Monday, September 27, 2010

Sick Day Thoughts

I awoke with a hacking cough that I couldn't get rid of and decided, for once, to be a good nurse and take a sick day. I made the necessary phone calls and went back to bed. Minus bathroom and phone call breaks I slept from 8 PM until 10 AM. So I guess I needed it.

I'm now watching an marathon of X-Files episodes that I recorded. The one on now stars the wonderful Tony Shalub as a physicist with a bit too

Sick Days are very difficult for me. I hate to come back after a sick day. I feel like I've played hooky - even when I'm really sick. I like being lazy but I hate being lazy when I feel crappy. I feel crappy but also feel like I should be doing something constructive - like writing or getting out Halloween decorations. Dragging out decorations will get me coughing again. I feel too crappy to concentrate on writing more than this blog.

So I guess I'll brew a cup of tea, nice and strong with some honey, and go back to Mulder and Scully. At least I'm taking notes on ideas for X-Files inspired stories (finding a dead elephant in a South American jungle was one)- and other interesting tidbits: like Fox's badge number. Yep, jotted it down. Ya never know when something like that can be important.

I wonder if I can find an FBI badge at a flea market.....
Yeah - I really want to be Mulder, even if I've written that I'd like to be Blomkvist.   Maybe there's not that much difference between to two: Don Quixotes  tilting at windmills.
Mulder's were just harder to see.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Dream...or Nightmare

I had the dream again.
THAT dream.
I dreamed that I was working as a general duty nurse, an RN, on a nursing unit - maybe a hospital, maybe a nursing home, could have been either, or both....knowing my dreams.

I was in charge of the unit. I'm always in charge in the dream - I was the Charge Nurse, the Unit Manager. But I didn't know how to divide up the staff and the patients...I was having problems making the assignments for the shift. I can still see the paper in front of me...I can still feel the frustration of trying to assign residents to staff.

First off the staff weren't wearing name tags. I couldn't tell if they were RNs, LPNs or aides.
And then I didn't know how many patients I had. How big was the unit? How big were the rooms? What was wrong with the patients? All things I needed to know to make an assignment. All things I didn't know but was trying to figure out.

In my dream I decided to "make rounds" - I walked from room to room. Actually it was ward to ward - many patients, 6, 8 or 10, in a large ward. There was no running water, no bathrooms, little privacy.
My nightmare hospital ward was populated by patients with IVs, tube feedings, oxygen. Patients were dying, they were confused and restrained, they were in pain. People were crying, yelling. Their linens were soiled. I was in charge of this hell. I was frantic with the responsibility because I was "in charge".

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I realized I was dreaming. I made myself wake up. My heart was beating fast, tachycardia. I laid a hand on my chest and I could feel the pounding. I had to meditate to bring the rate down.

I have this nightmare at least several times a year. The nightmare of returning to general duty nursing, a job I never really wanted, but one I did for more than 20 years.

Of course the nursing ward from hell is not a reality. But the work and the overwhelming responsibility is.
Thank goddess it was a dream.
I never want to return to the reality.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


I am looking forward to it.
I'm looking forward to getting up when I want.
I'm looking forward to walking "the block" with Morgan in the cool morning air.
I'm looking forward to spending my mornings writing and my afternoons reading.
But yesterday, as I sat in the back of Northampton Community Center where some of us were giving a presentation to almost 100 people from our facilities, I was thinking about another part of retirement.
I would miss these people, some of whom I've worked with for more than 20 years.
I would miss being a resource.
I would miss the camaraderie.
I would miss the friendship.
But I'm still looking forward to retirement and coming back to see everyone when I have some free time.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Why Do DUMB Stuff While Driving...

I had an AHA! moment while driving across Pennsylvania on the PA Turnpike last week.
Now let me get one thing straight: I love the Turnpike; the new rest stops look great and I love getting my Starbucks fix every 30 or so miles, not to mention the great new toilets.
However, driving is boring, especially when it's the same route to the same place over and over and over...
I listen to audio books.
So, I'm not usually bored. But the AHA-moment came when I'd pulled out onto the turnpike after a stop and had yet to hit "play".  I tooled down the highway and thought, "What a waste of time..."
That's what people think...people who call, text, read their Kindle (Yep - there was a news item about a bus driver who did just that - must have been some book)...
Driving, for many people, is a waste of time. "May as well get some other stuff done while I'm driving..."
Hmmm?! Not if I'm anywhere near you, you shouldn't. I value my life.
That's why I love the rest stops along the PA Turnpike. That's when I call, text or read my Kindle...
When I've come to a full stop and the car is in park and maybe even while I'm sitting inside.
People get bored while they're driving. Life is so fast-paced anymore that we have so much to do, maybe too much to do. Too much to get done in the time we have.
So why not make use of the down-time while driving?
Just don't. Please, just don't.
Pull into a parking place, turn off the car before you turn on the phone.
Especially if you want more time...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Retirement Age...

