everything they had.
We never so much as had a big puddle on our street through this whole thing.
And peoples homes are destroyed.
Not even 25 miles away stores and businesses and streets were under water.
Buildings were crumbling.

And it's not over yet.
All the rivers haven't even crested yet.
Just a few hours ago, there was another mandatory evacuation like 25 miles from where we live.
Another dam had been breached.
More lives were in danger.

So far, I think I read there have been 5 weather related casualties.
And it's not over yet.

People are going to have to start going back to work.
Cleaning up.
Reorganizing chaos.

Hailee's school is out again Tuesday (tomorrow).
Some of the schools are serving as temporary shelters for those displaced.
I don't know how many have officially been put out of their homes, but any number is a bad number.


I cannot even imagine.
Losing everything.

We still have a warm, dry home.
Groceries in the fridge that I can make meals.
Clothes.
Beds, bathrooms, running water, electricity...
A car that wasn't damaged from flood water..
Clean water.

But that can change instantaneously.
And it's not over yet.

Praying for all that have lost and for all we have yet to face.
Roger and I are going to try to work tomorrow.
I have patients to see whom I've been worrying about all weekend long.
Patients who I cannot even get to because all of the bridges leading into Columbia have been shut down.
Hopefully they will be open soon.
And I'll see my Lexington peeps tomorrow if the roads are clear.
Grandparents are on the stand-by in case Roger has to go rush out to plumbing problems (which I'm sure there will be many).

So, so thankful for all we have during this sad time.






Saturday, September 26, 2015

Gat DAWG!!

(said in the true southern dialect as my father)

Why yes, yes it has been almost 4 months since I've been able to think up something to write on here.

I hate summer.

Like, I love my state and all, don't get me wrong, I'm 100% South Carolina, but
dang.
Humidity + so so many hot hot days + driving from patient to patient in and out of the hot car...
all the while battling boob sweat and arm pit sweat (barf, I know, TMI)
then, having to put on a freaking bathing suit (umm, one of those mom skirt things) for the times when I braved the swimming pool...
Suffocating every.single.time I got in the car - because my Toyota Corolla takes a minute to cool off (and go fast on the interstate).

I hate summer.

But Fall.....
autumn.
my sweet, sweet love! has returned.

Yeah, good ole South Carolina tends to have milder fall/winters, but still, I'm good with 60 and 70 degree days.
Better than good.
and SINCE it turned fall - oh, three days ago, but who's counting - and its been a rainy, dreary, wet, cool couple of days (LOVIN IT HERE).
 I'm feelin fall, Y'all.

It's all coming back. (all coming back to me now)
Summer.
Hailee out of Kindergarten.
Roger decided to not work through the summer so he could stay home with Hailee more and allow me to have my crazy hours.
Because even though Hospice is not 12 hour shifts in a hospital, as I have told ya before, I get the PRIVILEGE to be with families through their most vulnerable times, and y'all - those times don't always fall between 8:30 am and 5 pm.
Fo Real (Hailee's new favorite statement)

So, with Roger more available, it helped us to not have to pay the UnGodly daycare fees of having our 6 year old at daycare throughout the summer and gave them some precious needed time together - because that girl thinks her Daddy hung the moon or something.
I know. Totally have no idea what she sees.... ( I KIDD!!!)

But Fo Real.
He's easing back into the workin man thing (part time - as our schedule allows it) and SUMMER is OVER - Hallelujah!
Praise the Lord, Amen!!

Because I love fall.
and the colors of fall (I fought the urge to buy a HUGE potted mum at the grocery store yesterday)
because Mums scream FALL.
and Fall is HERE!!

Hailee lost her 5th tooth today..
I had NO idea how loose it really was...
I've pulled (all) her last 4 teeth - despite screaming and kicking and protests the whole way - up until the joyous gleeful cries of "I LOST MY TOOFFFF!!!!"
So, pretty sure she didn't want to tell me her tooth was loose enough to come out - a cupcake at a birthday party today finally did her in - and NURSE MOM YANKED THAT DANG TOOTH OUT!!!
5-0 baby!

Yall, She's growing up so fast.
1st grade.
and the little miss priss holds her pencil the exact same way I do (a very, very wrong way they tried to correct when I was younger.)
And her 1st grade teacher, bless her heart, sent home a letter about the correct way to hold your pencil. Well, Dangit If I didn't tell Hailee to do what feels most comfortable.
(and I even told her to tell her teacher I did the same thing and that she had my permission to hold her pencil that way ((a nicer version is typed here))
No Matter what they did to try and "correct" the way I held my pencil, I always brought it back to MY way.
and WELL, as it seems like I've literally spit my child out (in every single way possible), I foresee she will continue holding her pencil the same way I do.
I have neat handwriting, if I don't say so myself ;)
pick your battles, Mrs. 1stGrade.

