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Over the past year and a half, we’ve been hearing a lot about healthcare workers being heroes. Frankly, I never thought they were anything less. One stint in a hospital is enough to see the light.
Last November, my mother was in the hospital for an extended stay. Unfortunately for everyone, so was the patient a few doors down. I think I’ll call him Pita (pain in the ass).
As if things weren’t bad enough with COVID on the rise once again, the hospital reaching total capacity, and untrained me taking care of one too many Code Browns, use your imagination folks, to count, we ALL had to deal with Pita. Trust me; I earned a cape.
On one quiet Saturday afternoon, mom was resting, and I was reading when we were interrupted by a commotion coming from the hallway. Enough to stop the cleaning woman in her tracks right outside our door.
I looked at the cleaning woman with a WTF glare, and she responded with a WTFK’s. Facial expressions speak volumes.
Now mom was wide awake, wondering what was going on. All we could hear was a loud voice insisting at the top of his lungs to see his girlfriend. I peeked out the door to see a 6’4′ bare assed sock-wearing hands flailing big mouth trying to escape. Superpowers would come in handy.
Without missing a beat, my mom says GIRLFRIEND?! and we both started laughing. It was like that’s all she heard.
The cleaning woman came into the room laughing and said, “she’s on vacation.” Now, we are howling. Mom chimes in with, “she’s not coming back.” The only thing missing was popcorn.
While we were acting like three school girls laughing at all the things the girlfriend probably did after dropping Pita at the hospital entrance, he was making vulgar remarks to the nurses about their bodies. He was a real charmer.
As security arrived, I saw one of the nurses filling up a syringe, smiling ear to ear. Pita was going down!
Mom couldn’t get out of bed, so Juanita and I gave her a play-by-play of the injection. “They’re going to need a big one,” she said. The giggles continued.
Finally, silence took over, and the nurses went back to their duties as if Pita never existed. Night night.
Juanita stayed a little longer to talk to mom about her age, sense of humor, and unruly men. This was the best medicine mom received.
Remember, heroes cross our paths every day, some with needles, some with mops, but all serving a purpose. It’s important to recognize the good in everyone as we … Enjoy the Ride!
As Season 2 of that shit show we call 2020 continues, I must say it’s been interesting. What are we on now Episode 9? All I know is I’ve spent a good portion of it crying at EVERYTHING—my emotions on steroids. Not the happy go lucky ones, the “you look like Alice Cooper” kind. I’ve already lost a pair of contacts to a riptide on my face.
A dear friend reminded me that tears are an excellent way to hydrate. I also believe this to be true. My skin is glistening, and my eyes no longer require fake tears in a bottle. I’m one sad song aways from bottling my own and selling them on Etsy. Tears are Us.
Ok, so back in Episode 1, I was on the brink of losing it. Not only was I grieving the loss of my mother, I had the realization that I was also grieving the loss of the way many things had been for years. I was mostly missing that upbeat call at midnight, wishing me a Happy New Year as I lay sleeping on the couch missing the ball drop. Kind of a bummer for the season opener.
Episodes 2 & 3 were much better. I spent the morning trying to figure out what I could do with this newfound freedom. As I left the house for a fun-filled day with my love interest, I was excited about the possibilities. We walked around a small town in New Jersey that I swear was the set of a Hallmark Christmas movie, and I saw my first sign that anything is possible. It was a plaque with my full name, middle initial, and all, followed by PhD. Not that I have any intention of getting a PhD., but it made me think, ‘you got this world by the balls, now go get it.” All the answers are there if you keep your eyes open.
Oh, Episode 4 was a real doozy! It was my first day back to work after 252727262782 days off, and there was NO INTERNET! I work for a physician, and our entire system is internet-based. The phone was ringing off the hook, patients were coming in with new insurance information, and this one issue was about to paralyze our day. I thought, “No, absolutely not, not today 2021 you 2020 wanna be, NO!” There is always a Plan B waiting in the shadows; no matter what the situation, look and you will find.
