Dragon’s Horde 060: New Nostalgia


During the week my dad stayed with me post-surgery we ended up walking through Walmart a few times. During one of those times we decided to get a puzzle to work on together. My dad and I used to do puzzles all the time before my parents divorced.

As we were talking about what puzzle to get, I mentioned how I’ve put together a handful of 3D crystal puzzles. He had never heard or seen them, so we took a look while we were at the store. Wouldn’t you know… they had a purple dragon puzzle. I couldn’t have asked for something more perfect.

My dad and I spent the next few hours of the afternoon working on it together. It was amazing. I hadn’t realized how much I missed something as simple as sitting with him, working on something, and chatting about nothing important while bitching about pieces not fitting right.

The whole week, but this experience specifically, helped reaffirm something for me. I do have a dad and he does care about and love me. I might not be the 8-year-old girl I once was, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be nostalgic about my past, and hopeful about my future.

I know you won’t read this post, but I want you to know I love you, dad. Thanks for being there for me when mom died. That’s for holding my hand through this terrifying time of having cancer. Thanks for letting me know that I still have a partent and that somewhere, deep inside, it’s ok to still be a kid.

Daily Post 192: Post-D&D


D&D was fun. I enjoyed being able to roleplay my character. We’re playing The Ghosts of SaltMarsh campaign, which I know a little bit about. Jon played through it with one of his groups. It will be interesting to see how our experience ends up different than his.

We gamed at the house of the husband and wife that Ox and I met the week before. The beginning was slow. We were waiting for other people to show up. The husband and wife have a daughter who ended up creating a character to play with us. She’s only 14-ish, so being around a bunch of adults she doesn’t know was a little awkward for her. I think she’ll come out of her shell more as we continue playing and she learns not only the mechanics of the game but the character she wants to be.

Once everyone was there we went around the table and introduced our characters. We figured out where we would be on the map and then began the game. We eventually all met up and after some discussion, agreed to check out the haunted house outside of town. A dead body was found washed up on the shore and it’s believed the house is somehow involved.

There were several times where the other players were having a hard time breathing because they were laughing so hard at what my character was doing or saying. God, it was so fun.

We didn’t get pizza. That was a little rough. Ox and I had stopped for snacks, but we didn’t really eat much in regards to dinner. Better mistakes next time.

As we were leaving I thanked the DM and his wife for such a good time. We’re scheduled to meet next Wednesday to continue our campaign. I’m thinking about offering to cook something for the group to eat. Not sure what, but I think it would be a nice gesture. They’re providing the space for us to play. I feel like it’s right for everyone else to provide food and drink.

Anywho, after gaming, Ox and I headed home. I called Jon back and talked to him during the ride. He had called earlier in the day while I was writing and I had said I would call him back, but then got distracted and then D&D was going on so I couldn’t talk on the phone… so yeah, I chatted with him for a bit. Ox drove to the house to get the stuff he needed for work the next day. We went to the apartment. He instantly fell asleep. I stayed up until 12:30-ish trying to fall asleep but not being very successful.

Today started decently enough. I woke up at six and stayed in bed, desperately trying to go back to sleep. At 7am I gave up since the kittens obviously did not care how tired I was or was not. I fed them and took my meds. I put the D&D stuff away so it wasn’t on the kitchen table anymore. Most of the hour I had to kill I spent reading Chapter 3 in my sociology book.

Around 8, I showered, got dressed, packed up, then headed to school. I was early so I continued reading. As class began I realized I didn’t have a pen, but was thankfully able to borrow one from a classmate.

We turned in our reference lists at the beginning. While the instructor went through them, the class listened to a presentation. It was a case study presented on NPR called New Baboon. It was pretty interesting. I took three pages worth of notes. After the presentation, we divided up into groups to answer some questions. We had just started discussing our answers as a class when we hit the 10:50 mark and class ended. We’re going to pick up the discussion on Tuesday.

All of my sources were approved, so that’s nice. I would like to start plucking away at the paper on Sunday. I had to run to catch up with the classmate who had loaned me her pen. She had forgotten about it. It made me feel good to remember to give it back.

I drove home after talking to Ox on the phone for a bit. I finished reading chapter 3 once I was at the apartment. I took the test associated with it. Got a 93. I’m ok with that. I typed up my notes from class and got them in my binder. I read the handout of another case study our instructor wants us to analyze.

At that point, I gave up trying to do more with school. The kittens were doing everything in the power to drive me crazy. Jumping on the stove. Stepping on my keyboard. Terrorizing the shower curtain…

I took a break, stepping outside to call Ox again while having a cigarette. I felt a little better after being outside. It’s sunny today. Not overly warm, but a nicer day than the previous two.

I ended up crawling under my blanket and napping for a bit with the kittens who thankfully settled down with me.

And that’s where I’m at so far today. I woke up. I called in the refill for my Synthroid since I have eight pills left. That will be ready for pick up tomorrow but I’ll most likely wait until Sunday to get it. I hope there’s not a copay for this one as well. That would be amazing. I’m not holding my breath though. I think it will be roughly another $40.

My to-do list has a few other tasks I would like to maybe do, but I’m still on the tired side of the energy spectrum and I haven’t done much in the way of coloring or cross-stitching since Saturday I believe. D&D sort of took over for a bit with character creation.

I don’t know… I’ll figure out the rest of my day, but for now, I do know that I’m done with school and I don’t have work obligations until tomorrow morning. The rest of the day is mine to do whatever I want.

Musing Moment 141: Post-Consultation


This is the first day where I have the space, the silence, to really sit down and have a talk with myself about recent events.

So self… How are you? And no, “I’m fine,” isn’t an ok answer between us. I’m here for you. I will always be here for you and I need you to be honest with me; with us.

How are you feeling about having cancer?

Having cancer isn’t really the thing that bothers me. The thought of having surgery bothers me. The thought of my life depending on a daily medication bothers me. What happens if there’s a zombie apocalypse? A nuclear bomb? What happens if I’m kidnapped or taken hostage and I’m denied access to my medication? What happens if I can no longer obtain it?

Having my thyroid removed will keep me alive. I get it. There’s something inside my body that while yes, it is slow-growing, doesn’t spread, blah blah blah… it’s still trying to kill me and will succeed if I don’t remove it. I accept that. I have to have surgery in order to stay alive. But after surgery, the only reason I can keep living a “normal” life is because I live in a place, in a time, where I can give my body the thing it will no longer be able to create on its own.

So what happens if that changes? What happens if the time and place no longer work the way they currently do and I’m left without what I need to live?

Ox and I have an understanding. I called him on my lunch break at work on Friday. We talked about this. I know for a lot of people it may seem silly, stupid, to entertain such far-fetched ideas; things that will “never” happen. But I need to know. If.. IF… they did happen, what would we do?

I told him that I needed him to promise me, if this became a legitimate issue that he would take me out, or if he couldn’t do it himself, to let me do it myself.

Of course, I was in tears as I made him promise me.

If I have no control over my need for this medication, then I want to have the control to at least not suffer if I’ll never be able to get it again. I need the people in my life to understand not only is this the type of issues I’m having to contend with and reconcile within myself, I need them to understand that these are my wishes, while I’m still of sound mind and body.

Me: Don’t let me suffer.

I’ve talked to Jon and he’s agreed to be who I name in my living will, because there are no guarantees in life. This surgery is safe and very rarely are there complications… more blah blah blah blah…

Mom was about to be discharged to go to rehab when she had a pumonary emolism, ok? Don’t give me your bullshit about everythings going to be fine and I don’t need to worry about things like that.

Yeah… I fucking do because unless you can show me my contract where it says I’ll have no complications and go on to live a full life and die many, many years later, then you can’t tell me this isn’t something I need to worry about. You’re not the one literally having your throat cut open by a stranger who’s an asshole and didn’t even have time to answer your questions.

I want to have things in place just in case there’s a complication after surgery. That way the people I love aren’t left not knowing what to do because we never talked about the real shit that mattered. I’ve already started looking into a last will and who would get the hope chest my grandfather made for me and mom’s china hutch and china set and my cross stitch stuff or my magic cards. I’ve already asked Ox what would happen to the kittens if I were to die because I need to know they’ll be ok.

That’s the type of shit I’m having to think about while my patients ask me how my Thanksgiving was.

Me: Do collectors get to take their due out of the life insurance I’ve left for my brothers? Oh, yeah… Thanksgiving was nice. Not a lot happened…

Except everything happened. I was diagnosed with cancer and have had to have non-stop conversations with countless people about it and I still don’t have a surgery date because my insurance has to “approve” my surgery.

What the actual fuck?

