I had a mammogram yesterday. When I left the sweet technician said "You'll get a letter in a couple of days telling you the results." I didn't. Get a letter. I came home to a message left by the hospital asking me to call back right away to discuss my results.
I am a physician assistant. I practice medicine for a living. I know that when you get a phone call instead of a letter it's not good.
It's scary. Sitting here with 10 hours between me and the center re-opening. I have never felt so alone in my life. I have Cedric and thank God for him. But my "boyfriend" is three hours away and unreachable by phone because he's working. And I'm not scheduled to see him again until at least Memorial Day. I told my sister. But there is no one here. To hold me while I feel scared. And there is no one to be here tomorrow morning when I make that phone call.
I never thought I would end up this alone.
My friend committed suicide this weekend. I can't say I'm surprised. And I can't say I could have done anything to change this. I can say I should have been a better friend. Because I should have.
I met Jen quite a few years ago. She was the nurse assigned to work with me in the small town ER where I spent my days back then. She came to me after my former nurse was murdered by her husband in a domestic violence tragedy.
I liked her. She was nice and funny and really cared about the patients. She believed the way I believed. She had a husband and kids and sometimes I was jealous of her apparently perfect life.
As I got to know her better I figured out that her life was not perfect. It was sad. Her husband who seemed to love her so much was an alcoholic. He was constantly getting arrested for drunk driving, he lost his license and his job, he was abnormally attached to her. Almost obsessed. He eventually ended up, years after we met, hitting and killing a child on bike and killing her. While drunk. Years after he should have been sent to the state prison for multiple offenses of driving under the influence.
Jen was never happy. She was constantly trying to save this man. Her success at this endeavor determined her self worth. He would fail and she would drink to much, take pills, end up in the very ER we worked in getting her stomach pumped. She almost died several times. She used to call me and I'd go pick her up and take her in. She would shout she wouldn't forgive me for leaving her there instead of just letting her go. I got tired. The emotional burden of this friendship was huge and took a toll on me.
To this day I never understand why people can look at a situation, identify the reason for their unhappiness, and continue to live it. Not change it. Just go on living in a world where they are so unhappy.
Anyway, when her husband killed that small child she was humiliated. The community blamed her. She packed her kids and her bags and moved 3,000 miles away. She needed a fresh start. I last saw her a couple of days before she left. We sat on the bed in her room and she told me how much I'd always meant to her. Like a sister she said. She told me she loved me and she hoped I would find good things in life. That I would be happy. She promised to write and call. She didn't. I sent a couple of notes in care packages her friends put together but never heard from her.
About a year ago, I heard she moved back to the area. She had a new boyfriend and she was very happy. I wanted her to be happy. I hoped she would call as I no longer had her phone number. She didn't. I thought maybe she just wanted to leave the past behind her and left her alone. She got married in December. Her 3 older kids were out of the house and doing well. She had a four year old who she was raising with her new husband.
And yesterday I got a call. From a friend. Who said she had passed away, but no one knew what happened. And last night I got another call that she had chosen to end her life by overdosing on presc
My friend, who never found peace in this life, is gone. I wasn't there. Pushing her and reminding her that life is worth living. I wasn't there to pick her up and take her to the ER this time, and this time she succeeded and died.
I know I couldn't have changed this. I know it's not my responsibility to fix the problems of others. I know people drift apart. I know that she had family and friends she was close to now, who are probably wondering why they didn't see this coming. But just this once, I wish I had been a better friend.
I am a 41 year old woman. I was born in the seventies to working class parents, who let us ride bikes without helmets, spend the entire afternoon playing in the woods without being certain we would be murdered by vagrants, and allowed us to be sick for more than 24 hours without rushing us to the emergency room.
They also taught us to take care of the things we value, work hard because you make your own way in the world, and how far you get is ba
I find it troubling when I look at todays young(er) people. I really do. I see people who fake injuries to get out of work, who lie in hopes that you won't check their story, who prefer to work the system instead of working to get ahead. These are the same people who live a life far above their means, financed by the great American credit card, call in sick when they sneeze, and have no idea how to make do with what they have.