Ugh, by noon, the earth was back on its axis, and our internet was restored just in time for the start of Episode 5, which was almost too perfect. These days I’m skeptical of smooth sailing. I’ll assume that’s a little PTSD from 2020. I got into my car, and as always, made sure my phone was on Bluetooth. Why? Because every day for the last, FOREVER days, I called my mom on the way home from work. Another contact fell victim to this cry festival.
Episode 6 began with waking up after a dream that was so vivid and intense it left me lying in bed wondering, “Was that a dream?” I spent the rest of my morning analyzing that bag of crazy before heading to work. As if that wasn’t enough, real-life crazy started with news alerts on my phone about the new Civil War talking place in D.C. Hearing and seeing this footage was alarming, but I was not surprised, to be honest. Was I expecting it so early into Season 2? No, but here we are riding the crazy train. That entire episode shined a big fat light on subjects that can no longer be ignored, denied, or defended.
As I opened my eyes on Episode 7, I thought, “What’s next?” Ugh, while watching the morning news, it became clear that shit was getting very real here in the good ole U. S. of A. Watching the hypocrites surface and take flight was a real highlight. I’m not positive, but I do believe I may have broken a record for consecutive obscenities screamed at an object a/k/a a T.V. Oh, and I was laid off, but I’m happy.
Wow, that is all I can say for Episode 8. The list of flip-flopping hypocrites was growing at record speed. At the same time, our Commander in Lies continues to search for a 12-year-old with more than one social media account he can use, and we are now up to 5 senseless deaths following whatever the hell that was that took place in Episode 6. On the bright side, I had a male and female cardinal show up in the tree outside my window. They spent over an hour watching my every move. I’m just going to call them mom & dad and leave it at that.
Episode 9 opened up with ANOTHER vivid dream that was absolutely exhausting. I really believe this is the universes way of saying “Girl, we tried to tell you while you were awake, but you kept ignoring us.” We all know what this means – change is a coming. Something tells me those cardinals are working hard.
As I look at my personal life and the world around us, the veil is being lifted from reality. On a personal level, I recognize things about myself and those around me who may or may not remain in my circle with a clear lens. The evil and injustices evident to many for far too long are finally getting recognized with greater clarity and an undeniable audience. A change is gonna come.
In the meantime, my griefcase is packed, my eyes are open, and as always, I’ll fasten my seatbelt for the rest of Season 2 and try to Enjoy the Ride!
Christmas morning 2020, quietly sitting listening to the rainfall outside. The deck doors are open, and a nice unseasonably warm breeze is blowing through the room while I bite the limbs off of a gingerbread man and sip coffee.
My children are adults, so there is no need to be awake at this time, yet here I am scrolling through my FaceBook memories of past Christmas celebrations surrounded by family, friends, laughter, and love. Jeez, talk about a mixed bag of emotions coming to the surface.
Last year our house was full to the brim. We were full of Christmas spirit with two new little ones in the family experiencing all of their firsts. They had no clue what was going on, but it didn’t matter to all of us oohing and aahing over every move they made.
Our celebration today will look much different. My mind is not fully committed to the festivities today, but my heart is aching for some sense of normalcy, so I’m going to do my best, and that will be enough.
This year it’s a party of 6, not 16, so I will not need engineering skills to ensure that everyone has a seat at the table. Although I’ll be missing the others dearly, it allows me to embrace this crew with extra love. I hope they’re all ready for the hug fest that’s waiting for them over here.
Thanks to technology, we’ll be able to share in the little ones enjoying the excitement of Santa on repeat if we want, and we can FaceTime the others around the country to spread some cheer. As for those who we lost, we will be keeping their spirits alive sharing the many memories we had the privledge of making over the years.
My Christmas wish for the future is to just continue on with life. Continue to see the good and be good. Continue to have patience. Continue to be healthy. Continue to grow. Continue to heal. Continue to recognize the love around us. Continue to surprise a sometimes mean world with acts of kindness.