...should be raised. At least that's what some believe. We're living longer and many people think that living a third of one's life "on vacation" is unpatriotic - us geezers should just keep on working.

Well, now - seeing as how many of the people proclaiming that have sedentary jobs as pundits, I must disagree.

I've spent 45 years in nursing: 3 years as a student nurse (during a time when we were "labor" in a hospital) and 42 years as an RN. I'm tired. I'm not only tired but I have structural issues in my spine, slipped discs and degenerative disc disease from many years of lifting patients without mechanical devices (a relatively new phenomena that happened when insurance companies realized it was cheaper to pay for mechanical lifts than worker comp claims.)

While working I've been kicked, punched, bitten and hit over the head with a large glass bottle,  knocking me unconscious. I've been verbally and physically abused. I've worked double shifts and even 24 hour shifts because weather prevented the next two shifts from coming on duty. I've worked in six bed wards with no running water, making countless trips up and down hallways just to bathe patients. Most of my nursing life was spent working without air conditioning. For half of my professional life I worked every other weekend. There was a time when I worked every Christmas Eve and Christmas. After my daughter was born I worked evening shift and never got home before midnight.

Forty-two years ago I started out earning less than $4/hour as an RN. I had no pension and no 401k. My health insurance didn't include maternity benefits and when I got pregnant right after getting married, I had to pay for everything before the baby was due - to the hospital where I was employed.

My present job is stressful. Last year I had an episode of accelerated hypertension, spent time in the hospital and finally needed a stent in a renal artery. I'm on lots of medication, including anti-anxiety and antidepressants. I travel across the state for my job - driving myself - which doesn't help my back.

I'm tired. I want to retire at 65, not 66, not 67, not 70.
There are other things I want to do with my life - whatever life I have left.
I keep thinking that my mother died at 69.
I want more time with Morgan, with Heather, with myself - not more time with a job.

What's Up with This?

From the great blog: comes an unbelievable story:

School Suspends Crying Son of Murdered Man Because His Eyes Were Red

A high school in the town of Trophy Club, TX suspended a 16-year-old boy because he came to school with bloodshot eyes. School administrators say that's enough to make the case he was using marijuana.

When the boy's mother called the school to explain that the boy had been crying because his father had been murdered, the school said the boy could return to school, provided the boy pass a drug test.

He took the test, and was allowed to return to school.

The boy's mother says she is trying to get the district to remove the suspension from his permanent record. Administrators told her she must go through the formal appeals process for that to happen.

And that's how it works in the happy hamlet of Trophy Club, TX.

Mitzi's note: It's time to re-evaluate the drug-paranoia in this country and what we may be doing to our children because of it.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Morgan's Bookshelves

Morgan said he was going to build bookshelves over the sofa on the sun porch. He did!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

What Is Done Because of "Beliefs"

 This story came from CNN via the wonderful blog: and I though it was definitely appropriate for today. Our "beliefs" can destroy...

Belize Animal Sanctuary Burned to Ground...Villagers Believe Missing Children Fed to Crocodiles

CNN - An American couple in Belize struggled Tuesday to figure out their future, their dreams literally up in smoke after a mob of indigenous Mayans burned down their animal sanctuary in the belief the foreigners fed two missing children to crocodiles on their property.

Cherie and Vince Rose moved to the tiny Central American nation in 2004 to form a 36-acre sanctuary for two species of endangered crocodiles found in Belize -- the American and Morelet's crocodiles.

Bit by bit, their hope turned into reality. They built a two-story octagonal house that rested on stilts and reached 30 feet into the air. They constructed two smaller cottages to house researchers and students. They dug out two acres of canals for the crocodiles. They acquired two boats.

They called the place the American Crocodile Education Sanctuary.