I used to just roll my eyes and thank the Good Lord above that my parents didn't raise me like that. But, now I find myself angered by these people. I realize this is my problem, but this is also my blog, so I can b***h if I want too. What makes them so much more special than the rest of us? What gift of genetics allows them to assume they are entitled to do nothing, expect the rest of us to pay their way, and get angry and act like a victim when we say no.
I am sick of the manipulative people I see in my everyday encounters. I am sick of those who think the world owes them a living. Mostly I'm sick of listening to them whine about it.
I know there isn't a thing I can do to stop it. All I can do is control myself, and my actions. And I do. But I pray that one day these people are all gathered together, put onto an isolated island (it will have to be huge) and a nuclear bomb is dropped directly over it, thereby wiping out their gene pool entirely, so that maybe we can start over and raise responsible, hard working, decent people who don't piss me off on a daily basis.
End of rant.
I chose medicine as my career, because I feel great compassion for those around me who are suffering. My heart is filled with love, and a need to help. I don't have that"I don't give a shit" gene. I do. And when I go home at night you are on my mind. You make me worry, and cry, and laugh, and pray. I take the lessons of my day from you. I learn how to be a little more patient, loving, compassionate...from you. I also learn to be a little stronger, a little tougher, a little more willing to bend from you. Your lives touch me. And I feel that. Deeply.
I listen to your story about a sore throat or a sprained ankle and I am looking underneath...to see if there is another story. One of emotional turmoil, addiction, depression, pain. I believe God put me here to share the love He fills my heart with, with the broken people of the world. I take that task very seriously.
I sometimes wonder how I have anything left to give. Where I find the fortitude to get out of bed and give the very best of me to 40-50-60 of you a day. I think God gives me that too. Because the truth is I'm exhausted, and I am impatient, and I have a short fuse.
I do these things by choice. And I try really hard. I really want you to get better. I really want you to be at peace. I really want to help you. Because I really love you. I know...you shouldn't say that or even admit feeling it to people you don't know. But I love each of you, for who you are, where you're at, with the very best I have to offer. And I do it everyday. I do it for 10-12-17 day stretches sometimes, without a day off.
So, when you accuse me of being selfish and greedy because the corporation I work for insists that after a six month grace period, you pay your bill, that hurts. When you tell me I look at patients in terms of numbers and dollar signs, that bothers me. When you try to trick me into giving you vicodin that you will turn around and sell to high school kids, that will turn around and become abusive to me in the office, because I won't feed their habit it makes me angry.
When I come home from a 12 hour day of people being self absorbed, and rude, and accusatory, and I am exhausted to the point of tears, I feel like I didn't do a very good job today. Because of the way you responded to me, I don't want to come back, and be loving, and spend my evening worrying about you, and hurt over the pain in your eyes. I don't want to love you. I don't want to be filled with compassion. But I do it. Everyday. For you.
So the next time you think that your doctor doesn't care, or is treating you unfairly, or isn't giving you a week off of work under the guise of illness so you can go to Mexico and drink for seven days, remember something...I have your best interest at heart. And I am taking care of you, even when you don't want to take care of yourself. And I have bad days too, and I am still here, filled with compassion that drives me to give the very best of myself to you.
This isn't a rant about my hours, or a complaint about the uglier side of medicine. This is a gentle reminder that I, and most of the doctors, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants I know, really are trying and maybe, you could remember that instead of yelling, storming out, threatening a law suit, or standing in line at the grocery store and announcing the Dr. fill in the blank is a quack. Maybe you could remember that you aren't perfect and you aren't God either.
I see you in my mind. A secret...a fantasy, deeply buried, yet playing like a movie over and over across the screen of my mind. I see you...in shadows, cast by candlelight, hair falling across your eyes, and I ache with the pleasure of brushing it away. I see you moving over me, leaning forward, pausing just before your lips brush mine, and a need I've never known fills me. I see you...hours later, exhausted, lying next to me, looking into my eyes, and I hold nothing back. I am open and give you all that I have. All that I am. I see you...letting go, letting me in. Giving me everything you have, everything you are. The screen darkens, the lights come up, and I realize that my fantasy must remain where it is. A secret. Deeply buried.