Continue to Enjoy the Ride!
Well, it’s been quite interesting around these parts over the past few months. The original story is one that no one wants to hear while scrolling through their reader. And lord knows I don’t want to relive it.
The short version is my mother was in the hospital for 10 days with a flare of ulcerative colitis, Covid went through the roof in Pennsylvania, we refused rehab and converted my family room into a replica of mom’s apartment in 2 days so she could move in with us. Honestly, it’s still a blur.
That was back on November 18th, which seems like both 5 years and 5 minutes ago. For the record, let me be clear that I am not a nurse, nor do I exhibit the skills to provide medical services due to my large hands and not knowing my own strength. Trust me.
Mom was over the moon about moving into our abode for many reasons, but mainly to be around family, her family, which was the most essential part of her long life. As a Great Depression orphan, her family was important.
Let’s say mom crossed the threshold into her new digs with a bang or a Code Brown. Use your imaginations, folks. This led to a complete strip down, shower, and both of us feeling like maybe this was one of those ideas that looked great on paper, but the reality sucked—sort of like that 30 foot Homer Simpson Christmas decoration.
Once she was settled and my assistant, Nurse Peanut, greeted her with open paws, we had time to discuss, laugh, and cry about that grand entrance. We were both imagining more of a Scarlet O’Hara strolling down the staircase kind of moment. If nothing else, it was memorable.
Ok, that was Wednesday evening; by the time a REAL nurse arrived on Sunday, I looked like the 94-year-old patient! The bags under my eyes highlighted the dark circles nicely.
Meanwhile, my mom looked like a movie star! She was showered and dressed with her hair, nails, brows looking fab, and any unruly chin hairs removed. Just my two cents, if you’re in the position of caring for an elderly parent, the better they look, the less help you’ll get. Disheveled is the way to go.
If I heard it once, I heard it a million times, “your mom looks great; she’s not sick enough for more help.” Were you ever so tired that you wanted to knock someone out, tie them to a chair, and force them to step into your shoes for a night? Asking for a friend.
We entered week two, a/k/a hell on earth, with a whole new bag of crazy. I gained another patient in the house. Officially declaring myself an RN working 24/7 shifts with no pay.
While mom was downstairs having everything that went in her mouth come out the other end and insisting on eating because she was hungry, my husband was locked in our bedroom coughing up a lung with, you guessed it, COVID! Oh, you can say it, I’ll even join you. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
Just when you think things could not possibly get worse, at mom’s request, I made a homemade apple cake because she was craving something sweet. The aroma of this cake makes the house smell delicious, and lord knows with all of the other odors going on, it would be more than welcome. Just one of the many, OH SHIT, no pun intended, moments that followed.
I’m not gonna lie; losing my sense of smell was welcomed for what transpired over the following few days. Can you say a blessing in disguise?
The husband started feeling better, my symptoms stopped at no taste or smell, but mom’s condition was getting worse. FINALLY, she was “sick enough” to get hospice services. They arrived on Tuesday dressed like they were stepping onto the moon due to the COVID colony known as my home.
Wednesday was the last day that I was able to talk to mom. Her last sentiment was, “be kind to everyone, no matter what, this world needs kindness.” Truth!
Mom passed on Friday, December 4, 2020, with me and my husband by her side. Hopefully, at some point, after COVID, we will be able to celebrate the Queen of our family and her life well lived.
Did you hear the one about the squirrel that walked onto a deck wearing a mask during the pandemic? At this point, it’s the only way anyone would believe that this actually happened yesterday. On the FIRST day, masks were mandatory in Pennsylvania.
I was sitting in my sunroom, on a quiet morning, listening to the bird’s chirp, waiting for the sun to make an appearance when I felt I was being watched. Listen to your instincts.
Once my eyes registered, I realized that I was, in fact, looking at a squirrel, looking at me, wearing a mask. This little guy just stood there as if he was on the red carpet waiting for the paparazzi to get their shot, which is precisely what I did. A miracle considering the laughter!