Are you saying it’s possible to be denied a life-saving operation? Should this be something I actually put energy into worrying about because it’s a thing? I need approval for a medical procedure when I’ve paid thousands of dollars on health insurance from when I first started working until now? Thousands of dollars that I’ve never actually used for anything other than yearly checkups?

No wonder so many people have fucking issues with our health system. I’ve done more than my part and yet I need “approval”?

Go fuck yourselves.

I’m having to think about things like, “if I were to die should I be buried or cremated? If I’m buried, where should I be buried so the people who would want to visit my grave can do so without having to spend thousands of dollars to do it? If I die somewhere far away from my burial site, how expensive would it be to send my body to the burial location? Is that even a thing? If so do I have to be imbalmed to do it?”

God. So many fucking questions. And I have a group project I haven’t even really touched for school this coming week. Not to mention all of the reading for this unit that I haven’t done. Not going to feel bad about prioritizing reassuring family and friends that I’m not dying as I prepare for the possibility of my death over reading nursing school BS assignments that haven’t helped me score better on the tests because your tests are BS to begin with. Arg… >.<

There’s so much going on inside of my head that I don’t even know where to begin.

Does having surgery make you less of a cancer survivor? I mean… It’s not like I’m fighting it. I’m not going through chemo. I’m not having to do a lot of stuff that most people diagnosed with cancer have to go through. I have this surgery. It’s removed. I go about my life… That’s not heroic. That’s not really “fighting”, is it? I’m having someone else cut me open. They’re doing all the work and I’m hoping they do it well enough to not fuck up.

That seems sort of like a cheap way of fighting cancer. Not cheap as in “not expensive”. But cheap as in, “I’m not having to face the same hardships as others”, so does my experience really count? Would I really be a cancer survivor?

So that brings into question, how do I feel about mom? She had cancer. The same cancer, in fact. Do I think of her as a cancer survivor?

Honestly, I never really thought about it. I knew she had thyroid cancer at some point; before I was born. I knew she had surgery. I knew she took medication. But I never talked to her about it. I never questioned it. She was mom. She was awesome. I didn’t think to talk to her about it. I didn’t think to explore that experience, that side of her. And now that I’m facing it myself, there’s no way to go back and have those conversations.

There was this whole side of her that I never knew anything about and I’ll never know it because I never thought to ask.

I do think of her as a survivor. I do think of her as a badass; even more badass now since I’m facing something she went through. So if I think of her that way, why am I different? Why wouldn’t I think of myself in the same way, the same light, as someone who went through literally the same thing I’m going through?

That’s not fair. That’s not logically. What is it about me that makes me unworthy of the same mentality? Why am I put into a different box of “non-survivor” status?

I don’t have an answer for that. At least not yet. But I know it’s there so that’s at least a step in the right direction.

The surgeon himself is a jerk. I had to dig out my surprised face for that one… He came into the room and didn’t even know what I was there for. He “believed” I was there for thyroid issues… yeah, because the last time I checked cancer is sort of an issue… He didn’t know if I should have a partial removal or a full removal… Well… based on the information from my endocrinologist, there’s a questionable nodule less than a centimeter big in my left lobe, so her recommendation was for a full removal instead of a partial… You know, taking out everything since you’ll already have to take out the right side. It would be better to have a baseline of ok rather than a baseline of “what’s this weird shit over here going to do later down the road,” sort of a thing…

It felt like I was doing his job for him because he knew nothing about my case.

He gave me his sales pitch, telling me how experienced he was and how post-surgery would go then stood to leave. I mentioned that I still had questions, not mentioning that it was four pages worth of questions since some of them had already been covered.

Surgeon: Well, I’m already 30 minutes late for a surgery so I really can’t stay.

Fuck you, dude. If your nurse practitioner wasn’t amazing I would be looking for someone else to cut me open. Actually, I dislike you so much I almost would rather die of cancer than let you save me. Seriously. I came to this appointment because you were supposed to have time for me and to know my case, which apparently you couldn’t do either of those things.

I flipped him off when he closed the door, leaving me and Ox alone in the room, waiting, as he flagged down his NP to come clean up his mess.

The NP is amazing, though, and literally the only reason I’m staying with this particular surgeon. One of my coworkers knows of him. She used to work at the same hospital. She said even the other doctors think he’s an asshole, which is saying something. If other doctors, who are assholes, think you’re an asshole, then you must be a special type of special.

But yeah, his NP is fantastic. She was so kind and compassionate. She understood when I explained the situation about mom and how at the moment I felt relatively fine but that pre-surgery would most likely be extremely hard for me. She assured me she would be in the surgery room with me, helping the surgeon, and that she could even be with me pre-surgery if it would help. Knowing she’ll be there makes it seem more doable. I won’t be alone. I’ll know someone. She said she would most likely be the person checking on me post-surgery as well since they’ll have to keep me overnight to make sure there aren’t complications. She even answered all the questions I had in my notebook, never indicating that any of them were stupid or silly. Even my question about “Will it being winter affect my recovery?” was answered with kindness and compassion and an informative response; which depression is a big worry about surgeries in winter, in case you were wondering.

If I’m unconscious for the whole time I’m around Mr. Asshole and conscious for all the other times with the NP, then I think I’ll be ok.

The NP actually had a thyroidectomy herself… when she was 20… Holy fuck? You had just graduated high school and were told you had cancer? What the actual fuck, Universe? I want to talk more to her and hear her perspective. How did you feel being told that young that you had cancer? How do you feel now? Do you feel like a cancer survivor? Do you ever feel vulnerable or less than or unworthy because you’re missing part of yourself?

Jon, Jason, and my dad have wanted to know if I want them there. I’m not sure yet. I’m hoping to have the surgery between the 18th of December and the 9th of January. There’s a part of me who’s hoping for the 20th of December so I can avoid all of the birthday stuff…

Me: Sorry guys, I would love to have a party… but, you know… cancer… so I can’t… Maybe next year, though. Love you. Bye. : D

Oh, and trust me… I’ve been making a ton of cancer jokes. I mean… if my choices are crying about it or making extremely inapproiate jokes about it… I’m totally going to joke and laugh.

I want to have the surgery before my winter break from school ends. Though, I still don’t know what I want to do with school yet. I haven’t told my instructors since it’s been holiday break.

At the moment I’m inclined to tell my family, “No. Don’t come”. It’s the holidays. Traveling is going to be a nightmare and ridiculously expensive for something that is a borderline outpatient surgery. I mean… everyone keeps making it sound like, “You’re sick. You go to the doctor. They make you better. You go home.” Why would I have people waste time and money to be there for something when in two to three days I’ll be back at work? Shouldn’t I be able to handle that alone without having to drag everyone through that emotional and financial expense?

It’s confusing. My friend Allison, who just had a baby not even two weeks ago, talked to me a bit about that part of the situation. Which, you want to talk about raining on someone’s parade…?

Me: Congratulations! By the way, I have cancer. How was childbirth?

She said that maybe Jason, Jon, and my dad WANT to be there. That it would make them feel better TO be there, rather than being home, by themselves, no knowing what’s going on. Not being able to see me before or after surgery.

She has a point. It’s not fair of me to make decisions for them. They’re adults. They can decide if seeing me in a hospital is something they can or cannot handle. It’s not my place to say if it is or isn’t. It’s not my place to take the choice away from them.

I won’t know until early this coming week when surgery will be. I have to make it through at least another day of work, maybe a day of school, with not knowing. What if it ends up being Christmas week when it’s my turn to work Sunday at the clinic since New Tech covered this past Sunday for the Thanksgiving holiday? What if I’m unable to cover my three days at the clinic?

Even though I’ve been told by my boss, who has also gone through something similar with her thyroid, not to worry about work, I’m me and I’m going to fucking worry, ok? Telling me not to worry is like telling me not to breathe. Let me get right on that…

I worry about my team. I love my team and this is going to affect them just as much as Ox or anyone else in my life. Maybe more so since I spend so much time working beside them.

It is going to take a bit of time to figure out the dosage of medication I’m supposed to be on. There’s math and stuff to help figure out a “right” dose but that’s more of a starting point rather than a miracle number. Every person is different and every person responds differently. We won’t know until about six weeks post-surgery if their numbers are working. If they aren’t, does the dose need to be increased or decreased? After the adjustment is made it will be another six weeks before lab work and be redone to see if the dosage is better or worse. Finding the right dosage is going to be a process, a long one, and during this time because the thyroid controls your metabolism and energy levels, my moods are going to be all over the place.

If my dosage is too low, I’ll be tired and fatigued, and not the kind that coffee and a shit ton of caffeine will help with. I will be physically, bone-achingly tired because my body can’t process energy the way it’s supposed to. If my dose is too high, I basically feel like I’m on speed, unable to sleep or focus. Unable to stop or sit still. Not all that awful aside from the health complications that go along with not sleeping and the potential heart arrhythmias… At least the apartment will be clean when I die? That’s a bright side, right?

