Sunday, January 24, 2010

Thoughts from a different Emergency Room

Well, week 3 of the New Year has followed along the same lines as weeks 1 and 2 with a sick husband and yet another trip to the emergency room. This time around it was my mother-in-law who had the medical issue…she suffered a heart attack. Thankfully she is alright now thanks again to the wonderful medical care available at our local hospitals, but it was almost unbearable seeing the fear in hubby’s eyes as we waited for word on her condition and as we processed the fact that this was a serious situation with serious treatment options. It is amazing how it takes a crisis sometimes to remember how precious life is, and how much you take it for granted. I think it will be a while before we will take it for granted again. At least, I hope it will…

I am beyond excited that on Monday I will welcome a new member to my current department of one at work. We are a busy organization with a lot of things happening and communicating it all on my own has been a challenge to say the least. Things will still be busy…don’t get me wrong…but it will be nice to share the burden rather than carry it all. Welcome Chris – don’t be scared. It’ll be fine…really…lol.

This week will be an exciting one for me as Thursday is Rascal Flatts and Darius Rucker day!!!!!!!!!! I wish my seats were better…and am really hoping I win the draw for front row seats that I entered…but even if I don’t, it will be awesome to just be there. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Rascal Flatts and already feel sorry for those seated around me who will listen to my rendition of each of their songs. They will also have their views blocked by my cowboy hat and dancing in the aisles. So if you’re in section 112, near row R, you might as well just stay home. You have horrible seats anyways…and it’ll give me more space to dance.

I have learned my lesson after my summer concert experience and have taken Friday off to recover. I am not as young as I used to be, and it seems the most basic things like standing or dancing for 2-3 hours requires recuperation time for me now. I wonder what I’ll be like as a 50 year old rocking out at a concert? I should probably just plan to retire by then.

This is a shorter blog than I have written in a while, but its Sunday and I need to work on the novel a little. After all, love stories don’t write themselves.

I hope your week is as fabulous as I intend for mine to be! Hug those you love…I’m available for my hugs at your convenience.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Thoughts from an Emergency Room

To say my weekend didn’t quite turn out the way I planned would be an understatement. The plans involved getting my hair done, seeing a matinee or two and keeping a normal sleep schedule to help my body recover from the holiday laziness that had taken over. Instead the weekend involved an emergency room visit, a cancelled hair appt. and once again going to bed at the crack of dawn and getting up at the crack of 1pm.

The hospital visit was for my mom (long story short, she’s ok), and started with a phone message when we got home from dinner Friday night. Now, of all the nights to decide to drink a pitcher of margaritas at dinner, this was maybe not the best one. But it happened nevertheless, so I spent half the night hoping I didn’t look drunk, and wondering if I reeked of tequila. The other half of the night I spent sit-sleeping in the most uncomfortable chair I’ve ever felt…uncomfortable enough that I’m pretty sure my bum is bruised right now.

But one important thing I discovered…and which I wish to write about tonight…is the tremendous nursing staff we have at the London Health Sciences Centre emergency department. In an evening that saw countless intoxicated individuals (no, I’m not counting myself among them), physical violence, code blues, needy patients and grumpy doctors, the nurses of the ER were nothing but patient, polite, caring and damn good at their jobs. My mom’s nurse, Rob, was the picture of compassion as he slowly and carefully explained everything that was happening, and that would be happening throughout the night. He was friendly and kind when we arrived at 7pm and he was still going strong when we left at 3:30am. He made my mom feel like she was the most important person in that ER, and at a time when emotions and fears are running high, that’s a comforting feeling indeed.

I am always fascinated by the ER and the folks who come through it. It’s a great place for people watching if you don’t mind the germs that you can feel spreading around as you sit there. The heavy presence of police and security is both frightening and reassuring, although they seemed to take a long time to respond to a nurse's yell of “I need help here!”, as an unconscious, intoxicated patient decided to wake up and start biting her as she was testing his vitals. Scary stuff.