I still have no idea what this little guy had in his mouth, so I’m going with the obvious, that he watched a do-it-yourself mask-making video like the rest of us. Well done!
Now that the squirrel community is on board with following directions, it would be great if humans would follow suit. The sad reality is that people are well, people, and they only listen to what they want to hear and do what they want to do. Educated, grown-ass adults suddenly become toddlers.
It’s not that difficult. Wear the mask because the GOVERNOR said so. This is smart, safe, and limits make-up application to just the eyes.
The lack of human cooperation since the kick-off of Stay In Your Damn House guidelines does not surprise me or any other human being who has witnessed the behavior of parents on back to school night. When the words “this is not the time to ask questions about your child” are uttered, the hands begin to rise.
Disclaimer: I’m not a teacher. I’m the parent who LISTENS.
Living in a culture where instant gratification is a necessity and impatience is at the forefront does not help. Listening to adults asking on more than one occasion, “Is this over yet?” is the equivalent to “Are we there yet?” and that rarely ends well. Get hold of yourselves, people!
Honestly, the universe doesn’t always protect us, sometimes it challenges us with more than we would like to receive, and on occasion, hits us when we’re down, instead of cutting us a break. We have to remember that not every test passes in an instant, and not every threat can just be shrugged off. So, here we are, on the day who the hell knows of this blip in our regular routines, with guidelines changing every day, and new choices to be made. We can resist. We can hide. Or, we can just react in a manner that will benefit ourselves and others.
Don’t make it harder than it has to be. Enjoy the Ride!
So, here we are, Easter 2020, and suddenly the Easter Bunny isn’t the only one sporting a mask this year. Sorry if you still believe that a giant rabbit breaks into your house once a year to drop off life-like chocolate images of itself, it does not.
Does everyone else feel like they’ve been living the tomb life these days? We’re way past the required three day limit over here.
All kidding aside, this experience, combined with the time of year, has me focusing on what our resurrection will be like when we get back to business. Hopefully, it will be much better than what we left.
After the universe slammed on the breaks, leaving chocolate bunnies everywhere stranded on the store shelves, we were living in a constant state of “what kind of world are we living in?” and then, just like that, it stopped. I can still smell the burnt rubber.
In the wake of this virus, we’ve been left with heavy hearts and death all around this world. However, we’ve also been handed a once in a lifetime opportunity. A pause that allowed us to look deep into ourselves and at the world around us with eyes wide open. It’s like a deep global breath.
Now, it’s time to get uncomfortable.
What are the lessons we should be learning during our time in the tomb?
How are we going to reenter our pre-pandemic lives?
What will we do differently on a personal, social and economic level?
What have we learned, not just about ourselves, but our surroundings?
Where have the lights been the brightest? On our climate? Our economy, education, food, and healthcare systems? Our democracy? On our greed, social injustice, disconnection, or ALL of the above?
It’s a lot to think about, absorb and change, but it’s also a time to reimagine the world we want for ourselves, our communities, and the world. One that fits all of humanity, with a side of nature, would be nice.
On day 2376457635 in the tomb, we are starting to crave normalcy or the normal we’ve been normalizing for much too long, we cannot return to that world. Just say, no!
The worst thing we can do is rush to return.
We need to remain still a little while longer.
We cannot fall victim to the influx of deals and steals that are waiting in the wings to tempt us back to our old behaviors.
We need to be diligent in remembering the good, the bad and the love revealed throughout this experience.
We need to figure out a normal that works for everyone.
We need to continue to be creative in our ideas and innovations for our communities.
We need to live and breathe the words of Margaret Mead.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. Margaret Mead
My Easter wish for everyone is that when you do resurrect, you will step back into the world with fresh eyes, clear minds, open hearts, and all of the soulfulness you can offer. It’s our time to Rise & Shine!
Enjoy the Ride!
