Monday, June 28, 2010

The nightly (sort of) walk

Most nights, I take the small people on a walk. Well, let me correct myself. They ride bikes, and I walk (only because I don't have a bike yet...working on it). The route we take is almost always the same. We cross a very busy street, which is highly exciting to small people. The element of danger, you know. (Although when KT crossed the street tonight by herself after I told her to wait, the element of danger was her mother's fear and anger. I doubt she will do that again, at least for a while) It is a really neat walk. It varies evening by evening. The road is the same. The bobbed wire fences are the same. But sometimes gates are opened, and small people ride and explore until they get too afraid to explore anymore. Sometimes there are cattle, and we MOO to them (always good for a laugh). Sometimes it is so dark that it is seriously creepy -- oak trees, Spanish moss, cattle lowing -- and sometimes the moon is so bright we can see the color of each others' eyes. Every time we go, the walk brings us something different. In daylight, it is a simple stretch of road; at night, well, there is magic there.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Lock Down

I got floated to SICU today. I don't mind floating -- I don't dread it like lots of nurses do. Floating is a chance to do something new, with people who are really glad you're there and therefore are willing to help you. I don't have to float often, but I have done it a few times lately. Today I was floated to the Surgical ICU. Most of my patients come from SICU (bypass, vascular, surgical lung patients), and so I was given a team of two (WOW, COUNT THEM -- TWO!!!) post-op patients. They weren't stable, but they weren't crashing, either. They really weren't different from what I would expect on my floor. I was mixed up because the huge amount of paperwork was very different, but other than that, it was like cooking in a new kitchen. You know what to do, but you have no idea where things are. That kind of mixy.


There was a cop outside the room next to my little station. I didn't think much about it...we have cops inside and outside of rooms now and again. Why should the unit be different?


2 and 3 sheriff's deputies next to my little station. Lots of whispering. Hospital Charge Nurse there for a long, long time, talking with the unit charge nurse and the deputies.


The first meeting. After rumors are flying and people are intrigued and a little scared (like a ride at Disney, with the psuedo-promise of blood). Deputy and Charge Nurse talk about locking down exits. They talk about what to do if someone comes in and causes trouble. We leave with marching orders. And more cops seem to be around.

And then.

(Remember, I am floated to the SICU -- I have no access to the secure places. My badge simply won't let me in.)

We are told that there are specific threats against cops, against surgeons, and against all nurses who take care of wounded sheriff's officers. We are told to go to the CVOR (locked and secure) if things get dicey or if any one of us feels threatened. Or we can go to the secured (locked) break room. Or we can go to the secured (locked) clean supply room. I can get into none of these. If a shooter comes, and the threats have been threatened happen, I won't be able to have access to any of the designated SAFE places.

That is how I spent my day. I went home unscathed. I don't know what will happen tonight, but at shift change for me, all was quiet on the western front. I hope things will simmer down...I expect that they will.

Lock down. How in the world could this happen to podunk Florida. I didn't get drawn in by the drama. But, damn, I didn't expect a lock-down today.

Friday, June 25, 2010

I Ran.

I ran 4 miles today. I didn't start until the WAY too hot hours to run, but that is when I started. And so I suffered because of it. Was running kind of easy (is it ever easy when it is 95* and sunny with no breeze) until everything from my diaphragm down decided that running was the last thing my internal parts wanted to do. Not to be explicit, but it wasn't pretty. I tried to be there in the moment, but...that moment couldn't be run through, and so the living with it thing just couldn't happen. My 5 or more easy miles became 4 "gut it out and just be glad you're running" miles. But I made it.

I may just make the best fish tacos in the world. Yum yum yum. Truly. My fish tacos will have you not only kissing my feet, but begging for your mommy. Bobby Flay and Throwdown....come knock on my door!

Small people come home on Monday. I miss most the chatter of small people voices. The single mom thing is hard all the time. But it is hardest when the small people are gone for a long time.

Trying to run

I think I am going to try to run today. I have been having some pretty significant pain in both my ankles and feet, since, well, since before Bayshore. I think it is tendonitis, but being a nurse, I don't like to go see doctors, so I don't really know for sure. I am down to one pair of shoes that don't seem to hurt me too much, and have ordered a new pair that have yet to arrive. But I am jonesing for a run -- the last one was almost a week ago. In the meantime I have done a LOT of eating, drinking, playing, dancing and working, but almost no exercise. The guy I went on the oyster trip is lots of fun, but he isn't particularly physically active; I am much more of a boarder collie. So, today I am going to try to run. I hope that it goes well.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Keeping my promise.

A few weeks ago, I promised Appointment-Guy that I would take the time to fill my well. I promised to have more fun, and do more things that make me feel happy, and by extension, make my little family feel happy. Last weekend's trip to St Augustine did just that. All of us came home smiling and happy.