So I’m supposed to go six to 12 weeks of potential “wtf” inside my body that I have absolutely no control over while going to nursing school three days a week and working another three at the clinic and only have Sunday off, ever, to do the rest of the shit that needs to happen in my life, like paying bills and laundry, food shopping and cooking, followup appointments, vet visits, mental and emotional breakdowns…

Yeah, all of life gets regulated to a single day next semester. How am I supposed to be successful at anything with everything I have going on?

I don’t have an answer for that either, at least not yet.

I want to talk to the head of the LPN program to see what my options are as far as school is concerned. I’ve already taken out loans for the program. What happens if I stop? Does the school refund the money? It’s not like I’m, “Naw. I’m not feeling this whole nursing thing. I’m going to go be couch potato instead.” I literally have cancer and I don’t want to have to worry about school assignments while I’m trying to be mentally and emotionally ok because I’m really not mentally and emotionally ok right now.

Can I sit out this coming semester? Maybe take a prerequisite for the RN program like Microbiology? Something online so I don’t have to worry about traveling anywhere on my days off from work but still something moving me in a forward direction and keeping me “active”? Could I hop back into the LPN program but do it full-time instead of part-time? I mean… I was already having to look at cutting back my time at work anyway since the part-time program meets Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. If I’m having to cut back at work anyway, why not get it done faster? If I can’t reenter the program full-time can I wait until the next occurrence of the part-time program? Would I have to redo the first semester even if I pass it? Would I have to pay for anything if I step back for a little while or would you guys hold onto the money I already gave you? How does all of this work? Am I fucked and I have to do next semester even though in any other situation I’m sure this would be a “qualifying life event”?

Why are all of these systems so fucking broken? Why are half of my worries even fucking worries? I’m worried about not dying and who will take care of my cats if I do. I shouldn’t have to worry about approval for the surgery and how fucked am I if I don’t keep trucking along at school.

And yet, here I am, having to figure all of it out because that’s how our systems work. I have to have approval to live.

I still need to cook meals for the week. I still haven’t put my clothes away from this past Monday. I haven’t touched schoolwork in a week, which luckily, it’s been the holiday break so there wasn’t really anything major to worry about. Still… I was hoping to use this week to get ahead for the final exam. Totally did not go how I thought it would and I can’t bring myself to care. I’ll figure it out somehow, just like I’m having to figure everything else out.

For now, I’m going to go and cook since I’m hungry and after that, I’m going to cross stitch because fuck it. It’s my only day off. The only day I haven’t had to call people and tell them, “Hey, funny story… I promise it’s really not that bad, but really I’m trying to convince myself of that, too, so hopefully, you believe me because I don’t have any energy left to convince myself.”

All of my problems and questions will still be there, waiting for me, regardless if I cross-stitch or not, so I’m going to because I want to feel like I did at least one thing for myself this whole week.

Fuck you, Cancer Kevin. You’re an asshole.

Daily Post 166: Decent Start


Today is off to a decent start. Better than the previous days. I’m recovering from the Mother’s Day blues. Most likely because I finally cried about it yesterday. Not only cried but screamed. I was in my car driving home from work. I had gone in to train our new tech on how to mix acid for the clinic. It went smoothly. She’s fully trained so I’m no longer the only person able to get the task done which is nice since it’s now a weekly chore that needs to get done. At some point, I need to train our new RN. Hopefully, that gets done in the next week or so.

But, yeah. I slept in a bit since I didn’t have to open the clinic. I went down, did my thing. Had a few donuts since one of the patients brought in fresh bakery baked donuts for the team. Did some microlearning videos during the points where all I could really do was sit around and wait. Got all of the techs skills checked off, then got in my car and still felt sort of crappy.

There’s been a lot going on lately. We might be getting custody of Ornery Ox. I got my official acceptance letter for the LPN program which starts at the end of August. There’s a bunch of stuff I need to get done with that in regards to financial aid, orientation, and books before class begins. I still need to get my second TB test done. There’s a new initiative at work for a PCT Advisory Committee which my FA and I talked about. I applied for it. I still have my leadership class going on. I’m still struggling with the whole health and working out thing more than not. There’s the heaviness of Mother’s Day. And the weather sucks again. It’s cold, rainy, and cloudy.

I’ve felt heavy most of this week. It’s been hard to get out of bed. I know I need to do things, but nothing is a legit need so it’s easier to not do a whole lot. Yesterday was the day it all sort of came to the surface and I was able to let go of some of that heaviness.

I cried. I screamed as I drove home. Not as loud or as long as I have in the past, but it still felt good to do. Or maybe a more accurate way of saying it is I felt better afterward for having done it. Cleaner. Less heavy. Flatline and mildly empty, but being flatline means I’m no longer below ground. I’m on solid ground. I’m baseline again with the chance, not guarantee, to go somewhere other than downhill again.

So here we are at today. I woke up at 3 am with Ox since he had work. I haven’t had work at all this week so far. I’ll be doing the next three days, but I’m ok with that since two of the days will be relatively short days. It’s been nice having such an extended time off. It’s actually worked out to where I’ve had more solitude than normal during these days off as well. I think that’s been helping.

My desk is still a bit of a mess but I’ve made it through all of my “in” pile that had built up. I’ve updated my calendar. I set up meetings with the deans to talk about my experience with the Human Anatomy class. That happens later today, hopefully after lunch with Ox if he gets off work early enough. It’s something I’m looking forward to so I hope it happens.

I’ve also been talking to one of Ox’s exes. He knows about it. I’ve written to her. We were supposed to meet this morning for breakfast but plans got canceled. I can’t say I’m super heartbroken over it since it means I have time to write and do laundry and shower and maybe go to the gym. It frees up a lot of time on this last day off and so I can appreciate the positive that is coming from not having to go out right after I have woken up.

My sister is also graduating from high school. I wrote a letter to her. I hope it extends an olive branch and allows us to begin having some sort of relationship. Since my dad and I were never very close after the divorce, my sisters and I have never been very close. I want to change that so I’m trying to.

I won’t know until the end of June if I make it onto the PCT Committee. My FA is extremely supportive of my application to it. It’s something new our region is doing to improve PCT retention and work culture and such for our PCTs. It’s something I feel strongly about and so I really hope it works out that I’m able to be part of it. I don’t really have love or anything for my company. I think of companies as faceless blobs that don’t care about their employees. I do, however, love my team. And I respect the higher management of our region, and as a PCT myself, I care about my fellow PCTs and the struggles they experience by working such a demanding job. I feel like things need to change culture wise to allow for better work/life balance and this is an opportunity to help make that change a reality. I want to make things better, so this is me trying to do that.

In the next month or two, I will also be going to Denver for preceptor training. That’s a two-day event. I guess I should talk to my FA about it again since I don’t remember the specific dates of the trip. I would rather be proactive than reactive in those regards.

I’m not really sure what else to write. I think that’s mostly everything. Jon is doing well with his new job at the hospital. I saw End Game with Ornery Ox and Ox on Sunday. It was an ok movie. I cross-stitched for a bit and listened to my new leadership book, which is only 7 hours this time. We’re working on cleaning out Papa Ox’s computer room so Ornery Ox can have his own room if we do end up with custody.

So I guess I’ll go for now. I might be able to do a class at the gym before lunch. I should be able to get a decent amount of chores done to help with the productiveness of the day. It’s sunny even though it’s still cold. But that’s a step in the right direction. So far, today, in general, is going in the right direction.

Daily Post 165: Moment by Moment


Today was alright. It’s rainy and dreary. I went into work to help with change over. My FA is back from her week-long meeting in DC. I’m glad to have her back. I think it did benefit the team for her to be out of the facility. We learned to trust each other. We learned how to function without her. At the same time, she learned that she can trust in us, too; that the clinic won’t burn to the ground without her here.

Currently, I’m in a bit of a low mood, though, and I know I am. One of our new patients passed away on Saturday. I didn’t know her well, but it still sucks. It still makes my body and heart ache with shared sorrow. She had a family. She had a life outside of the clinic and her absence is going to be felt by many people, just like mom’s was and continues to be.

It leaves me feeling… something which there aren’t words to express. Shared sorrow is the best I can do and like so many times before in my writing, it doesn’t feel like enough. Those words do not express the depth or complexity which are emotions. Maybe nothing ever truly can. Emotions are felt, not explained.

The rest of everything that has happened in my life feels trivial compared to the realness of life and death. Almost like it’s disrespectful to write about how my life continued to go on while her’s ended and yet I couldn’t have stopped my life anymore than the doctors could have kept hers going.