How many times have you thought “Ok, I can leave this earth now I’ve heard or seen everything”? Yeah, that party isn’t ending any time soon.
Babies are born every damn day packing a whole new series of shock and awe for the world. This is why they smile in their sleep. It’s called plotting.
The other day a woman was leaving our office, as she has been doing for YEARS. Irene is kind, a little hippyish, and ALWAYS comes bearing a freshly baked challah loaf for the doctor. Some people might think that’s shocking, no, it’s not.
Out of nowhere, or the clear blue sky, she stated, “6 rats were castrated at the zoo today.” There was no warning. No one was discussing rats or their genitals before this statement, she was simply dropping a fact, and it was clear she was outraged. Before this moment I never thought about rodent genitals… EVAH!
I watched her mouth move, but I was fixated on the word “castration” as if these rodents were sexual deviants convicted by the other animals at the zoo. Maybe my kids are right, I do watch too much Law and Order SVU.
In a perfect world, I would have the power to shut that office down for a one on one interview about rodent castrations. Sadly, I’m not in charge.
So, I did the next best thing and Googled rat castration at the Philadelphia zoo. Nada. Then I broadened my search to a general rat castration window, which I admit was not one of my better life choices. I still have no idea why Irene was outraged, but now I know of several vets in my area who provide rat castration services. Knowledge is power.
The more I thought about this, which has been way too much over that past few days, the clearer the picture became. Irene is on to something with her matter of fact approach to getting the word out about injustices that leave no room for public backlash. #ratballsmatter
Now, let’s just say we took it up a notch. Next time you’re at an appointment, in the grocery line or anywhere human ears are present, drop a fact and go. Sort of like a smash & grab, but you’re leaving something behind for the greater good.
Now, since topics are endless, and facts come in all shapes and sizes, my advice would be if you’re the “go big or go home” type, please be an experienced runner or have a getaway car waiting. Remember, this is a drop and go mission, not a force your beliefs on anyone who can hear one. We already have plenty of that going down.
If you’re interested here are a few examples to get you started. Less is more.
- China has not wasted a single penny on war.
- Bats always turn left when leaving a cave.
- Peace takes courage.
- Sea levels are rising.
- Laughing reduces stress.
- One in 5 adults cannot afford their medication.
- Slugs have 4 noses.
If nothing else, it will provoke research on a subject, plant a seed, open a mind or make you look batshit crazy. There’s always that risk when you lay down the truth.
I’m going to drop that slug fact on my next visit to Whole Foods. #Enjoytheride!
As most of you know I work in the medical field, on the administrative side, not the actual healing side. Trust me, this is a blessing for all of us.
Although, I must say, after 15 years I do believe I could include therapist to my resume without an ounce of guilt.
I say this because, for whatever reason, some patients walk in the door with an agenda to unload. I’m not sure if it’s the glass window, my face or loneliness, but whatever the case may be, the stories just spill into the room. Some good, others require earplugs.
Don’t get me wrong this can be a blessing or a curse depending on the schedule. There are days when I have to take things with a grain of salt, and then there are days when a gem like the one I’m about to share falls right into my lap and heart. It’s like hitting an emotional lottery.
George and Pauline are longtime patients. They are both in their 90’s, with Pauline being 8 years older. Yes, Pauline is pushing 100.
They are both brilliant, highly educated, interesting, frisky and funny as hell! The full package.
Unfortunately for everyone, Pauline can no longer come into the office, but thank goodness George comes regularly.
On Thursday, when George was making his next appointment I inquired about Pauline and he said “the honeymoon isn’t over” and I smiled. This is when he spilled to this GEM all over my desk. Hmm … I hope I scheduled his next appointment.
One month after we were married Pauline was in the kitchen when I was heading out for a morning run. I yelled from the door “Pauline, I’ll be back I’m going for a run” and she replied, “hurry back and I’ll make it worth your while” The honeymoon wasn’t over. At this point, George is sporting a huge grin.