The re-run of our movie haunts me when I least expect it. It surprises me with the intensity of the desire it creates. It is not real, and yet I cannot pretend it is mere fantasy. Because I know, that given the opportunity, I would take the chance, I would open my cautious heart and let you in, for an hour, a night, a lifetime.
No one knows. No one suspects. They look at me, and see...laughing. Talking. Dreaming. Loving the man I love. Sharing my life, my hopes, my dreams. Making plans for a future I can't quite see. No one looks closer, catches a glimpse of me...wanting you.
I keep it to myself. A secret buried in the ocean of my heart. A dream that will never come true. A thought I won't act on. But I hope, one day, you'll know, you'll look into my heart and see yourself reflected there.
I've been stressed lately. Holidays, work, relationship stuff, and all that contact with my family have made me tense. It's understandable. Everyone gets stressed at times.
I was chatting with my boyfriends sister on Christmas Day and she mentioned that I seemed a little tense. Okay. She's not the first person to mention it. She said maybe yoga would help. Okay. She's not the first person to suggest that either. She even recommended a beginner DVD. Eight bucks on amazon. I can afford the eight bucks. Particularly if it helps me sleep better. So...I ordered it. I waited anxiously for it's arrival, certain that it would be the cure to many sleepless nights, and that constant anxious feeling I carry in the pit of my stomach.
It came very quickly. Six days after I ordered it, it was nestled in the mailbox among late Christmas cards, and credit card offers to "help me pay off the holidays" I was very excited. I had multiple other obligations that evening, so it didn't get opened until the next day. I pop the DVD into my computer and push play. The scene opens with a lady (who has the best butt I've ever seen) sitting on a mat in the yard of a mansion with a view of the ocean.
I confess it's here my expectations start to fall. After all, I'd be relaxed too if I lived in a mansion with perfect grounds and a fantastic view of the Pacific. But I ignore my envy and watch anyway. The lady (who has the best butt I've ever seen) is sitting on a mat, cross legged, breathing. That's it. Breathing. I don't know what I was waiting for. I've never experienced yoga before, but I thought there was more. But...its early. Just started watching, this won't last long. Five minutes later she's still breathing and I am getting frustrated. I mean...come on. I have stuff to do. I can breathe while I do dishes, vacumn the floor, wash Cedric...you get the idea.
My frustration continues to grow, and the phone rings. It's my boyfriend. "Whatcha doing?" he asks. So I tell him. "I'm watching this yoga DVD and I find it very frustrating." He wants to know why. So I explain how slow it is. How she's just breathing and turns her head once in a while. He laughs at me. LAUGHS. He says the point of yoga is to slow down. Relax. Focus inward. He asks me to please give it a try because he worries about how stressed I get.
I love the guy so I agree. After watching the rest I change my clothes and pop the DVD into the pla
I am trying to focus on my breathing, so I ignore it. Which isn't a good idea because my darling dog decides that maybe I don't like the rubber newspaper and gets the red rubber fish to throw in my lap too. It's equally slobbery. I ignore them. He whines. I ignore, he whines louder. I say "Cedric lay down" He minds pretty well and he immediately drops to his belly. He whines. I ignore. He whines again. I open one eye to peak at him and see him doing the Army Ranger crawl across the short distance between us, whining all the while.
I'm no longer focused on my breathing and I'm trying not to giggle. I close my eyes and ignore him as he arrives at my knee and nudges me with his nose. The lady on the DVD says we should rise into a...I don't know what the yoga word is, but it looks like a lunge. As I try to rise (not gracefully) the slobbery toys fall to the floor. My foot lands on the newspaper, and slides. I collapse in a heap, now giggling uncontrollably. Cedric sees this as an invitation and pounces. Licking me, and wagging his tail in his excitement over the fact that I'm on the floor waiting to play with him. I stop laughing and reach for the remote, because clearly, I can't do yoga with the dog in the room.
The last thing I hear as I'm pushing stop, is "Now shift into a DOWN DOG" The giggles return as I pick up the newspaper off the floor and toss it into the air watching my beautiful black lab leap up and catch it effortlessly.
WARNING: This blog is really just me bitching about things I can't change and spewing negativity, so if you want to stop here...I understand.
