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Monday, December 9, 2013


Winter 2011

It looks really familiar considering our weather in North Texas this weekend, but the photo was taken during our record snowfall in 2011.  I didn't seem to mind that weather then, but now, I mind.  I think this onslaught of Winter precipitation has lasted much longer than the big snow did.  Before, I lived close to work, and I had fun enjoying my days off.  Walking to the park and taking snowy pictures was so much fun.  This time, work is not as close as it used to be, so travel isn't as easy.  Maybe I will have to keep making changes until I get it right.  

Happy Winter, everyone!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Why Do I Do THIS?

I was having a bad day a few days ago.  The best way to succinctly describe it is a pity party.  Or, I guess I could say I was having bad thoughts about myself.  That always makes me want to eat sweets...lots of them.  Since I have been on this diet, I have largely adhered to the plan.  However, Friday was a different day.  I did buy sugar free stuff while I was at Target.  However, I know better than to do this.  Sugar free is not nearly a decent substitute for the sweetness I was craving, and furthermore, for me, there are consequences. I had a headache Friday night.  Fortunately, cured by OTC pain relievers and an ice pack.  I didn't heed the warning. There was still a pack of sugar free Jello that hadn't been made.  I made it.  Then, I consumed it. I woke up fine this morning, but now, I'm feeling the inkling of a headache.  I'm also trying to ignore the digestive tract that is telling me that I am going to have to deal with some nausea today.  It has been literally YEARS since I ate stuff sweetened with either Splenda or Nutrasweet.  Maybe I forgot how terrible this poison makes me feel.  Maybe I was so deep in the pity party that I didn't care at the moment.  OK, well, the pity party is over, and now I just feel stupid.  Note to self: being self-destructive is not productive.

The behavior I see in myself reminds me a lot of Aunt Vicki.  She was a fantastic cook and loved to share with us all.  She died a few years ago with the standard diseases that kill most Americans, but she was younger than most of the patients I have taken care of.  She lived life her way until the end.  My cousin put it the most accurately when he said that Aunt Vic ate herself to death.  We don't think much of overeating because everyone does it sometimes (Thanksgiving Day comes to mind).  A lifestyle of overeating non-nutritive (or junk) food is really a self-destructive behavior.  I guess the truth is that if I don't want to die the same slow, painful death that she did, I must continue the path of change.  Replacing bad habits is difficult.  The next time I think bad thoughts about myself, I could tell the thoughts to 'shut up.' Maybe I can imagine a remote control that can just turn that show or recording off.
I know that this problem is common among we humans.  I guess I don't know what other people do when they're feeling bad about themselves.  Maybe now is a good time to find out.  Any thoughts?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

About Impressions

We don't know most of the people we interact with on a daily basis.  Upon first meeting, we usually get an idea of whether or not we like someone, and we form an idea of what the new person is like.  It has happened to me more than once that someone was completely wrong about the idea they formed about me.  Usually, we project our own backgrounds on those whom they see as similar to ourselves.  In my life, I have been mistaken for many things that I am not, for better and for worse.  Most recently, I talked to someone at work that made an incorrect assumption about me several months ago.  Her idea of what my life has been and what it really has been are worlds apart.  I told her the story of my "Don't do Drugs" talk, and suddenly, she had at least some understanding of how far off she was.

Along that same vein (at least in my mind, it goes along with not knowing someone), I got an email from the guy I dated before Mark the geek.  My name was in the subject line.  The only sentence in the body of the email was to say that he is sorry that he treated me poorly when we were dating.  It was signed only with initials at the bottom.  I thought it was odd.  If someone is sorry, they would usually say what for, specifically, I mean.  I mentioned that to the Geek as well as a couple of people at work.  The people at work thought this was just part of a 12 step program someone is working.  The Geek said that the apology was not for me but for him as part of some therapy he's doing.  As I wasn't expecting anything from this guy, I don't have any negative emotion attached.   It is just another example of someone not knowing the person with whom you're interacting.

The interaction with my co-worker was something that annoyed me because it was a big assumption to make.  About the email from the guy, there was nothing personal about that apology.  He should at least do better for himself, if indeed he is working a program.  The largest example of this I can draw from my life is an incident with my ex husband.  One day, my brother mailed me a large box of my childhood things.  That included my academic awards, my report cards, and my graduation speech.  After seeing all these things, my husband was impressed by who I had been, but hadn't paid attention to who I was at the time I was with him.  I can still remember the shock with which he exclaimed to me, "I had no idea!" I did go on to tell him that he didn't know because he didn't want to know.  He hadn't asked, and didn't encourage me to share who I was. 

The truth of the matter is that we all have people in our lives that we don't know whom we should know. For me, it is a reminder to wake up and pay attention.  I don't want to miss knowing any of the characters that come across my path.  