I went to Walmart and got two new skirts and a pair of shorts. I’m in smaller sizes than the last time I bought clothes. I went to the gym and had a good workout.

Sunday I went to my first “family gathering” with Ox. I met his aunts and cousins. For the most part, I spent the three hours sitting on the front porch enjoying the sunlight and breeze while cross stitching which sparked all sorts of comments from the family members. I felt extremely accepted. There was good food and good conversation. It wasn’t the horrific social event I had envisioned in my mind. I wasn’t shamed out of the home for having purple hair or tattoos.

I also had my first run-in with a tornado warning while Ox and I were out shopping after the family get-together. There’s a big difference between practicing a drill and real-life camping out in a Walmart layaway listening to nature rage around you. I made a post on Facebook to let everyone I was fine and that I made it home safe.

Saturday I spent the whole day sick and in bed. I slept about 16 hours and was better for taking it super slow and easy. Ox was amazingly fantastic in caring for me and allowing me to sleep the day and sickness away.

Lil’ Ox and I got to color a bit together Friday night once I got home from work. It’s the first time in a while that we’ve done something together. Ornery Ox even talked to me for a little bit Sunday during the family time. It was nice. I know I haven’t been extremely involved or present with the kids for a while. This weekend was a small step towards correcting that.

The past two weeks have been sort of rough, work-wise. I’ve been working five days. I can only imagine what they would have been like if I were still trying to take the Human Anatomy class. This coming week is most likely going to be more of the same, but next week should be a little lighter.

At the moment I don’t really think there’s much else to say. My heart isn’t in it right now; in writing, I guess. I don’t necessarily hurt, but I ache. One day at a time. One moment at a time. One task at a time. I’m sort of back to that I think.

Friday is my next day off. I think if I can make it to there then I’ll be alright. I know I’ll be ok. I know I’m not not ok right now. I’m just sad and that too is ok. Sometimes life is sad.

Daily Post 159: The Week Of Everything Changing


Written Sunday, March 10th
Edited Saturday, March 30th

Alright. Here we go.

I’ve known for about 10 minutes now that everything for my entire next week has changed and this is me trying to figure out how to get all of the millions of things I still need to get accomplished accomplished.

The change: The kids are not going back to their mom’s tomorrow. It’s spring break. She told both Lil’ Ox and Ornery Ox that they would not be staying with us this coming week. They would be going home to her. Not so anymore. She contacted Mama Ox and said the kids could stay until Friday evening.

I guess for most people that wouldn’t be a big deal. As an introvert that throws a massive giant wrench into everything in my life. Not just everything. EVERYTHING. Yes. A capital everything.

Right Brain: There’s going to be two additional people in the house to think about, plan around, and interact with. I need more than 24-hour notice for this shit. I need like a month’s worth of advanced notice. At least two-week notice. Two weeks is at least professional. How the hell am I supposed to just magically function when all of the solitude and quiet time I had been looking forward to has just been snatched from me? Blindsided. Yeah. I’m pretty sure that’s what this is because you told the kids it wasn’t going to happen, but oh look. Now it’s happening. This thing, this situation had a snowball’s chance in hell… I didn’t plan for this because it wasn’t an option. What the fuck? Fuck you, Universe.

Ok… Now that that’s out of my system…

This is where I get to practice Change Mastery from my first leadership book, I suppose. I know my initial internal tension to this situation is purely spurred by a sense of self-preservation and the threat that this change is going to interfere with all of the things I had planned to get done this week. To prove to myself that I can still get everything accomplished I’m going to write out my upcoming days. With a clearer view of my obligations, I’ll be better able to see how to handle my time.

Theoretical Monday: Wake up early for work. Survive work. Make sure to take pictures of patients for Wall of Fame. Potentially stay a bit late to start piecing things together, or work on piecing things together during my breaks. Come home. Put images of patients into .psd files so the pictures can be printed. Create .jpg files of images and put them on a flash drive so I can take them into town with me for printing. Make grocery list. Find a tailor shop that would be willing to do the stitching for the curtains needed for the Wall of Fame. Cook taco skillet for dinner. Go to sleep.

Actual Monday: Mostly successful. Woo.

Theoretical Tuesday: Potentially get curtains created. Go to campus to talk to Financial Aid about my award statement. Get pictures printed. Meet with Ox for lunch. Go to Wells Fargo for Dart account number. Do grocery shopping. Make sure to pick up a black poster board for the Wall of Fame (maybe two to be safe). Come home. Put groceries away. Make sure pictures are in the car so I can take them to work with me. Print out template of film cell of picture borders. Potentially cut borders for pictures from black poster board (might save for Thursday depending on time). Watch CPR class video. Print out certificate of completion to take to class on Thursday. Cook spaghetti for dinner. Go to bed early for work. I think that’s it for this day…

Actual Tuesday: Forgot patient information at work. Drove to Beatrice to retrieve information. Went to Beatrice campus to talk to Financial Aid. Did shopping in Beatrice instead of in Lincoln with Ox. Completed CPR video. No progress on curtain making. Files completed for pictures. Plans to print them at work Wednesday with FA’s printer and picture paper.

Theoretical Wednesday: Go to work. Survive. Potentially mix acid if the tank is low enough. Work on Wall of Fame during breaks. Stay late as needed to finish loose ends. Begin typing up essay for entry submission. Go home. Brisket for dinner (make sure Ox knows cooking instructions). Eat. Go to bed.

Actual Wednesday: Pictures printed. CVC packs made. Worked on pictures at home. No brisket for dinner. Can’t remember what it was changed to.

Theoretical Thursday: If unable to finish CPR video on Tuesday, finish Thursday morning. Go to work if needed to finish Wall of Fame. Come home. Eat early-ish dinner (Mama Ox will be cooking for the family). Go to CPR class. Get recertified like a bawce. Come home. Go to bed.

Actual Thursday: Worked on Wall of Fame stuff for a majority of the day at home. Figured out the curtains myself. Passed CPR class that night.

Theoretical Friday: Go to work. Survive. Potentially mix acid if unable to do so Wednesday. Complete Wall of Fame if needed. Submit entry for Wall of Fame if not already submitted. Go home (blessed silence). Burgers for dinner. Hot chocolate with peppermint Smirnoff as a reward for being a badass.

Actual Friday: Mixed acid. Completed Wall of Fame. Submitted entry.

With how back and forth I’m going to be between Beatrice and Lincoln it doesn’t really make sense to get a hotel room on any of the days the kids are here. Both Ox and Mama Ox have offered to help with the cost of getting rooms since they know I have a hard time sleeping while the kids are here and I have a lot on my plate at the moment. Nothing on my week’s overview accounts for wanting to make progress on my second leadership book. There’s no time allotted for personal time or decompression. No cross-stitching. Just wake up, go, sleep, wake up, go, sleep…

Ox has already explained to the kids that kick out time for the bedroom game systems is 7 pm, so I’ll be able to have a little bit of time “alone”. It might not be a true alone but I’m grateful that the family is pulling together to make sure that everyone is cared for and thought of, including me.

We’ve already sat down as a family, kids included and figured out the meals, which means my next step after this writing is making the shopping list. That was the biggest hurdle this past week; not knowing what to cook for dinners because no one gave me input on what they wanted so grocery shopping didn’t really happen. It was haphazard and sort of sucked for that part of my brain that thrives on structure and plans.

I need to print out or write down the information for my Finacial Aid meeting. I can save that for another day, though. I feel like I have a pretty good idea of what needs to happen and when. There’s more acceptance to the change now that a bit of time has passed. It’s not the awful change my poor little introverted brain thought it would be. Most of the days I’m going to be out of the house, and there’s the evening where I’ll have quiet time to look forward to. I can count on that time. My light at the end of my days.

We’ll see how it goes, but for now, at least I have a battle plan figured out so I can flex and change as life does. Go me. Let’s do this.

I survived the week of the 11th – 16th. I didn’t have a very strong sense of accomplishment when the Wall of Fame was completed. Most likely because my FA ended up helping me because she didn’t think it would get done on time, so things weren’t completed the way I wanted them to be. Quality is in the details, and some of the details were different than what I wanted as the designer. It’s over though. I don’t have to stress over it anymore and the patients love it. I’ve seen a few other entries for our region so I doubt we will win, but I like our wall and I guess in the end that’s all that matters.

I got the clinic to a good place since I had my vacation to Orlando the following week. I didn’t want to leave with things needing to be done and I got all of that accomplished along with the Wall of Fame project. I think I handled the week decently for what I was given.