There were a couple of older folks there without any family with them…including my mom’s neighbour who was quite ill, yet whose son decided he’d just “call in later” to see how she was. Now there may be more to the story…maybe he couldn’t get to the hospital, or maybe he was ill himself, but all I know is that even though this was probably my 500th time to the hospital with my mom throughout the years, I couldn’t imagine not going in person to make sure she was ok.

The guy on the other side of her didn’t have family visiting either. His wife decided not to, which was maybe a little more understandable considering he was de-toxing after drinking pure ethyl alcohol and passing out. When he was sober, he was a perfectly polite and quiet individual, but the 3 security guards at the foot of his bed when we arrived suggested to me that this maybe wasn’t the case before we got there. Either way, I found myself hoping that even though he answered ‘no’ to the doctor’s offer of getting him some help, he would change his mind before he passes out one day and doesn’t wake up. I don’t know the guy, and I never will…but as one human to another, I still care.

So at 3:30am when it was finally time to come home, I thought about what adventures the nursing staff still had ahead of them. How many more police cruisers and ambulances would come in with people in true crisis? How many more times would the drunk guy wake up and try to break free of his restraints? How many more code blues would be called, causing doctors and nurses to run from the room to help?

I had once thought of being a nurse when I was younger - mostly before I realized that A) I hate blood and B) I suck at math and science – but I wonder now if I would have the patience and more importantly the stamina to get through even one ER shift. Thanks to my inability to hold a needle without shaking, I guess I’ll never know.

In order to feel like we did something this weekend, we went to see It’s Complicated at the theatre…funny movie…I recommend it. And now, it’s Sunday night and I’m wondering where this weekend went. I promised myself that today would be book writing day and it was for a short time…but I’m having trouble getting re-engaged since my 2 month break from writing. I’m sure that will turn around, but for now it’s frustrating to have the time and quiet to do it, but not the creative energy. If only my book was on emergency rooms, I could come up with a TON of material right now…oh wait, in a way it is. I think I just thought of a new chapter! Maybe this wasn’t a dud of a weekend after all. Happy New Year - week 2 folks!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

All good things must come to an end...

Well, its day 16 of my 16 day vacation, and that means that today is a bit of a sad day for me. While I love my job, and am excited for the year ahead, I also love doing nothing…and I mean absolutely nothing…for extended periods of time. My husband had the nerve to say the other night that he was looking forward to getting back to work so that we would have a routine again. Can you believe that? Who needs a routine? Why can’t we spend our lives eating dinner at 10pm if we want…going to bed at 4am…waking again at noon. Shopping at Walmart at midnight is a happy occasion, free of the crowds and morons you typically have to deal with - check out if you need to be reminded of those special folks. And spending days on end thinking of nothing but which movie on the pile of rentals you’ll watch next is about as much stress as I’m happy living with.

We have talked about the (long-shot) possibility that if my someday-to-be-finished novel is ever published, we would be able to be anywhere in the world as we lived off the money from it, and the advance that I’d be paid for my follow-up book. After all, my laptop will allow me to write anywhere from a comfy deck chair in PEI, to a comfy deck chair on a cruise ship or a comfy deck chair in the tropics somewhere. In any eventuality, I think my next novel will be written in a deck chair.

What’s so wrong with that picture? We’ve worked hard for several years. We’ve both lived what some might describe as bumpy lives. We always eat our vegetables. I think we deserve a life of peace and tranquility and sleeping in until we’re not tired anymore. I guess that means I should be writing a chapter right now instead of a blog entry! Oh well, I guess the dream can wait one more day. Who wants to think about moving in a blizzard anyways?

The one thing that hubby and I were able to do this holiday that we haven’t done in a while is catch up on some of the movies we’ve wanted to see. We even made it to the theatre to see a newly released movie, which is a rarity for us lately. All four movies we’ve watched in the past week or so have been pretty powerful stories with the ability to make you stop and put yourself into the main character’s situation. What would you do? How would you react? What would you do differently?

The most powerful of the four, and really the most heart wrenching movie I’ve seen in a while is My Sister’s Keeper. The story is about a young girl who has been diagnosed with a form of leukemia, a family struggling in their own ways to deal with their daughter and sister’s illness and, in a twist from the standard sad movie formula, a sibling who was conceived for the specific purpose of providing ‘parts’ (cord blood, bone marrow, even organs) to her sister when she needed them.