Yesterday, I ran into an old friend/beau. We went out for music and oysters, and we had a ball. So now, I am apparently going to be spending the weekend oyster-bar hopping, listening to music, and traveling the Gulf Coast before there is no more Gulf Coast left to speak of. By tomorrow afternoon, I will be in Apalachicola, Fl, where, according to my friend, they have the best oysters in the world. I don't work again until Wed, so I have the time. This trip could be horrible, or it could be ridiculously fun. I am voting for fun. I'll let you know how it goes.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

I ran in the rain today

I seem to be needing a lot of sleep lately. A lot of sleep. I got called off for my overtime day yesterday, and, aside from answering the phone at 5am and calling to see if I was needed to work at 9 am, I slept until almost 2pm. I never, ever do that. I simply couldn't wake up. When I did, I conducted the normal business of the day, but I was foggy.

Today, again, I didn't make it out of bed until noon. I know that this is really abnormal for me, but I also know that I had absolutely NOTHING to do today. Yeah, I prolly should run, but....and so I slept in for almost forever. Again. I don't feel well rested yet. But I feel more rested -- not so strung out, and not so edgy.

I ran 8 miles today. I ran Bayshore 3 weeks ago. I thought about that a lot during my run. I am still proud of myself. I am a person who can make it through all sorts of crap and manage to come out on the good side. I am a person who can manage single motherhood, a hugely intense job, and all the mundane but important issues of daily life and still run marathons.

I ran 8 miles today. I ran, so late, at 2 pm (the sleeping thing). And just when I was really getting too hot, it rained. I ran in the rain today, the almost cool rain. I ran, and it made me not miss the small people. It made me forget about all the work crap. I ran in the rain.

Everyone should run in the rain.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The thing about....

I could go all technical and talk about AV blocks 1, 2, and 3. I could talk about PACs, PVCs, SSS, bigeminy, trigeminy, couplets and salvoes, and runs of V-tach and all about afib and flutter. I can discuss all of those heart rhythms until everyone is sound asleep. But what matters is that I am smart enough to put an amp of atropine in my pocket when I see that my patient's heartrate is dipping into the 30's (no, he isn't an athlete). The thing about being a nurse is that sometimes you make the decision to put the answer in your pocket -- long before the MD tells you to put the answer in your pocket. And yeah, he got his pacemaker.

The best thing about being a nurse is when my patients ask me, at the end of my shift, if I am coming back in the morning, and the look of relief when I say that I am. When my patient, or the family, is visibly relieved that I will be caring for them tomorrow, I have done my job. My patients feel safe when I have the team. I am good with that.

Being a mom

Smallest of all (she is all of SIX, 6, and only has memories from the last 6 years), during the very late-night ghost-tour in St Augustine, was given (with the price of admission) a disposable camera. Disposable camera. 6 year old. Smallest of all said, looking quizzically at her camera, "Mama, how do they get the pictures OUT"? She had only seen digital cameras...had no conception of a thing called FILM. The thing about being a mom is that you get to laugh and appreciate the small little nuggets of funny. Sometimes the sheer innocence (not the gossamer winged "innocence", but the sheer lack of knowledge that is on the young, nice side of uninformed) of kids will stand you up, turn you around, and make you remember that the world view isn't cast in your own stone.

Small people are with their dad for 2 weeks. *sigh* It is amazing how quiet quiet can actually be.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Making memories

My daughter is 8. She is the family photographer. She is gifted in a way that I am not -- she takes marvelous pictures! And so, I have come to realize, that while she is still in her first decade of life, if we want our lives remembered in photographs, I need to just hand over the camera to Miss 8. Right now she wields the family camera, but her birthday is in August. I think that I may just know the perfect gift!

This photo is of the lighthouse in St Augustine, Fl. School let out for summer last week. The girls go to their dad's for 2 weeks today. We thought that it would be the best of ideas to have a kind of "mini-vacation" right here in the Sunshine State. And so off we went. The list of things seen and done: played on the beach, climbed the lighthouse, swam for a couple of hours in the pool and then slept in the hotel (small people adore hotels). Next day: Castillo de San Marco, Lieghtner Museum, Flagler college, shopping, ice cream treat, Basilica de St Someone, back to hotel, more swimming, quick nap, dinner and late night ghost tour, followed by serious sleeping. Last day: playing on the beach, window shopping, fountain of youth, and finally the long drive home. Mission completed! Everyone had a marvelous time and everyone was completely worn out! Oh, no running. Took my gear, but I just couldn't bring myself to leave the small people alone in a hotel. I did run 6 miles in the ungodly heat today for penance.

One of the peacocks on the grounds of the Fountain of Youth:

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Post recovery run...what's it gonna be?