Daily Post 158: Saturday Burnout


Writing from Saturday morning:

Work wasn’t awful yesterday. My FA was there for a bit in the morning but then had to leave to attend meetings in Lincoln. That left me with Float RN and New RN. We got everyone through their treatments and the clinic closed down on time. Go us!

I was dead by the time I got home. Sadly, the kids are here this weekend, so going to bed early wasn’t an option. I did crawl into bed with the lights off, but the TV in the living room was on and I could hear it. The kids kept running in and out of the rooms and chatting and being kids. It’s one of the pieces of friction with the home situation. I’m not able to have the solitude and quietness away from people when I need it, and yesterday and this morning were definitely times where I needed it.

I didn’t sleep well last night. I think I’m starting to fight off a cold again. I was congested for most of the night. I woke up several times even with using the Vix Vapor thingy we have in the room.

When I finally gave up on sleeping this morning, everyone was already up. The thought of having to cook breakfast and dealing with people being under my feet while I tried to do stuff or answering questions and just in general interacting with anything living that wasn’t a cat sucked. It all felt heavy. And that’s how my whole day was going to be; constantly surrounded by demands on energy I didn’t have to give.

The pervasive thought this morning is that it’s almost the three-year mark. Three years since mom died. Soon I will have to find another rose to add to her vase; a sign that I have once again survived to reach another year. A sign that I made it through all of the hard days, all of the good days, each and every day that ticked us closer and closer to “this” day.

It sucks. And knowing that I couldn’t have the one thing I wanted, to be left alone, made it worse.

I did end up making waffles for everyone. I used whole eggs this time instead of egg whites. I didn’t eat with the family, but I was told the waffles were good. I stepped outside with Ox for a cigarette after he had eaten. When I came back inside I curled up in bed under the covers with one of the cats. Mama Ox came to the doorway. Since the lights were off she couldn’t see me.

Mama Ox: Where did she go? It’s like she’s hiding. I thought she came in here but I can’t see her.

Right Brain: Um… yeah. I’m hiding. That’s sort of the point of hiding. To not be found or bothered.

Ox and I had some alone time. He let me cry. I had told him about a dream I had last night which might have added to the frustration I woke up with. I had been in the kitchen trying to do something, but there was trash everywhere that no one had thrown away. There was clutter and friction and all of this “stuff” that I had to work around or take care of before I could begin to do what needed to be done. It felt like I was the only one who cared and that made it all feel pointless. I can’t care for everyone. I can’t be the only one doing things all the time. That’s how people burn out and that’s what I woke up with; a burnt out feeling.

I’m glad to say that things are getting better. I’ve worked through all of the emails in my inbox that I didn’t get to on Tuesday. I’ve replied to posts and even an email from one of my uncles. I have a new niece. I doubt I’ll ever be very close to her, but I’m happy for my cousin. I hope she’s enjoying being a parent. I hope her daughter grows up to have a close relationship with her.

I proofread and posted my last writing. I’ve written this one, not that there’s really much to say. I feel tired. I feel emotionally drained. I still feel slightly confined though not as much as I was when I first woke up. I’m hoping to get through this weekend of rainy ickiness where the kids complain that they’re bored and how there’s nothing to do. I’m hoping one day I will have my dragon’s den and it won’t matter if the kids are here; I’ll still be able to sleep after an exhausting day of work. I’ll still be able to have my silence and solitude without interfering with everyone else’s life.

Today isn’t that day, though. Tomorrow isn’t going to be that day either. Right now I just need to breathe through the tension and realize this is a moment in time. Nothing is bad. Nothing is wrong. Everyone here loves me, it’s just not structured to the needs of an extremely introverted INFJ.

For today, I will be grateful.

I am grateful I had my mom in my life as long as I did. I’m grateful I still have her in my life in the ways that I do. I’m grateful that Ox loves me and tries as hard as he does to make me feel safe and cared for. I’m grateful for my life, even if it’s different than what I thought it was supposed to be.

Hopefully, I can remember those things when the tension starts to swell up again. I AM grateful. Even when things are hard and sad and I’m not alone like I want to be, I am grateful.

Written Sunday morning:

Today is off to a better start than yesterday. Granted, it’s only 6:30 in the morning, but already I have been equally as productive as I was for all of yesterday combined.

I woke up yesterday feeling out of it, and maybe that’s not the right way to describe it. I felt alright, just not up to the task of doing anything or socializing with anyone. It was one of those days where if I still lived in Orlando I would have slept all day and stayed in my room cuddling with Scarlet. Maybe if I had been feeling frisky I would have eaten something.

That’s not possible in the enviornment I live in now, though, and it most certainly isn’t possible while the kids are here.

I helped with breakfast yesterday, but I didn’t eat anything with the family. The bit of time I was in the kitchen with Mama Ox going back and forth and inserting her two cents on topics that didn’t matter and were mostly small talk that I had to fain instrest in had me frayed and feeling overwhelemed. It didn’t help that when I tried to go to the room to get away from it all, she followed me and commented about how I was hiding.

Yes. I’m hiding. Please respect that and leave me alone. >.<;

I wrote yesterday and continued with my posting for my leadership class. I have a handful of reflection sections left to post from the first book. I did buy the second book yesterday even though we won’t be working on it for the class until April. I figured since I’m going to be starting my Human Anatomy class soon that it would be better to try to get as ahead as possible. The next book is Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott. I don’t know much about it, but the audio book is over 13 hours. I may start it up today depending on how things go.

I did start a load of laundry yesterday, but that’s all I did with it. I just switched it over before putting my roast in the oven, so both of those things are going. I’m trying something different with my roast. I used a Grill Mates marinade with it this time since I like how it turns out with chicken so much. We’ll see if it’s a success in about an hour.

Ox and I did go to the store here in town yesterday afternoon. We needed milk and eggs. Mama Ox wanted a new container of cashews. I wanted shredded cheddar cheese for the leftover chili that no one is eating. I got a small bag of the Reese’s snack popcorn that I like.

Other than that, I took a three hour nap yesterday and did a bunch of nothing. I haven’t cooked dinner all week, which I guess isn’t as awful as it sounds. There were leftovers for some of the days, and the others Mama Ox cooked burgers or other simple, quick things that the family liked.

This wasn’t really the best week for me to do much, what with working late and having to travel. Maybe that was part of yesterday; burnout from a rougher week than I had thought it was.

I told Ox last night that I feel like I don’t handle things as well as I used to. I don’t know if that’s me getting older or still being broken from the ordeal that was mom’s death. I don’t remember crying as much during high school, though. I don’t remember feeling as overwhelmed and bombarded by small, simple social interactions. I also didn’t have to deal with them very much for the seven-ish years I lived in Florida. I was able to have my own room and to avoid the world when I wanted to. I still don’t have that option here and so maybe I’m the same it’s just the situations are different. Different stressors, different coping behaviors… I wish I knew.

Ox, for his part, was himself. Ridiculously understanding, supportive, and reassuring. He let me sleep during the day. He dealt with my grouchiness. He held me, encouraging me to take deep breaths when the tension started to build in my chest. He said two months. He doesn’t want me to sleep in the addition with it being so cold. He didn’t want me to sleep in my car either for the same reason when I brought that option up last night. I didn’t want to be away from home, so the thought of a hotel room didn’t sit very well with me.

I just want a quiet space here. A safe space. A “my” space where I belong and I have my things with me instead of them being packed away still in a storage unit I haven’t seen in roughly seven months. I keep thinking in the back of my mind that I’m going to unwrap my china and all of the pieces are going to be broken because of how cold it has been. It’s a shitty thought that doesn’t help anything when my brain is already being a terrorist.

I don’t really know where to go from here as far as my writing goes. Ox said two months. I have my trip next week to see my brother and dad and Mother Earth and Sir. I don’t have a lot of time while I’m there. Maybe I should have tried to plan this better. I don’t think I’ll have time to visit my home clinic. I don’t know if I want to see Warren while I’m there. It will most likely be like pulling teeth and I doubt any headway will be made in regards to the money he owes me. I would like to see my therapist before she retires. I would like to go to the dojo, but I don’t know if I should or not. I haven’t been going to the one here, and though I’ve been better about the gym this past week, I still feel like I’m behind in regards to the workout section of my life.

It was rainy and misirable all day yesterday and it’s suppposed to stay that way for a while. The tempratures are supposed to rise, though. Hopefully spring is arriving and all of this snow will melt and it will be sunny once again. I hope so. I really, really hope that I’m almost at the end of whatever this is and that I do good in school and my yearly review goes well and I eventually get my safe, quiet place and all of this tension and stress and apathy melt away with the snow.