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Climbing Maslow's Pyramid

Nursing, or caring for the sick, was once a punishment for prostitutes.  In nursing school, we were taught that our patients come first, no matter what, and martyrdom was praised as a virtue.  Today, I can tell you of former co-workers who have had emergency bladder lifts and hysterectomies because their organs prolapsed.  Historically, we don't go to the bathroom when we need to; we don't eat when (or what) we need to, and we lift lots of weight that may not be done in the safest manner (depending on staffing and available equipment).  From the time of Florence Nightingale until now, nurses have been viewed as disposable human resources to be used up until burned out. When they're burned out, they're replaced with new nurses.  Mixing this perspective with traditional religious views of women doesn't leave this female RN feeling autonomous and professional. 

Everything I can think of to say regarding this post sounds like a rant, but it isn't supposed to be.  However, going back to work after having a horrible wreck with unspeakable injuries, my perspective on employment, though much the same is also very different.  I can't drive 200 miles a day, see six to seven hospice patients every day and remain sane. I could probably figure out how to do that in 40 hours, but that's asking too much of me physically and emotionally; too much to ask of the patients currently under my care.  Although all of our families are in crisis due to the stress of having a terminal illness or for caring for a terminally ill loved one, no one currently requires daily visits or continuous care.  It is overwhelming to think of doubling my driving time and being unavailable for my patients when the worst of their time of crisis comes.  So, change is coming.  I hope it will be as good for my patients as it seems it will be for me.  

My new supervisor called me today to ask if I would go to a certain area to see patients.  Geographically, her request makes sense, and what I appreciated most was that it was actually a request.  Without going into boring detail, I will have more control over my work (and thus my life) than I have ever had during this incarnation.  My feelings about this: validated and liberated.  I will undoubtedly be busy, but the perspective here is that I am my own. It seems that this part of the journey is, at least somewhat, about climbing Maslow's pyramid.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Remembering Michelle

Last week, I walked into the corporate office for a certain healthcare company.  As I passed the first office, the lady inside waved and said to me, "Hi, Michelle!"  I was puzzled, but just said hi in return.  I was waiting for someone else when the first lady came out and started apologizing to me for calling me the wrong name.  She said, "I know your name is Rhonda, and I don't know why I said that."  She went on to explain to me that in her life, Michelle was has been her best friend since childhood.  Something about me reminded her of her dear friend.  I told her about my childhood friend, Michelle, who moved away after 6th grade.  I had the honor to briefly recount how we had met again at about age 21.  I was looking for a job at the place where she was at the reception desk.  She recognized me before I knew who she was, but we were friends from that moment forward, just as if no time had passed.  After she got married and I moved, we lost touch for a long time, but I have recently found old emails from her, reaching out to me as I was going through some health issues.  I told my new acquaintance that my friend had passed away in 2011.  I was tempted to be a little sad bringing up these memories, but it struck me that it was a great moment to honor Michelle.  As I thought of her through the rest of the day,  it made me chuckle to recall those times;  the days that we thought we were waiting for life to happen to us and just passing the time until IT arrived (whatever IT was).  We were seriously overgrown little girls happy to spend time watching Anne of Green Gables 147,000 times, giggling, and complaining about our lives a bit, but mostly just being happy.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Kevin MD: Listening to nurses is key to being a good doctor.

I read a blog post on  Kevin is a doctor, and he gives advice to physicians on how to make their lives easier: Listen to nurses.  A line in the post regarding having a difficult day where the nurse added him to her patient list struck me.  It reminds me of a resident who did her training at Children's when I was there.

Dr. Laurie was having a rough day.  I was working night shift, and I had to call her to report some significant changes in a patient.  She arrived to the floor where I was working, and she was nearly in tears.  She hadn't slept in 24 hours, and she had 12 more hours to be on call.  I told her what I needed for the patient (yes, I dictated the orders as she wrote them).  Since she was probably the most pleasant resident I'd ever worked with, I was concerned about her.  So, the rapid fire of assessment questions came flying out of my mouth (I can't help it.  I'm always triaging and assessing).  When did you last eat?  When did you have something to drink?  When did you stop to pee?  She didn't remember when she had done anything to take care of herself, so I decided to take matters into my own hands.  I went to the cafeteria to get food and drink, and I made the suggestion that she go to the bathroom.  She objected to me buying her food, and I ignored the objections, and I went anyway.  She sent me with her cafe coupons, and I came back with food and a drink for her.  The tears slid out of her eyelids, to the corners of her eyes and spilled down her cheeks (but, only for a minute).  She was amazed that in such a busy night, "the nurse is taking care of me."  I cared for her because she was always good to me, respectful, and sharing her freshly learned knowledge.

Here's a link to Kevin MD's article:

Friday, September 20, 2013

At sunset, light begins to fade away

Clearing energy for another day
Time and space are close at hand
The city bears witness
Of the moon taking its stand
To guard the earth from total dark
As we pass through night with starlit spark
Until the sun rises again

Gothic church
The History
Not so pretty
Can we see
Things change
And remain the same
Selling to tourists
Selling indulgences
Devoted pilgrims
Salesmen for priests
Peddling a gospel
Keeping enslaved
Pilgrims, devotees
The coffers are full
The present is the history

Both Ways?