So my Sister/Brother in law and their family have been in the process of moving across country this week - and I cannot thank y'all enough for all the pictures (I know they're not just for us ;) and I'm trying to be on here more for them too.
Thank you Jesus for the internet and technology and the way it's so easy to connect with people because I have to say this - it's been hard on all of us.
But what an awesome adventure!
To move across the country and for my nieces and nephew to be able to see so many things along the way (and swim in hotel pools that must be simply amazing, Matthew..) I want to live vicariously through every bit of it!!
I wish we were with y'all.

Maybe one day ;)

But until then, I'm going to try to be on here more.
and the change of seasons will totally help that, I'm sure.
because this whole season (summer) has been so lacking of inspiration.
and I've been working my hind end off without much time to spare.
but I love writing.

one of my new favorite covers - Michael Jackson's Billie Jean...



and we all know music is such a huge part of who I am.
Some new favorite songs...

I can't lie - I jam out to these on the regular.



LP - muddy waters




Troye Sivan - WILD


Phantogram - Fall in Love




Mapei - Don't Wait






I love fall.


Thursday, June 4, 2015

Want you to want me.






I'm getting a little more time to do what I love.

Jason Derulo's - Want You To Want Me



 

Saturday, May 30, 2015

An ode to Friday's

This week has been absolutely, positively, no good, very bad, rough, exhausting, and all of the other aboves that you can even imagine.



I so enjoy having a Monday thru Friday daytime job (much better than hospital night shift work) but it really, REALLY makes me savor the Fridays that much more.



And once Friday has been fully worked, I am thoroughly happy.




We have been without our administrative assistant this week and the WHOLE office has felt it.
It was only a 4 day week because of Memorial Day Monday holiday and I was the only nurse actively seeing patients through Thursday evening.




And so many days this week, I've been off a whole day since not working Monday...




And anything that could go wrong - Did.




I KNOW you can relate to this kind of week.


My night of on-call was THE busiest night of call that I have ever experienced.
My phone rang pretty much constantly.
Thank the Lord that Roger was home and able to tend to a sick child while I was taking calls and leaving to go assist people (I seriously don't mind doing this because in my line of work, families are at a very vulnerable time and I'm just glad I can be there to walk them through the rough parts).
Needless to say, I got a whopping 2 hours of sleep that night.
Then had to work all day the next day as well.



Thursday night, I went to bed at 7:45 PM and did not even move once until 4:30 AM. (and once my alarm did go off, I was tempted to just keep on snoozing)



(poor sick little girl from not sleeping the night before either...)

Thank goodness I didn't have any pressing matters to handle on Thursday Day because seriously...




I'm getting old and lack of sleep is so much harder to bounce back from.




But, Friday.
FRIDAY!!!!!!



I am never so happy to see Fridays as I am to see them now.




And currently, our weekends are actual weekends.




Both of us are able to be off together and Its so, so nice.




But all too soon, the weekend is over.
Time moves faster now and will not slow down for anything.
and Monday is always there, just waiting around the corner...


Then it all starts again.




Until next time, my sweet, sweet Friday :)




I'd like to thank Pinterest for the awesome inspiration for this post.
Bye Felicia.


Monday, May 25, 2015

Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken

I have to get this recipe in a place where I don't have to go searching for the recipe every time I want to make it.
This is one of Hailee's favorite dinners.
And I don't make it very often because I don't like to fry stuff.
I don't like grease popping out all over the place and making a mess [and burning me in the process]
and frying food is bad for you.. Mmm'Kay??

So, I had a go to recipe on Pinterest for this amazing chicken, but for some dumb reason, every time I try to get to it, it redirects me to other places. Hence the need for One Place I can always find the recipe...

Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken

3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds) cut into tiny pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup cornstarch
2 large eggs, beaten
1/4 cup vegetable oil

*sweet and sour sauce*

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Cut the chicken breasts into 1-inch pieces.
Season with salt and pepper.
Place the cornstarch in a bowl.
First, toss the chicken in the cornstarch to make sure it's good and coated.
Whisk the eggs together in another bowl.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat until very hot and rippling.
Dip the cornstarch-coated chicken pieces in the egg and place them carefully in a single layer in the hot skillet.
Cook for 20-30 seconds on each side until the crust is golden but the chicken is not all the way cooked through (this is where it's really important to have a hot skillet/oil).
Spray your baking dish with non stick spray.
Place the chicken pieces in a single layer in a 9X13-inch baking dish and repeat with the remaining chicken pieces.
Once you've gotten all your little chicken pieces fried up and in the baking dish, pour in the sweet and sour sauce. Stir and make sure they're all coated. I cheat and use store bought BUT, if you're feeling all Martha Stewart, I'm sure you could whip up your own sauce. [Ain't nobody got time fo that]
BAKE in the 325 degree oven for one hour, stirring the chicken bits around every 15 minutes to ensure that all the little chickens are good and coated with sweet and sour sauce.

DEEElish.
I get requests for this one frequently from my family.

And for those of you that like pictures more than words...











and just because I can,
and because I could listen to Jared Leto's voice All. Day. Long...
enjoy.







you are welcome.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

better in your sea.

New. New. New.