Daily Post 157: An Early Morning Writing


I have a bit of time before work. Weird I know, but Ox and I went to sleep super early last night so I found myself awake at 1 am. After staying in bed, doing a bunch of nothing, I decided to get up and type through what I could of essentially another week of not writing.

Sunday was extremely nice. Ox worked on the addition. I finished listening to my book along with doing the reflection sections. I went to the gym. I want to say I cross stitched along with doing laundry, though laundry might have been Saturday. I don’t honestly remember. Pretty sure it was Sunday though since I didn’t get the chance to fold mine or put it away.

I made green curry which didn’t go over very well. I did get to try out all of the different kinds of veggie rice which I’ve been picking up here and there. Butternut squash. Broccoli. Beet… None of them were really all that awesome sadly. And I think I used too much of the curry paste since everyone mentioned it was too spicy for them. I thought it was pretty good with the cauliflower rice. Maybe a too much spice but it wasn’t bad. It was nice to have made it again after so long. Maybe next time will be better. It would have been nice to use shrimp instead of chicken.

Anywho, I slept well Sunday night. Physically and mentally I was tired and in need of rest. Monday was alright. I was with Float RN and New RN at work. We didn’t do awful. I did get home sort of late but that’s alright. I don’t remember what was for dinner… I think I had leftover green curry.

Oh. Something else for Monday… I went to the gym again. That night I had a dream about mom, which I’ll make a separate post about. I think it was a good dream. It answered an important question I have been asking myself.

Tuesday was sort of a low day. I woke up from the dream about mom which might have been why I was low energy, along with having been to the gym two days in a row. Meal planning hadn’t happened so I didn’t have a shopping list hanging over my head. I spent some time on the computer transferring the Grammarly writings for my reflections into Word documents so I could print them at work. Eventually, I went into town to meet up with Ox. We took care of the tags and registration for the Trax. After that, we went to my new sports bar for lunch. I haven’t been there in a while, so it was nice to go.

When we were done eating, I stuck around with my Chromebook and my cluttered stack of papers from home. I haven’t been keeping up with my “in” pile, so since I had a meeting at work I had to be to at 4:30, I figured I would kill some time before heading that way. I plucked away through the countless pages in my notebooks. Pages for school. Pages for work. Pages for personal to-do lists. Pages from meetings… So many pages, most of them no longer relevant or needed.

I went through each page, one by one, transferring the information still needed onto a new page; a master page. From there I could get a clearer view of my life. What things had fallen through the cracks, the lines? What tasks still remained scratchless through the months of eeking by that I’ve been doing?

I still need to have my FA fill out my TB test form for school. I had totally forgotten about that… I still need to submit my CNA form and CPR recertification. School’s not 100% officially done yet, but it’s a lot closer than it was. My new condensed master list gave me a regrouping point and tons of loose leaf pages of paper to fold up, marking them as taken care of and accounted for.

While I battled the pages of my life, Ox had gone to take care of some chores himself before heading home. About 30 minutes into the task of organizing my life, I got a phone call from him. He had found out some news financially which changed our time frame for paying things off. He was still nearby so I said for him to come back to me. It would be nice to take a break from all of the mental work I had been doing since he left. He said I was going to be mad at him…

My heart ached. Money can be frustrating and I agree with it being a sensitivity from my past that sometimes I don’t want to handle issues immediately, but the news he had told me wasn’t all that bad. It didn’t make me not want to see him. It most certainly didn’t make me mad. It made me want a hug to know that we were still ok.

Ox did come back to the sports bar for a few minutes after a bit of coaxing. I took a break from my tasks. We had a cigarette together. He explained the situation in full to me. We made a game plan for what we knew still needed to be taken care of. Things are still ok and I’m still not mad. I’m proud of both of us.

Ox left to go back home, for real that time, and I went back inside to continue figuring out my life. I ended up getting a text message from work saying the meeting was canceled.

Oh, darn… guess I’ll have to break out my sad face as I continue working on my stuff and listening to music without a deadline or a social interaction looming over me, said no introvert ever.

Since I didn’t have a time crunch on me anymore I finished up with my papers. I even got to type up the recipes I’ve been using so often, finally. FINALLY. That’s only been on every to-do list I have made for nearly the past month. The recipes aren’t formatted fully. No prettiness with different sized fonts or bloded section headings, but all of the information is in the computer finally. Maybe that can be my project this weekend or during the downtime of my upcoming vacation.

I even got to do other tasks with my freed up time, like setting the cards for my upcoming travel so they don’t get locked down. Woo!

Once I felt satisfied with all of my productivity and accomplishment, I came home. Mama Ox made dinner. I read the writing about my dream to Ox. He held me afterward as I cried and let my heart chakra heal more. I booked a hotel room in Omaha for Wednesday night since Thursday I had my leadership class. Eventually, we went to sleep.

Wednesday I worked with my FA and New Nurse. It was good to see my FA but I could tell she was tired. The day went smoothly. New Nurse and I are getting along. I printed out all of my reflection writings and put them in a binder with page dividers at the beginning of each chapter. It’s nice and clean and organized. My binder is thicker than the book I read… Yeah… -_-;

I got a bunch of other tasks done for work. It was a nice day. When I left I drove home. I had to take care of something with the car insurance when I got home, but that got figured out and resolved rather painlessly. I heated up dinner and ate. I packed up everything I wanted to take with me to the hotel. Ox helped carry my things out to the car. I headed north, stopping for gas along the way.

Mother Earth and I were supposed to chat on my drive up but that didn’t work out as planned. I chatted with a former student for the hour and a half drive instead. It was good to catch up with him. I messaged Mother Earth when I arrived at the hotel to see if she still wanted to talk, but she was watching a movie, so we rain checked our conversation for a later time.

Ox and I talked for a little bit. There were tons of things I could have done. I had my laptop so I could write. I had my cross stitch, so I could stitch. I had gym clothes so I would work out in the fitness room… Instead, I went to sleep. I know that sounds lame, but I was tired. I set my alarm for 6 am thinking maybe I would hit the gym before getting ready for my class, instead.

I had a hard time sleeping that night. I kept waking up only to roll over and go back to sleep. I woke up before my alarm to a group text message at 5:45 am saying my DSS class was canceled due to the weather. That was after receiving an email while I was at work addressing another class mate’s concern over driving in the icky weather. Class wasn’t going to be canceled so plan drive time accordingly… Well… now class is canceled because school’s are going to be closed for the day. Sorry guys. We’ll let you know when it’s rescheduled.

Whatever. At that point, fuck it. I’m going back to sleep. It was still snowing. The roads were awful. There wasn’t a point in getting up and I really couldn’t do much of anything where I was at. I couldn’t work on my work projects. I couldn’t go grocery shopping, not that we had ever figured out a shopping list to begin with… It was cold with a six-inch tall wall of snow between me and my car… Yep. It’s the perfect time to simply not worry. It’s quiet, silent. I’m alone. I’m just going to be for a while, even if that means sleeping until I feel awake.

When I woke up again I went to the lobby and had breakfast. I talked to Jon for a little while. It was an unexpectedly chill and relaxed morning.

Around 10 am I trudged out to my car and got most of the snow brushed off. I was even able to make it out of my parking spot despite the wall of snow the plow had left behind me.

Right Brain: Go, Awesome Little Car! You can do it! I believe in you! You show that snow who’s bawce!

The drive home wasn’t terrible. The further from Omaha I got, the better the roads were. Lincoln didn’t get near as much snow as the areas further north did. Despite mostly clear roads, I was still glad to be home and out of the car after my drive. Ox was running behind at work due to the weather. I was grateful to see him when he got home. There was tons of sexy time, hence why the early bedtime that night. Definitely made up for not going to the gym.

I slept well, I think. I feel mostly rested though I know with being up so early today that I’ll be exhausted by the time I get home. I still have 15 minutes before I need to “get up” so I think I’m going to crawl back into bed and cuddle with Ox. I didn’t expect to get through writing, to be honest. I’m glad I did, though. One less open loop in my brain to contend with.

Daily Post 155: Finding the Words


So far today is going better than Tuesday. It’s almost 7 am. I woke up at 6ish. I stayed in bed for a bit with the cats, knowing Mama Ox would be awake soon. I was trying to avoid over socializing so early in the morning. My bladder wasn’t on board with that idea, though, so I found myself up and about.

I’ve made coffee. I’ve eaten most of my breakfast. The remainder of both are sitting in front of me as I type.

Mama Ox and I had a brief conversation about why I had inquired about Photoshop being on Papa Ox’s computer last night. We’ve talked about teas and different things to help fight off sickness since she’s been extremely congested this week.

Overall, it wasn’t the horrific dreaded task it usually feels like; talking to people. It was actually… mildly pleasant… I think.