The movie held my attention from start to finish – an impressive thing these days – and made me think all the way through about how I would feel if I knew I was created to save someone else’s life…and how I would feel if I knew someone else was created to save me. But more importantly, it reminded me, as so many things do, of the brave kids I’ve worked with throughout the past 10 years who find themselves dealt such unfair hands, yet who make the most of their moments by choosing to live rather than waiting to die. The movie also has one of the sweetest love stories I think I’ve ever seen. It’s a must rent…trust me.

Our first movie of the week was another powerful movie for me, but in a whole different way. The movie was Julie & Julia, a two in one story about both Julia Child and how she became the goddess of French cooking and Julie, a woman who decides to start a blog to chronicle her adventures as she cooks her way through Julia’s book “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”. The film was very well done, and I was just as interested to watch Julia Child’s transformation from doting housewife to highly successful chef and author as I was to watch Julie – who reminded me a little bit of a skinnier, perkier me – find her voice and her passion as she watched her blog audience grow. (And for the record, my blog hits are over 430 now, so thanks for helping encourage my passion too!) I would highly recommend this movie to anyone who just wants to see a well made movie about finding who you are meant to be.

The still-in-theatres movie we caught was Up in the Air, starring everyone’s favourite ladies-man and lifelong bachelor, George Clooney. And guess what? He’s a ladies-man and lifelong bachelor in the movie too! Only the life his character, Ryan Bingham, lives isn’t one of unadulterated joy and pleasure. I mean, sure, there are the obligatory sex scenes with the fellow frequent traveler he meets in a hotel bar (and as an aside, why does nudity in movies always take me by surprise? Every single time, I’m tempted to look away when I see nudity, like it’s something I’m not supposed to see. Maybe it’s just jealously because women’s asses always look better than mine, but I swear, one of these days I WILL see a nude scene without blushing! Anyways, I digress). The moral of this story…or at least the moral I took from it…is that love and commitment sucks, so why bother? Truly…that’s the theme I took out of the movie. I’ve never quite been as bummed out at the end of a movie that I really thought was going to turn into a syrupy love story than I was at this one. The story didn’t go where I expected – or where most other movies would have gone – and frankly, I left the theatre longing for a Hollywood fairytale ending instead of the real world one I got. Excellent movie now that I look back on it. Very well acted and really, the story is intriguing, but don’t see it on a day you’re looking to be uplifted. The nudity doesn’t involve George Clooney, so you won’t even have that to look forward to.

And finally, we saw Funny People starring Adam Sandler which was another one of those ‘evaluate your life’ kind of movies. Adam’s character George Simmons is a successful stand up comedian and actor who is diagnosed with a form of leukemia – wait, haven’t I already typed those words once in this blog?? – who has to make peace with his life’s actions and decisions. Part of the realization that he makes is that he really doesn’t have any real, true friends. He has professional friends, casual acquaintances and many people who come in and out of his life, but he doesn’t have someone to share his struggles and successes with. He decides to take a young, still unknown comic – played by Seth Rogen - under his wing in exchange for companionship and having someone to talk him to sleep at night. He spends time making amends with those he should have been closer to including his family and the true love of his life who he cheated on and lost. And again, the ending isn’t a Hollywood fairytale…its real life, and sometimes that’s what you need to see to remind you that everyone faces challenges in life and that how you handle them determines whether or not you will have a fairytale ending of your own.

So after two weeks of laziness, or as I prefer to call it - self reflection – it’s back to the grind tomorrow. And you know, maybe that isn’t such a bad thing. After all, if my life is ever turned into a movie, I’d hate for people to see the pajamas I’ve been living in since Christmas Day, the hair that hasn’t been straightened, the face that hasn’t seen make-up and most importantly, the lack of motivation that I’ve had to change any of the above. But boy, would it make a great commercial for Sleep Country and their FABULOUS Simmons pocket-coil bed! Because I could talk for hours about the benefits of a soft, warm bed…that I will be missing so much at 7am tomorrow.