Most of it vanished Sunday morning, when a throng of angry villagers from a settlement about 10 miles away torched the buildings on their property. A local psychic had told the villagers that the Americans had fed the two missing children to the 17 crocodiles at the sanctuary, police say.

The Roses were rescuing three crocodiles on a distant island at the time, so were not home to ward off the attack -- or possibly suffer a gruesome fate.

"It was like something out of a Frankenstein movie," Cherie Rose said Tuesday. "If we'd been home, they would have killed us. They said they were going to chop us up and feed us to the crocodiles."

National police confirm that the indigenous Maya villagers were acting on the advice of a psychic who said the Roses had something to do with the August 7 disappearance of 11-year-old Benjamin Rash and his 9-year-old sister Onelia.

"They have their own superstitions," Deputy Police Commissioner James Magdaleno said about the Maya, who make up about 10 percent of Belize's population. "Because of their beliefs, they decided to take the law into their own hands."
No arrests have been made, the deputy commissioner told CNN.
"We don't know who burned the house," he said. "That is still under investigation."
Police also questioned Vince Rose about the missing children, but no connection was established, Magdaleno said Tuesday.
For the Roses, the drama unfolded in excruciating slow motion from far away.
They traveled August 29 to rescue some crocodiles on Ambergris Caye, a Caribbean Sea island off the northeastern coast of Belize. Their sanctuary in Punta Gorda is on the Caribbean coast in southeastern Belize, more than five hours away by land and airplane.
On Friday, September 3, the couple received phone calls from friends saying that truckloads of people from the village of San Marcos were on their way to the sanctuary to burn it down. The Roses sent their caretaker to the compound, but everyone was gone by the time he got there. The area around the two cottages had been trashed, though.
The Roses got more calls from friends Saturday, again telling them that villagers with shotguns and machetes were on their way to the sanctuary. The caretaker was afraid to go there, Cherie Rose said, so they called police that night. The police said they couldn't go on the property because the Roses' two mixed-breed dogs were barking and would not allow them to enter, Cherie Rose recounted.
"By 9 a.m. Sunday, we were receiving frantic calls and texts," Cherie Rose said.
By the time police got there, it was too late.
"They told us, 'Oh, we're sorry. Your place is burning to the ground as we speak,' " Cherie Rose said.
Life has been numbingly painful since.
"We're in shock," she said. "We're totally devastated."
Vince Rose still found it difficult to talk about the sanctuary Tuesday, having to stop several times during a phone interview to compose himself.
"They lost everything," Deputy Commissioner Magdaleno said Tuesday.
Well, maybe not quite everything. Their two dogs -- Rio and Maya -- survived.
So did their spirit. They don't know quite how, but they vow to stay in Belize and start all over.
"We love what we do, and the adventure is just incredible," said Cherie Rose, who is 44 and said she has a biology degree from Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania. "We do more in one day than some people do in a lifetime.
"We are going to stay in Belize. We are going to fight this. I'm not abandoning those crocodiles down there."
Her 48-year-old husband agrees.
"What we created was absolutely beautiful," Vince Rose said. "No, I'm not going. We're not letting them run us out of this country."

Saturday, September 04, 2010

A Morning Dust-up

I'm old enough to remember "The Thrilla in Manilla". This was "The Bitchin' in the Kitchen."

I awoke to a wonderfully sunny Saturday morning after a nice long sleep. I was refreshed and ready to roll. I even had some goals.

Those great goals had to wait while Lenny Six-toes and Murray the Monster had their go-around.
I found Lenny on the bathroom sink getting a drink and Murray sitting outside of the bathroom door keeping Lenny in.

I checked the automatic water bottle - almost empty. I immediately filled it. Murray scooted in and dunked his paw in to make sure the water was real. Lenny stood at the entrance to the kitchen, watching. Murray took two sips and walked away. Then Lenny went to the water dish and on the way received a whack from Murray. Lenny backed off, not realizing that Murray was a clawless as he is.

I shooed Murray away to allow Lenny some space. Then I sat down with my coffee.
I should have stayed in the kitchen.
Evidently Murray went back in to tell Lenny he'd had enough to drink and the Bitchin' in the Kitchen began. What a dust-up. I had to break it up twice - once Murray tried to stand on top of the large plastic water bottle.

But now all is calm. I had cats around me as I read - Murray and Huusker on the back of the loveseat and Six-toes on my lap.

I'm waiting for the Brawl in the Bathroom.