Yesterday wasn’t as awful as Monday. The new RN was there. She shadowed my FA for most of the day, learning the nursing side of things. How to give and chart meds. How to chart in the computer systems. Things like that which I know the theory behind, but have never actually had to do since I’m not a nurse, yet.

I mixed acid yesterday. It went smoothly. The whole processes. No hiccups. No bumps in the road. It was awesome. The PD nurse drove down to talk to several of our patients about home modalities for their treatment. Instead of coming to the clinic for four hours three days a week, they could stay at home and do their treatments at night while they sleep. It’s a much more lifestyle friend form of treatment. I know I personally would rather that option or self-cannulation, but then I’ve worked through my fear of needles and I trust myself more than others.

Anywho. The PD nurse was there. The social worker was there. The dietitian was there. And the nurse practitioner rounded as well. It was a party.

We were actually running ahead of schedule. We would have been out early except one of our first shift patients had issues with his standing blood pressure again, which caused our last second shift patient to start late. At least the lateness wasn’t our fault. It wasn’t because we were throwing up our hands and being shitty workers. It was something outside our control and sometimes you just have to roll with it so we did.

I was able to make needle packs as well. New Tech hadn’t been able to get to them Friday last week, which is fine. If that’s the only thing that didn’t get done, then the week was a success in my book. Needle packs are super easy and I don’t mind doing them. I also got some in-service training done.

So yeah. A much better day. Things aren’t getting better for my FA as far as the personal matters requiring her attention. I wish there was more I could do to lighten her workload. I feel the only thing I can do is continuing being a worker she can rely on, so that’s what I’m doing.

I cried most of the way home after work. Even screamed like how I did when mom was first hospitalized and the times when my grief is so intense. I don’t know what it was about yesterday that triggered that type of event for me. Maybe it was left over frustration from Monday on top of all the emotional and mental work I’ve been doing for my leadership class along with my companion of Grief who I seldom give enough time to.

I’m not sure. But when I felt the urge to cry I didn’t try to stop it. I embraced it and when it built to the point of screaming I didn’t give myself shit. Instead, I thought about how I hadn’t screamed in a while. Maybe it’s what I needed. No other cars were around me. I was driving through the middle of nowhere Nebraska. If there were ever a time to do it, now was it. So I did.

I screamed and screamed and eventually, I found the words I wanted to say.

“I miss you. Goddamnit. I miss you, mom. I love you. I want you to meet him. I finally found someone you would be proud of and you’re not here. He buys me waffle makers and is so kind and actually loves me. He wants me to be his wife and I want to be a wife for him. I want to wear a dress and have you tell me I’m pretty and I would actually have a kid with him so you could be a grandma and you’re not here. In a few years, I’ll actually be able to afford potentially having a kid. I finally have my shit together. I’m finally not a fuck up and you’re not here. I’m sorry and I’m sorry for being sorry.”

I could feel her with me as I drove. I felt her the whole way home. If felt good to talk to her.

Ox came outside when I got there because I wasn’t ready to go into the house yet. He hugged me and asked me what was wrong. I told him about my drive home; how I missed mom and it sucked.

He mentioned that Mama Ox wanted to cook dinner again, which I was ok with. I didn’t have it in me to arm wrestle for the task. After eating, I poked around on my computer for a bit. I didn’t stay up much longer after dinner. Ox found a small space heater for our room. I had mentioned that I had been painfully cold for the past few nights and that I felt it was one of the reasons I haven’t been sleeping well.

I slept with the electric blanket wrapped around my feet again. I think the space heater and the blanket helped. I slept the whole night, without Benadryl or alcohol to force me into slumber. I woke up when Ox was getting ready for work. We didn’t have a cigarette this morning, which I think I”m ok with. I’ve been smoking less and less. It’s getting to the point where I can’t finish a whole one on my own. I get to the halfway point and physically I’m done. I can’t do more.

While I do enjoy my morning minutes with Ox, having him hug and kiss me goodbye while I was still wrapped up and warm in bed as also nice. I was able to go back to sleep for a few hours with the cats curled up around me.

And so here I am, a bit later, rested, emotionally even. Not really flatlined. But not jagged and broken either. I think crying yesterday helped. I think it was a good cry. A cleansing cry.

I have ideas of what I want to do today, but I’m not really sure what’s going to get done. I want to shower and go to the gym to see if that fosters more warmth and movement, motivation, within myself. I want to create the mockup image of the Wall of Fame which is why I wanted Photoshop. I want to finish flushing out the grocery list since Ox and I are supposed to meet in town for lunch and shopping. I would like to finally, FINALLY, do something about all the recipes I’ve been trying out. And there’s the ever-present leadership book that I found out has eight chapters, not six, so while I’m still past the halfway mark, I still have three chapters to go… ;-;

I need to go to the school at some point and talk to Finacial Aid. I want to make a hair appointment to have my ends cleaned up and maybe get my brows waxed before my first class meet for the leadership course. That’s coming up. Next week actually. Oh, god. >.<

I think today will be an ok day. I think I’ll get a decent amount of things done.

Musing Moment 129: LFTIO – Story 2

DSS Leadership – Assignment 6.2
Book – “Leadership from the Inside Out”

For the 2-3 most impactful and formative experiences and / or relationships, tell the entire story here:

Story 2 – Learning to Say Hello

My parents divorced when I was fairly young, around the age of 10 or so. The divorce was extremely hard for all of us. It fractured our family and none of us, my brothers nor myself, ever fully recovered from it.

My dad and I were estranged for a long time. Birthdays were missed. Christmases passed without phone calls or cards. Seats were left empty at significant events. My dad went on to remarry and to have two other daughters. Having been the only girl growing up, I had always wanted sisters, and now here I was, with not one, but two half-sisters who I didn’t know; two sisters which felt like had replaced me.

What did my dad need me for? He had two other daughters now who would grow up and have first dates and graduations and school events. They would have him to walk them down the aisle and hold their firstborns. They would have lives that he would be there for and I would forever continue to be this annoyingly weak little girl on the inside who just wanted daddy to say he’s proud of her.

After I graduated from college, a bachelor’s degree in two years, advanced achiever for my class, this amazingly successful student with yet another empty seat at a speech my dad was not present for, I had a realization. This was to be my relationship with him. He and I would always be a missed connection. This thing, this child-father bond, would always be an elusive thing that I was never meant to have or understand in this life. That’s what I resolved myself to. That was the closure I had thought I found after all of the hurt and pain I had felt due to his absence in my life.

Then came the day my mom was hospitalized.

I woke up at 3am on March 23rd for no reason. I looked at my phone morbidly curious about how much time I had let to sleep before having to wake up again to bike myself to work. Instead of seeing the time I saw an endless wall of text messages from my brothers and sister-in-law saying I needed to call my older brother, Jason. Countless missed phone calls where they all had tried to reach me while I slept.

I called my older brother.

“What happened?” No, “How are you? Is everything ok?” No minced words or beating around the bush.

“Mom’s in emergency surgery. They don’t think she’ll make it. I think you need to be here.” His tone was calm. No hint of fear or uncertainty. Just facts and information.

“I’ll let you know when I have a plane ticket,” I said. I was already getting out of bed, my partner sleepily stirring next to me asking me what was going on. My brother would not have used the word “need” unless it was a legitimate need. I wasn’t going to ask permission to go. I wasn’t going to wait for work to give me the green light to be absent. I was going and everyone would have to figure out their part in the situation on their own.

I called my boss. I explained my mom was in the hospital and I had a one-way ticket and I didn’t know when I would be back. He said to take care of myself and he would fill my spot while I was gone. My partner drove me to the airport so he could use the car while I was gone to get to and from work.

I spent four agonizing hours on a plane not knowing if my mom would be alive when I landed. You never really understand just how long four hours can be until you spend it begging the Universe with literally every fiber of your being. “Please just let her be there. Please just let her hold on. Please just let me say goodbye. Just one last goodbye. Take all of my karma. Take literally anything, everything, else. Please. Please just let me have one more goodbye.”

You don’t realize how alone you are, how much no one else cares, until you spend those four hours in your own personal hell, facing your greatest fear while the dude next to you listens to music on his iPhone casually skipping through songs on his playlist he apparently didn’t want to listen to or until the hostess asks you if you want something to drink or a single serving bag of peanuts to tide you over for the trip as if the trip is a normal everyday thing and not a sick, twisted version of Schrödinger’s cat where you’re the cat wondering if your mom going to be alive when you land and are finally let out of your metal box.

You don’t realize your own insignificance until you see the world continuing to relentlessly turn while everything inside of you screams for it all just to stop. Your wants, your begging, your inner screaming and soul-crushing fears mean absolutely nothing in the face of Universal power.