Okay. hose who are still with me, 2013 isn't looking so promising. I am in a really bad place right now. Struggling with a relationship I don't want to lose and am pretty sure is falling apart. I don't think it's a good sign when he says he doesn't want to spend New Years Eve together, because "holidays just aren't that important to me" and when I am standing in the kitchen crying because it's important to me, he just says "you'll be okay"
I hate my job today. Not every day, but the last few weeks have sucked. And I was informed that even though I haven't had vacation in over a year I can't take any until May because it would be inconvenient from a scheduling stand point.This pisses me off because if anyone has earned a vacation in the last year it's me. I worked a lot of 60 hour weeks. I am thankful for the job but today I'm exhausted and pissy.
I just feel angry and stuck in my life. This will pass I'm sure. But honestly I don't know when. Would I be happier just to end my relationship? Go back to spending every single minute of my life alone? Cry myself to sleep? Wake up wondering what the point of it all is? Or just forgive this and move forward? Because tonight I'm lonely and hurting and I just want someone to lean on. And he's not here and he didn't even call. And I hate him right now.
I guess that's it. Happy New Year to the rest of you.
My crazy neighbor lost his kind but equally crazy wife to a long illness earlier this year. I was sorry to hear she had passed on because she was a good person, and I liked her. Also because her mere presence made him want to keep his trash piles in the yard semi-organized.
He seemed to have a hard time dealing with her death. I heard very little from behind the fence all summer, with exception of his acquisition a horse which he kept chained to a dismantled pick up truck in the back yard. But he seems to be bouncing back. He recently purchased a flock of chickens. Full grown, free range chickens, which range freely all over my yard.
I discovered this by surprise a couple of weeks ago. I came home from a Saturday shift and it was a beautiful day. Not to hot, not to cold, and sunny. I was anxious to get Cedric out in the yard for some fetch and maybe do a few outdoor things before the first snow fall.
Cedric bounds into the yard excited to be freed after a tortuous 6 hours alone, and is happily peeing and sniffing as I search around the garage for his frisbee. I grab it and head out into the yard and as I'm walking out of the garage I see a large black and white speckled chicken run into my garage.
Now may be a good time to mention I don't like chickens. Actually I don't like birds. But I have a particular aversion to chickens, and I know they are messy, dirty creatures who aren't very smart. So the chicken races to the far corner of the garage hops up on my tool caddy and roosts between the shovels and rakes. I stand frozen in near terror unsure how to proceed as the chicken seems to have taken control of my arsenal of weapons. Maybe they aren't so dumb after all...
As I'm debating my next move and eyeing the chicken from a safe distance I hear barking from the front yard. Cedric is out there unattended getting into who knows what kind of trouble. I decide to brave a chicken attack and race out of the garage. I hear Cedric, but I can't see him. I call, and he comes into view...right behind another chicken who is taller than him. He's chasing it around a pine tree. I stand in awe as my dog runs after this bird. He and the bird continue to circle the tree, neither tiring of the game. The chicken is squawking and flapping it's wings, Cedric is barking and every few steps he snaps at the bird, making it flap and squawk harder as it picks up it's pace.
I live in a nice country neighborhood. Everyone mows the yard, and weeds the flowers, and fertilizes the lawn. It's lovely. The absurdity of the situation hits me, and I start to laugh. Hysterically. Tears roll down my cheeks, and I double over laughing as the dog chases the bird. Cedric stops. He looks at me as if I've lost my mind. The chicken keeps running and is now behind Cedric. Never one to panic in a crisis, Cedric looks over his shoulder, barks, and reverses direction, running around the tree after the chicken.
Finally I gain control of myself, at the site of yet another bird wandering around the fence. I'm being invaded and I must take my property back. I call Cedric, and in some sort of freak happening that must have been orchestrated by the Good Lord Above, he listens. He give one final snap at the birds tail feathers, and comes over and sits quietly by my side as his new friend takes off for home flapping and squawking at a dead run.
The newcomer senses danger and turns back the way she came. This leaves only the one holding the yard tools hostage. It's the scariest for me, because in order to remove it I'm going to have to corner it, and I'm not sure how the chicken will take this. I'm not sure how my heart will take it either.