He continues to tell me that he hadn’t thought about that moment in a very long time, but today as he was leaving to come to this appointment, Pauline was settled in with her aide when he yelled into the room “Pauline, I’m going to see the doctor, I’ll be back shortly” and without missing a beat she replied, “hurry back and I’ll make it worth your while” As I was staring at George I noticed he was still wearing that big grin, but his eyes were welling up when he leaned in and said: “Looks like the honeymoon isn’t over yet.”
Honestly, folks, it doesn’t get much better than that now does it? Enjoy the Ride!
On Sunday while attending my Quaker Meeting, I was moved by the message of one of the members. So much so that it has stuck with me for days now.
She began with a story about her company looking to revamp some staleness within her department, which led to a member coming to the table with a YouTube video about the reintroduction of grey wolves into the park, and the far-reaching effects their presence has had on the ecosystem. I highly recommend you watch if you haven’t already had the pleasure.
The video led to the conversation of the power of making ONE CHANGE.
Next, she shared that a few years ago, as she was stirring her coffee in the company kitchen, she looked at her plastic spoon with different eyes.
After going back to her office, she realized that she used two plastic spoons every day. One for her coffee and one for her yogurt. a/k/a … A LOT!
Just a few calculations later she realized that there is probably a landfill somewhere sporting her name in bright lights. A total will not be provided due to my loathing of mathematics.
So, from that day on she began bringing her stainless steel spoon to the office, but not just any spoon, she decided to bring a family heirloom that would catch the attention of her co-workers. Smart!
Next thing you know the idea of B.Y.O.S. caught on and not only did the company save money; co-workers got creative with their spoons, the climate in the office brightened, and those landfill lights began to dim. Bam!
Now, I know there is a large community of creative minds who read this little ole blog, so take a moment to think about what ONE CHANGE you can make in your daily routine that will change the world. We are much more potent than we let on folks.
Please feel free to share your creative juices in the comments, and as always … Enjoy the Ride!
When did filling in for the Tooth Fairy become part of my job description? Last time I checked my title was Surgical Coordinator/Everything else the office needs. I hung up my tutu years ago when my son lost his final fang.
Well, that changed about 3 weeks ago when someone left a couple of teeth in our waiting room. I’ll take a break while you read that over.
Now, perhaps this would be acceptable in let’s say A DENTISTS OFFICE, but I work for a Podiatrist/Foot & Ankle Surgeon, so an occasional cane, umbrella or jacket are the only things that should land in the lost and found. The jury is still out on how you can leave without your cane, he’s a doctor, not Jesus.
So, I bet you’re wondering what one does in this situation. After the laughter of course.
First, you start reminiscing with your co-worker about the other insanity that as left you speechless at work. Like that time a HUMAN turd was chilling in the hallway, and your office “manger” (trust me, those quotes are necessary) instructed you to call hospital security. Umm, maybe maintenance would be better to handle this matter. That’s only one example for the quotes.
Just the thought of calling Security makes me laugh!
Ok, back to these missing fangs. If you, or anyone you know, have any form of artificial teeth, you know that they have either paid for their dentist’s summer home while putting his or her children through college, so it was imperative that we channel our inner Tooth Fairy to locate the owner. I was already thinking about how much I could get on eBay.
We had to break it down to who was sitting in that area of the waiting room. Next, it was concluded that I would not be the best candidate to make the inquiries since I have no control over my inner 12-year-old boy who finds this entire situation hilarious. Sad, but true. Then the executive decision was made that our office “manager” call all of our morning patients to see if anyone might be missing a thing or two.
Let me just say that listening to someone struggle through these awkward calls provided me with a great deal of entertainment. When I heard a woman had to check her purse, only to come back and say “no, I still have mine,” I knew the decision for me not to be involved was indeed the best decision. It really is the little things.
This story ends with no one claiming the missing fangs that sit on a shelf in our office as a trophy, and me continuing moving forward with the idea of putting them on eBay,
Enjoy the Ride!