You, a mere mortal, cannot stop time. You are powerless, weak, fragile, fleeting and small. All you can do is breathe. In and out. In and out. One breath at a time. One heartbeat at a time. All you can do is beg over and over again inside your mind even though begging does nothing. You know it does nothing, and yet you cannot help it. You cannot stop it, no more than you can stop that relentless, continuous turning of the world. Begging is the only thing you have to cling to. The only thing you have to keep you sane while people skip their songs and chew on peanuts and sleep restful sleeps as all their lives continue while yours shatters around you into nothingness.

I remember seeing my sister-in-law, Lio, at the airport. My older brother had stayed at the hospital. Mom had made it through the surgery against all odds and was currently in ICU. I remember walking down the corridor with Lio to mom’s room. I wanted to run. My body physically hurt with how much effort it took to restrain myself, to walk calmly, collectedly, holding all of my emotional shit together as I drew closer and closer to the door where I didn’t know what I would find.

I hated life. I hate myself. I hated the hospital with its sterile halls and smiling, helpful faces. I hated society and its oppressive demand to be presentable and collected and in control all the time. I hated all of it and yet I couldn’t show any of it. I wanted to scream that it wasn’t fair. What had my mom ever done to deserve this? What I had done? What wrong had we committed and to who? How had that wrong been so bad that this was the only way for karma to atone?

At what point is it acceptable to not be presentable, to not be collected? At what point would people be sympathetic, empathetic and not think that you are simply overreacting or handling it poorly? At what point is it ok to not be ok?

Seeing my mom laying there in the hospital bed, surrounded by wires and machines with numbers I didn’t understand and beeping sounds all around her was hard. It was hard to breathe. My body didn’t want to. My mind didn’t want to accept this sight as real and yet there was no way to hide from it, deny it, or change it into anything other than what it was. This was my life. This was my mom. This was my reality.

She looked so tired. So weak. She hadn’t known who I was when she had surfaced briefly from her sleep. She knew who Jason was, my older brother, but to her, I was Lio. Not Jennifer. To her, I wasn’t her daughter.

Locially, rationally, I knew her confusion was from the fog of medications. It was still the worst feeling I had ever felt. My mom was so close. I could hold her hand. I could feel her and she was alive and she was talking to me and yet at the same time, she was so very, very far away and out of reach and I didn’t know if I would ever get her back again.

I stayed the night with her that night. During the quiet darkness, she woke up for the first time. Truly woke up. I watched as her eyes moved around the room before settling on me. I saw recognition tinged with confusion in her eyes.

I took her hand gently in mine, forcing myself to speak. I was alone. No one could help me through this.

“Do you know who I am?” I asked. I was terrified. Terrified of her answer. Terrified that she wasn’t back. Terrified that she was never coming back and this was Fate’s sick way of tormenting me. Four hours seemed so short in comparison to the handful of seconds it took for my mom to answer me.

She rolled her eyes at me the way only mom could as if to say, “What type of a silly question is that?”

“You’re Jennifer,” she said in a weak, but very distinctly “mom” tone of voice.

My soul had never been happier. I don’t know how I kept from crying the sense of relief I felt was so intense. No matter what else happened, my mom knew who I was and knew I had been there. I could make it through the rest of anything else because I had seen my mom one last time. The Universe had listened and heard my screams and given me the only thing I would ever ask for again.

Eventually, my younger brother made it back to the states from Germany where he had been stationed with the Army. When he got there, the three of us stood outside mom’s room trying to figure out what needed to happen.

“Does dad know?” I asked.

“I haven’t told him and I’m not going to,” replied my older brother with such a tone of finality I knew to not press the topic with him.

“I haven’t talked to him,” my younger brother answered sheepishly as if he wasn’t sure if that was the right answer or not.

“I feel like he has a right to know,” I said, and so I found myself being the liaison between my fractured family and my dad. I told him about mom being hospitalized. I kept him posted for the two weeks we were there, and in the end, I was the one to tell him about her death. I was the one who made the phone call while standing in front of a window looking out at the mountains surrounding Las Vegas with the sun shining in all of its afternoon glory, explaining that my sun had died. Mom hadn’t gotten better and we weren’t going home and I didn’t know what else to say because we were still trying to figure everything out.

It felt like the words would choke me. That I would die, strangled to death simply from speaking such information and yet I knew I would have to keep speaking it, over and over again to countless people until I eventually, hopefully, went numb to it and no longer felt the gaping hole within my chest that no one could see but that I could so clearly feel.

My dad said that he knew he wasn’t on good terms with “the boys” but would it be ok if once things were finalized if he came to pay his respects. I was taken aback in that moment. Even in my shocked, numbed, feelingless state over mom’s death, I could recognize the significance of him, the parent, to be asking me, the child, if he could do something. I was no longer a child. I was an adult, and if I wanted, I could say no.

No, you left us. You have no right to be there. No, you can’t come say goodbye. No, you were never there for us in the past so you don’t deserve to be here for us now.

I could have said so many cruel and hurtful things; all of the things I had wanted to say for so many years… and yet I couldn’t.

“This isn’t about what Jason or Jon or I want. This is about mom and what she would have wanted. I think she would have wanted you to be able to say goodbye and to have closure,” I replied because that was the truth. Mom would want everyone to have their own form of peace with her death, regardless of how life had played out. You can’t live with someone for however many years, have two children with them, share that many memories and moments, both good and bad, and not still have some sort of emotion for them. I had no right to deny my dad his closure regardless of how wronged I wanted to feel over our relationship.

We had a service for mom in South Carolina. I was the one who retrieved her urn once her ashes were back. I was the one who flew with her urn in my backpack because the only other option was having her urn shipped through the mail like a common UPS package. I was the one who watched as TSA scanned her urn while I shakily held out clutched papers saying through vocal cords that didn’t want to work, “I’m supposed to give these to you.”

“It’s ok,” he replied in an understanding voice as he waved his scanner over the blue marble verifying that it wasn’t some bomb I had planned to use to blow up the airplane.

“I’m sorry for your loss,” he said. His words were heartfelt. I could tell they were and yet the only thing I could do was nod my head, silent tears rolling down my cheeks as I took the urn back from him. It was all I could do to not break down in the middle of the airport as I put the remnants of my mom back into my bag, shouldering the weight of the marble onto my back and continuing to my terminal.

I was so tired. Of all of it. I was tired of crying. I was tired of having dreams about spiders invading my room. I was tired of talking to people. I was tired of making phone calls and of explaining my situation and figuring things out and closing accounts. I was tired of breathing and yet there was so much still left to do. So much… so very, very much…

I met my dad the day before the service. He took me to get pictures of mom printed for the service and to buy picture frames for them since I didn’t have the money to afford a rental car. We went to the service together. I shook hands and greeted people and accepted their condolences. I was now the matriarch of my family and this is what I had to do. I had to be ok because people needed me to be ok. I had to be strong. I had to hold it together. I had to be an adult.

That night, my dad took my younger brother and me out to dinner with a close family friend who had also come to pay his respects. For the first time since mom had died, I had a drink. For the first time, I was finally not the one having to be responsible or figure shit out or pay the bill. I had another drink after the first one, and for the first time in two weeks, I didn’t hurt as much. It still sucked, but I found myself smiling as we shared stories and remembered good times.

After dinner, my dad drove all of us to a bar where I continued to drink. I didn’t have to worry about being the designated driver. I didn’t have to worry about being alone or how I was going to get back to my hotel.

For the first time in two weeks, I could be a hurt, lost child becasue through all of the trials life and forced me through in such a short amount of time, I still had a parent physically at my side to make sure I stayed safe and ok. He made sure I knew that even though it might feel like it, that I wasn’t alone and I would one day be ok and that both he and mom were proud of how I had handled myself throughout everything. That I had done amazing and they were so very, very proud and they both loved me great big bunches and it would be ok.

My dad may not have been the best parent growing up, but my dad was legitimately there when I needed him to be there. My mom’s death taught me that all of the hurt and resentment I had over missed marching band competitions and Christmas cards was so insignificant when faced with mortality and the realness of death.

Was I going to let petty childhood expectations steal the only parent I had left, or would I, could I, learn to grow past that in order to have a relationship as an adult with another adult; flaws and all?

While my mom’s death has been the hardest, “I’ll see you later,” I’ve ever had to say, it allowed me to legitimately grow up and to be an adult with clear values and priorities. It gave my dad the chance to step forward and to be there in spite of all the times he had chosen otherwise. My mom’s death gave us both a clearer perspective of how important and meaningful our relationship is. He learned how to say, “I’m sorry.” I learned how to say, “I forgive you.” We both learned how to say, “Hello.”