Was worried about this run. I was in a considerable amount of discomfort after Bayshore, so I took a few extra days off. Today I returned to running. And it was good. Not fabulous -- I have some serious PF going on -- but not terrible, either. Got better as I went along. I didn't go far. The heat is becoming Florida oppressive, but I made my 3.5 nonetheless. It made me happy, like coming home after being on a long, lonely trip. The marathon was about searching for part of me. From now on, I hope that running will be my touchstone, and will be a reminder of who I am.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Recovery Random

I am not running right now, and I feel only the teeniest amount of guilt. I did try running on National Running Day, just to say that I ran, but I only made a few minutes before I said, "Screw it", and I went back to walking. Maybe I will run in the coming week. Maybe I won't. The absolutely best thing about RECOVERY is that I have to let everything heal. I have to let my feet, my thighs, my calves, and my everyplace else heal. So, while I heal, on to random thoughts. Operative word there is "random".

Small people go to a charter school -- a technology school, one of the best in Lakeland. They are, as of this summer required to go online to a site called Kidscollege. They have a required amount of hours. We have one laptop. So now, we have one laptop and two new netbooks. We are so saying goodbye to TV. In another day, I will be asking them for online help.

Where to vacation? I have a 2 week rental reservation on a lovely condo in Sanibel Island, Fl. On the Gulf Coast. Sanibel is near Ft Myers. On the Gulf Coast. My vacation is scheduled for mid-August. Oil is washing up in Pensacola. It is now hurricane season. I don't have to make the decision until the end of the month, but do I chance it and hope for Sanibel as I know it? Or do I just go ahead and change plans and book a 2 week rental in NC or TN? Or Maine? Or, well, someplace else? What to do....

If you say in my presence, "GD MotherF", "you F'n nurses are F'n Dictators" while I am trying to clean the cellulitis wounds on your legs, trying to change your bandages so that your sorry self can heal, do not expect me to spend quality time with you. If you want to scream at me about how much methadone you take and how much you need, and how my Nazi-self is keeping it from you, well, I am happy to give it early. Just to shut you up. Just don't depend on me to save you when you end up naked at a local lake, OD'd. Again.

I can tolerate country music. That's about it.

I have a fire-ant bite on one of my toes. Totally allergic to them. Now my toe is swollen and it itches like crazy. Until I rub it. Then it hurts like crazy. The next week is going to be toe-hell.

When I buy a home of my own, I think I will get a dog/rug. I don't want a puppy. I want a dog that doesn't want to do much other than play with kids for a few minutes, eat and sleep. A rug. I love furry rugs. I hope that they have one at the shelter.

Next to smallest of all got her appliance thingy to keep her from sucking her thumb. She is almost 9. She has sucked her thumb since she was about 2 months old. It was a long week with much crying, sobbing and almost gnashing of teeth (overbite and crossbite prevents actual gnashing). But, mean as it sounds, surgery to repair her upper palate is the only other option. I chose crying over pain.

College-Boy and I get along pretty well now. Amazing is the change that happens when one actually tries to be a responsible citizen.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Bayshore Marathon 2010.

The Bayshore Marathon is the most beautiful course I have ever run, for any race distance. The views are simply breathtaking. Just to have the opportunity to run on such a course was worth all the training, all the effort, and all the pain. It is a small race, with approximately 2,000 full marathoners, 2,000 half-marathoners, and 2,500 10k racers. There is no expo. There are no masses of cheering spectators. There is no post-race feast or beer-garden. You pay for the view, and it is worth twice the price.

Prior to the marathon, I had the worst case of Taper Madness in history. Twenty percent was real and physical (I did have a bad back and fairly serious PF in both feet, along with persistent tendonitis on the top of my right foot), but the rest was a bunch of craziness. I was, as most of us are pre-race, nervous and anxious. But this time, I was absolutely afraid. Fear is not a good look for me. It took a couple of good friends to kick me in the hind end, turn me around and tell me to look back at why I decided to run a marathon again in the first place. And so I did. I went back to the beginning of this blog and thought about the why, and when I remembered the why, I felt better about things. You see, I decided to run another marathon because the "ME" that I like best runs marathons, and I needed to be that person again. A simple reason, and a simple goal. Not an easy goal, by any means, but a simple one.

Friday Morning. Got the small people off to school, came home, finished packing, drove to Orlando and navigated the airport. I didn't get lost once, and I didn't forget anything (well, I did forget toothpaste, but hotel had some so it doesn't count). Got on the plane in Orlando and got off in Grand Rapids. I rented a car, drove north to Traverse City, ate on the way, and arrived at the hotel in one piece, which was a very good omen. I found my way to packet pickup, drove back to the hotel without mishap, did all the pre-race organizing and arranging, and was in bed by 9:30. Sleep was a different story, but I was in bed on time.