 

 a little more "country" than I'm used to ;)
It's amazing the difference new strings can make.
I never want to put it down now.

Friday, March 27, 2015

death.

Let me first let you in on how exhaustingly tough this week has been and how HAPPY I am to see Friday come and go without incidence...

[because this week has been the roughest in about a MONTH!!]

Okay, now, for the serious part of today's endeavors...

Hospice is still so very, very new to me.

After only working with families and patients in the hospice setting since December of 2014  - like 3 months - I have seen SO MANY multiple family dynamics and situations.

I'm going to tell you now that every single family I come in contact with and every single patient I've met is absolutely and extremely precious to me.

In all Seriousness.

Death is no joke.

Even all of the sentinel events leading up to a death (should there be any) are absolutely precious.

There is one family in particular to me that I'm gravitating to and it's only because I've been an integral part in the patient's declining process...

It's amazing how intimately close you grow to a family and how closely you follow their needs and cues. I am so blessed to be a part of the process of crossing from one life into another...
all I can say is..

GOOSEBUMPS!!!
and y'all - I get them SO , So often now!!!

Yes, it's hard to see a patient rapidly decline.
It makes me question things as a nurse, but I have so many other resources available at all times.
I'm blessed.

It's completely and utterly amazing.

Love is so abundant and present in certain families situation that I can only hope for more in the future that are this sweet.

Yet - every death is different.

You just don't know.
There is no time line to pursue.
There is no specific chain of events to occur...
There are no magic words to make everything better.
I can pray all the amazing things that I can pray and still -
Still - God's plans are more absolute and perfect than any I could have ever imagined.

For this particular family,
They will ALWAYS hold a very, very special place in my heart.
And this whole post may be boring to some, but
to others,

They know.

And there is a point where I've had to ask God to step in and Guide everything I say and do.
And He will.
Completely.
It's amazing just how perfect his Timing is.
Never doubt that.





i don't care what you say.. the dress is white and gold

So hi, hello -
Yes, it's really, really me ;)
I have been all consumed in hospice and family and I don't have to make excuses, but I miss writing.
and SINCE I have been away for so long,
and SINCE there was something that almost broke the internet...
yes, even after the Kardashian butt thing...
I gotta come back with a little funny.

Here were some of my favorites.
More serious stuff to come later.
Promise.
Maybe.























BOOM.
Internet broken.
How bout that??

and tomorrow - Hailee's 6th birthday party at Edventure Kid's museum. Wish me luck
I'm SO not prepared for it.
Well, maybe just a little.
as in... the cupcakes were just ordered yesterday.
YES. It's been a long, hard week.
The. End.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

snapshots

Can we just take a minute to be extremely glad it's the weekend??
Honestly, I don't think I've EVER been more happy to see the end of a Friday night come and go.
This week has been one of the longest, most draining, and mentally exhausting in a long time.

Being a hospice nurse is great!
I'm learning so many new things and meeting tons of awesome new people who are amazing at what they do.
I still have so much to learn, but that's anywhere you go.
I've already traveled around in the community (of Orangeburg, SC and the low country), then, my company moved me closer to home into an assisted living facility.

And y'all - Where I am - among patients deemed "appropriate"  enough for "assisted living" - Is Draining.
and not right.
And I'm not even being a tad dramatic.
Because what I see in a lot of these cases is - patients that need total care.
If you are debilitated enough to have to be confined to a bed or chair and have to be turned every 2 hours just to prevent pressure ulcers, cannot feed yourself, or even go to the bathroom (the little things, I know..), the you are most certainly NOT appropriate to be in "assisted living".
It breaks my heart.
And there's so much more beyond this that I'm not completely crazy about..
Tip of the iceburg, people.
It's not my thing.
I told myself I'd never work in a nursing home - and this is pretty much as close to it as I will ever allow myself to come.
SO not for me.

But people - all of them - are precious to me.
My passion.
I'm a nurse.
I'm not a sales marketer.
My job is to take care of people - not go "fishing" for possible hospice admissions.
I don't care about making extra money off admissions.
AT ALL.
Period. the end.
Because that takes me away from caring for my patients.
and spending time with them.
and hearing their life stories.
because y'all - they sure have them.
and if you take time to listen, they want to tell you all about it.
I really enjoy listening to them impart all the wisdom of previous years and experiences.
So, so interesting!!

I'm going back into the community (closer area to home) and will be working for a new company in one week and it will be so refreshing to get back in my car and go see these people.
one. more. week.
I'm going to miss the amazing nurses I've come to know.
I find that's always the hardest part - leaving the nurses you've grown so close to.

Yes, it's been a while since I've updated on here.
I haven't even had time to sit down and think.
Mostly, I've been so exhausted...
BUT...
but, it's the freakin weekend baby!!
my brain has shut off.
and that's all I'm going to say about that.
Now here are some random things pics to get you through until the next month or so I get on here again.














^^ some of my favorite work out songs here lately (and just fun to listen to)
my treadmill has pretty much quit working right, so It's time to get a new one.

love you.
mean it.
until next time...




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