I herd Cedric into the house. He spots the chicken and wants to say hello. "No C dog," I say, "she's armed" He can't help his enthusiasm. He barks the chicken huddles further in the corner and I grab his collar and say "In the house" in my stern, I'm not taking your crap, there's a chicken in my garage" voice.
Cedric is devastated that he can't help, and stands on the other side of the door whining, with a bark thrown in now and then for good measure. I stand on the step of the garage eyeing the bird. It's huge. When did chickens get so big? I head for it. It puffs up. I go back to the step. My good neighbor texts to ask if I knew the crazy neighbor got chickens. I text back that there's one in my garage holding my yard tools hostage. He calls laughing. He laughs harder when I explain I'm deathly afraid of chickens. I guess I must have sounded like I might cry, because he pulls in the driveway 5 minutes later and calmly walks over, gets the broom out of the tool rack and chases the chicken away. It runs flapping through the front yard, and around the fence and I sigh in relief.
I haven't seen the chickens lately. Maybe they are in the crazy neighbor's freezer by now. We can't go into the garage without Cedric checking the tool caddy for visitors, and I still see flapping wings and hear squawking in my sleep.
It started last week. The annual arguments about when all the family gatherings for Christmas will be. The pleading and bribery, and questions about how Christmas can occur if we aren't all together on the magical chosen day. Other families are planning camping trips for Labor Day, and fall bonfires, but not mine. Of course, as previously mentioned, my family is crazy.
My parents are divorced. They can't be in the same room without anger, bitterness, accusations, and old wounds boiling to the surface and tearing open. We have two Christmases. One with my dad, and the new Mrs. (who can't cook, and acts like she's doing us a favor by showing up) and one with my mom, who is hurt at the mere idea that we might have enjoyed Christmas with my dad.
My brother has a significant other with married parents, so we have to work around their family gathering. Same with my sister. Until last year I never had to deal with this. But now, I too, have someone special and am expected to make an appearance at the annual get together.
So, my mom calls a week ago, to let me know, that due to custody issues in my brothers SO's family they are all getting together Christmas Day, leaving Christmas Eve for our gathering with her. My dad called, to say that due to his new family wanting to have their own gathering, without us, we need to do it early in the month.
And Frank's sister called to remind us that as always we are expected for dinner at his dad's and the annual all night card game on Christmas Eve.
Throw in work parties, gatherings with friends, and a family birthday, and I won't have one free weekend between Thanksgiving and the second week of January. And, I hate it. I hate the constant rush. The arguments between my family members, the hurt look on my mom's face when she inquires about Christmas with my dad and I say "it was nice" I hate listening to my dad point out all the ways his three children have failed him, while bragging continously about his new family and their wildly successful lives. I hate that Frank and I will have five minutes alone together the entire month, and we'll both be exhausted. We'll exchange gifts with each other as one of us is rushing out the door Christmas Day, so we can get home and get ready for work on the 26th. He'll call as I'm falling asleep and say "Merry Christmas, baby" to which I'll reply "bah humbug"
I wish it could be simple. I wish instead of running from activity to gathering to activity and never relaxing enough to enjoy any of it, that we could slow down. Put aside differences, and instead of handing out gifts that aren't meaningful, and no one really wants, we could just talk and laugh, and maybe decorate some cookies. Instead of flying in and out in two hours, and leaving someone feeling disappointed and let down, we could just stop, and remember what the season is really all about.
I suggested as much two years ago. My family ignored me and went back to arguing about the dates and times, and how much to spend on gifts. Last year I said to Frank, why don't we combine a couple of these things, so we aren't spending a month driving all over the state to make everyone happy while we feel cranky, exhausted, and miserable. He said we can't let our families down.
So the season will rush on, and when it's over I'll just sit here, in front of the computer without much in the way of memories wondering why we forgot what it was all about.
I collect them and they show up in the little activity bar to the right of my screen name. So far I have 16. (I haven't been around much lately) They sit there, in a little gold pile, and I never use them. I am a token hoarder.
I think about spending them. What will I use them on? If I spend them and then decide someone else is in more need of a rubber ducky, or a hug will I regret my irresponsible, impulsive token use? If I spend them and the person I have deemed worthy of my token use isn't fully appreciative will I be hurt?