Either or
Neither nor
Don't know what for
Have to choose which way to go
Two paths at once?
I don't know

Monday, September 9, 2013

Out of the delirium and on with life


In a delirium, on a ride
Traveling through colors
Going down a slide
Neither awake nor asleep
Not in a dream
What the BLEEP?
I don’t know what’s happening
Tell me again why I’m here
I understood you but can’t comprehend
I’m confused and in pain
Say it again
You told me to be quiet
I can’t manage that, somehow
The processor isn’t processing
Don’t you get it now?
I’m not on drugs, but damn near dead
Can’t you get that through your head?
Tell me what happened and help me with my pain
You cut my clothes.  I was worried about a stain!
I got mustard on my new top
It doesn’t matter now
Just make the pain stop

Thanks to everyone who was with me during that acute
delirium phase.  I'm not the same as before, for better and
for worse.  Currently, life is good, and it seems that I'm still
finding my way to me.

Monday, September 2, 2013


I found lots of inspiration during the time I traveled.  Now, I still have photos.  Missing from the New Mexico photos is the feeling of altitude.  That with the open sky always made me feel that I was in a different layer of the Earth's atmosphere.

Desert Sky

A place where the earth meets the sky
O how the time goes by
Somehow, it actually gets lost
Out in the desert alone with your thoughts
Not a mirage while dying of thirst
But daydream-like and cloud-like
They could almost burst
Imagining is for the soul like nourishment and candy
Living in the ethers, yet two feet planted
Where the Earth meets the sky

Sunday, August 25, 2013

After all, it's not Demel

 I got on the scale this week, and I didn't like the numbers I saw.  Mark the geek made an observation about one of us being addicted to sugar, and it isn't him.  I don't know why I like sweets so much, but it has always been that way.  I have become more of  a food snob, in general, so I thought that might help, but alas, it does not.  Being a food snob does mean that I eat lots of cool stuff that I didn't know existed when I was growing up.  Who knew that salmon was an actual fish and wasn't just a canned good?  Until about 1988, I didn't have a good grasp on that, nor did I know what a quesadilla was until about that time.  Chinese food was labeled La Choy at our house, as well.  You get the idea.  I always had an innate sense of curiosity about 'other' people.  From childhood, I wanted to travel and get to know how people in other countries live.  How they live, what they believe, and what they eat were always points of interest for me.  In third grade, I remember studying about how a city was built from the perspective of a little girl about my age whose family moved to a remote area where a city was being planned.  In fourth grade, I remember studying about the Pitjantjatjara people in Australia.  For some reason, I remember their diet consisting of grubs.  Nothing about being a desert nomad eating grubs sounds appealing for me to try for myself, but nonetheless, I was fascinated.

I don't remember learning anything about European history in school, save the World History class I was required to take in 10th grade.  Imagining the times of Julius Caesar, Charlemagne, and the times of the Crusades during my school years was another point at which my curiosity was piqued.  Most of what I remember about Europe was from English class.  Shakespeare, the Brontë sisters, and Jane Austen.  Dressing in the dresses, speaking with those accents, and understanding things that are commonplace to those characters interested me very much.  This, along with watching healthy doses of PBS formed a lifelong drive to know other people and other ways.

The closest we could get in our little town to other cultures was via a cookbook.  My best friend was as adventurous as I, so there was a summer's day when I went to her house.  Her mom went to the grocery store, and we followed recipes for a five course, five star French meal.  Through the years, we looked up many other recipes, always learning something from that culture and its cuisine.  Somehow, as fascinated as I was by English clothing and customs, I wasn't ever enamored with English food.

What does this have to do with my weight or sugar 'addiction?' Growing up as we did with basic needs sparsely met, adding sugar to stuff you don't really like made it palatable.  Add enough sugar to it, and almost anything tasted good.  Now that I have traveled and am fortunate enough to eat good food, maybe it's time to kick the sugar habit.  Most of the sweets I indulge in aren't worth it.  After all, it's not Demel.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Re-reading the Offline Journal

Around Thanksgiving last year, I bought a new journal, and now, it is full.  To be honest, the purpose for the notebook changed.  I started a journal, but then needed a place to write notes for patient visits.  Now, the notebook is full.  Originally, I had planned to keep a journal to write stuff that I didn't want to post online.  The first entry is about overcoming the fear of judgement about the words on the page.  More than being afraid of what my kind readers think, I was concerned about how I would feel about what I had written in the weeks and months to come.  Usually my paper journals come to naught; I rip them up and am completely unable to pick up where I left off.   During this time, I decided that the things I go through, the heartaches, irritations, and the feelings I have are the same that everyone else has.  There's a quirky poem, and another entry about divulging secrets.  Here, I tend to allude to some difficulties, but don't just dump everything I think and feel in its raw form for all of the internet to examine.  In the entry, I remember that it's not any fun remembering growing up poor, having our lights and phone disconnected on a regular basis, and being hungry sometimes.  I cruised through my patient information and remember how many are not still with us.  The back inside cover has the original sketch of the design on my current business cards. Maybe I will tuck it away with my books until I figure out how to dismember the journal without throwing away what I had to say.