Race Day. The phone rang at 4:30. I woke up expecting to be teeth-chattering, bone-shaking nervous, but I wasn't. I had butterflies, and it took me longer than usual to get through the morning routine, but by 5am I was downstairs getting a bagel and some coffee, talking to other runners about race morning things. I went back upstairs to gather my race bag, and then joined a group of about 10 runners outside to wait for the shuttle. I had on a long sleeved t-shirt from an Orlando half marathon and my red gloves. It was, at least to me, quite chilly. The school bus came, and 10 minutes later I was in the start/finish area -- the track area of a local college. I sat down next to my first new best friend of the day, a lovely young woman named Nellie (one of my favorite people at work and in the world is named Nellie, a woman who truly loves me, and so I thought this was a good harbinger for the morning). We decided to start the journey together. Her parents found her, and so I gave them my t-shirt, knowing it would have a good home post-race. We made our way to the start, just as people began moving forward in the starting chute. Chirp, chirp and we were off. 10:24 first mile, according to Nellie. My watch was in the bottom of my race bag; I wore only silver bracelets on my wrist. Nellie put her headphones on, and we parted ways. Soon, however, I met my second new best friend, Suzanne. We ran and chatted for a couple of miles (10+, both of them). Suzanne had a 16 month old who was under the weather. She was looking forward to 4.5 hours of not taking care of a sick kid. I could relate.

When Suzanne and I parted ways, I ran solo, easing past people, astounded by the view. The bay was stunning...pale blue-green water gradually darkening to deep blue. My bay is grey-blue and green. To see blue-blue water was spectacular. It was still; the water was glassy. The air smelled of new grass and spring and lilacs. I stopped more than once to bury my face in lilac bushes. It had been 25 years since I smelled lilacs. There were gentle puffs of breeze. I was chilly, but not uncomfortable. I was glad for my gloves. By mile 6, however, I noticed people soaked in sweat and panting. I had not yet even begun to glow. The miles rolled along, and somewhere before mile 9, I met my third best friend of the day. I can't remember his name, but we played leap-frog for the next 10 miles or so. He teased me about my gloves. Actually, a lot of people commented on my gloves. By mile 10, I was taking the advice of a friend, who said to walk the water stops and to walk 50 steps a mile. It seemed like I was climbing more often than I was descending, which ended up being true. The course is advertised as flat, but to a true flatlander, it had rolling hills. Mile 13, up a sharp hill, turned around at the floral arrangement, donated my gloves to charity, chirped across the time strip, and headed for home.

I had no new best friend, and so I put on headphones and let Pink Shuffle work her magic. One minute later, I turned her back off. She is my training partner; and I now I had race friends. Mile 15, and I was juggling two thoughts: 1)this was the best long run of my training cycle, by far, and 2)my gut hurt, I thought I might vomit at any moment, and the balls of my feet were in horrible pain. And so I channeled my next new best friend, EB. I remembered to exist with the cramping, to exist with the nausea, to exist with the pain for that moment, because that moment became the next moment, which became the next. A few times dark thoughts flitted through my mind, but for once I gave them no gravity. At 47 years of age, I finally learned to ignore myself. Mile 18 and I met my fifth best friend of the day, whose name escapes me, but I thank her for the Succeed caps and the company. I passed her at the bitter end, only because she had stopped to partake in her post-race martini. In a Gatorade bottle...classic. And then, at mile 21, I met my sixth and last best friend of the day. Phil and I had played leap frog for a bunch of miles, and so, when we were not close to but not far from home, I asked him if I could run with him for a while. He said "Sure, but I am doing some walking". I said, "Great. So am I". And I was introduced to the Galloway method. I may be a convert. We ran and we talked, and at intervals that were a mystery to me, we walked. We passed for the final time Diesel and Rolly. We passed TNT runners (one more heartfelt "GO TEAM!" and I was going to have to channel my inner bitch). We ran companionably. I would have asked him to marry me, but he had a wedding ring on. I figured his wife might take offense. Mile 24, and Phil said we were at 3:59. We walked the requiste minute, and then I abandoned my last best friend of the day. I ran the last 2.2 in about 18 minutes, ignoring everything but my aching need to finish. Run and pass, run and pass. Looked at the almost finish clock. I could hear the cheering, and then saw the crowd and the finish. 50 feet on the track, chirp chirp, and I staggered into the volunteers, where a kind young thing dumped a bottle of water down my neck. I guess she was my seventh new best friend. I waited for Phil, who finished a couple or 3 minutes later, and got a post race "attaboy" and a hug.

Post Race. I picked my way, slowly and in agony, to the post race area. I got some Cold Stone Creamery strawberry ice cream and a cookie. I looked for the bag drop, but couldn't find it. I was totally engulfed in post race brain fog when I heard someone call my name. There was Nellie, who finished better than she had the year prior. And so I got my t-shirt back. That, however, wasn't all that I got back. Sitting on the bus, waiting for it to ferry us back to our various hotels, I was a marathoner among other marathoners.