So, there they sit, doing nothing, while I search EP for free ways to show my affection to those I care about on this site. I feel the freebies somehow don't always convey what I'm trying to say. A wave and a wink are nice...I always appreciate getting them, but somehow it's not the same as the rubber ducky or the kiss you really want to give.
I was thinking of all this during my work perusal of EP. My token hoarding ways. I started wondering if this is a reflection of my true personality. Am I closed off and always waiting for a better "right" moment or opportunity? Am I missing out on life, by being cautious? Have I lost wonderful opportunities because deep down inside, I'm afraid to spend my love, affection, and sense of adventure?
The answer is...probably. I work 60 hours a week and spend my free time catching up on the stuff I have to do at home, instead of playing. I am afraid my relationship won't work out, so I won't risk taking another job and moving three hours away from my life here. I don't have many friends because I don't like to let people too close.
I am in every sense of the word, afraid. I won't take risks, because it might cost me the valuable tokens I keep so well tucked away.
I confess. I log into EP at work. For instance, right now, I'm sitting here waiting for a sweet little old lady to come back from xray, so I can look at her films and tell her if she broke her hand when she fell...so, I think, what better time than to check out the happenings around the world. The internet has truly changed our lives.
I hit the little blue e in the corner of my screen, and up pops MSN. I peruse the headlines...more about the slaying in Aurora. Sigh. A four year old murdered by a teenager. A parent who abandoned her child. Not just bad news, like war and drought. The news is filled with the terrible atrocites that man commits against his neighbors, brother, parent, friend. The news is filled with hate, and anger, and lack of self control, that makes me question where America is going. Perhaps other countries have similar stories fighting for headline status, and I, who barely has time to read my own countries news, just don't realize how wide spread the problem is.
I always ask myself, "what is this world coming too?" I wonder what motivates people to walk into a movie theater and start shooting, what makes them plant a bomb in a building, or fly a plane through the world trade center. What makes hate so strong, that killing or wounding is the only answer. And what are we doing wrong that these aren't rare and isolated events, but a way of life?
I have lots of thoughts on that. All my own far right opinion of course. We need prisons that treat prisoners...like prisoners. We need to follow the advice of the old testament and practice "an eye for an eye" justice. We need to re-institute the death penalty and set the execution date for a year after the conviction. Enough time for new evidence to show up, but not enough for the person who raped and murdered countless women to write a book, or have not one, but two biographies of his life filmed.
We need our parents to be responsible adults, who discipline their children. We need family dinners, and for people to pay attention. We need to discipline our kids, instead of slapping an autism diagnosis on them and ignoring their acting out.
Everyone has a million opinions on how to fix the country, the world, mankind. I'm no different, sitting here in my chair spouting off because the news makes me sick to my stomach. I don't know the answers, and I'm sure they aren't as simple as I make them out to be.
Here's what I do know though. If we don't figure out a way to be kinder, more respectful, more aware of others, the world will continue it's downward spiral, and it will be a place no one wants to raise children. A place where no one wants to go out after work, or stay out past dark. It will become a world of isolation and emptiness. That makes me sad.
Ah...xrays are back. No fracture. Gotta go break the good news.
The love of my life has a sister. His sister fell in love with Cedric the first time Cedric curled his 80 pound lab self up in her lap and fell asleep. (Cedric loves her too) She said it made her remember how much she loves dogs, and how much she needed a dog in her life.
So...she went to the shelter to rescue a dog. After many meetings with sub-par dogs she met Henley. Henley is a Boxer-Husky mix. He's beautiful. She fell in love again and brought Henley home to be her best friend. He is a mild mannered dog with a good nature. She called and asked me to bring Cedric by to say hello.
I don't know if I've ever told you...but Cedric is a bit jealous. We once rescued an 8 week old puppy someone dropped off along the road, and every time I tried to pet it, Cedric tried to kill it. He would knock her to the ground wrap his mouth around her throat, and growl in this fierce angry way. So introducing him to the dog who would be stealing Laura's attention seemed like a bad plan to me.
My darling boyfriend however, instantly agrees and starts getting Cedric excited about a ride in the car, assuring me the whole time that Cedric has grown a lot, and he needs to be socialized with other dogs. I know that's true, but I'm still nervous. Off we go.
Cedric gets out of the car and is excited to be there, we open the gate and head into the backyard. Laura opens the back door and Henley comes flying into the yard. They stop. They stare at each other. Cedric growls. He turns his back. Apparently in dog world this is some sort of invitation, because Henley thinks Cedric wants to play. He comes closer, and Cedric wanders off and comes back with a toy. He wants to play fetch. He prefers the company of humans.
We stand around and I throw the toy. There is fierce competition to get to the toy first, and Cedric wins. Multiple times. Henley is just enjoying the running around. Eventually Laura suggests coming in to the house for a glass of tea and water for the pups. We all settle in the kitchen and Cedric is doing his best to ignore Henley. He's leaning against Frank's leg, and seems calm. Henley is wandering around saying hi to everyone. Cedric won't look at him and growls if he gets too close.
Frank is trying to keep him calm and Henley in what can only be called a moment of poor judgement walks over and imitates Cedric by leaning against my leg. I in what can also only be called a moment of poor judgement, reach down to pet Henley on the head. Cedric notices right away.
The kitchen is not big. It takes Cedric less than two seconds to cross it, and dive between Henley and myself. He pushes Henley on his back and is on top of him growling fiercely. He clamps his teeth on Henley's throat, still growling, and must be applying pressure, as Henley's terrified yelps are filling the air. I react as quickly as I can, but it seems much to slow. I say "Cedric, Release" as I jump forward and grab his collar pulling him off Henley.
Henley gets up avoiding Cedric as if he has a deadly disease and runs to Laura. I want to die of embarrassment and apologize. Cedric feels he has proven his alpha dog status and lays at my feet. I have scolded him. He doesn't have any idea what he's done. He is acting according to the rules of dogs.
We leave shortly after, and I'm not sure we'll be welcome again. I wish I had a dog who loved other dogs, but as I look over at him, sleeping in the back seat looking so sweet and innocent I know...I wouldn't trade Cedric for anything in the world.
My crazy neighbor got a horse. Nothing wrong with that. I love horses. I really do. They are beautiful, majestic creatures, and I wish I had the time, money, and knowledge to have a couple of my own.
However, I do not believe that a horse is meant to be chained to the fender of an old truck with only enough room to run a few feet. I do not believe the horse should have no shelter. I do not the believe the horse should be kept out behind a trailer between the old abandoned cars in the yard, and the pit you dug to throw your trash in.
But, I digress. The story I'm trying to write is about the horse, and Cedric. He spotted the horse long before I did. My 300 foot 6 foot high fence, which blocks my view of the garbage pit, also blocks my view of the horse unless I'm standing up on my deck.
We went out for a morning game of ball on Wednesday. I threw the ball Cedric chased it. We did this several times, and then...Cedric stopped. I have never seen Cedric stop chasing a ball. Ever. He stood still in the middle of the back yard staring at the fence. Another new thing...Cedric never stands still. I look over at the fence and see nothing. I say "come on boy, bring me the ball" Cedric stares.
Suddenly, he takes off charging toward the fence, barking as if my life is in mortal danger. I look again. I see nothing. Cedric is staring at the fence, barking and occasionally jumping up against it. He's furious. I head toward him and here the sound of hooves running. Apparently the horse has enough chain to run a bit. I walk over and look between the cracks and see the horse. I say hello to him.
This gets Cedrics attention. Why am I talking to the horse? Don't I know he's our sworn enemy? That he is likely plotting his take over of our back yard at any minute? Cedric stops barking and works his way between me and the fence hair on end, growl in his throat. I assure him all is well. The horse apparently can hear us, because he looks disdainfully at the fence and turns his back to me.
Now we go out in the back yard, and Cedric looks suspiciously at the fence for a moment, and goes back to playing ball. I'm not worried. I know the horse will likely escape his chain and wander away eventually. Or meet his fate in the middle of the road, like the crazy neighbors $100 fighting cock did.
And here at our house the ball game continues...
That every single time the phone rings at 11pm and I see your name on the caller ID I debate answering it, because it's as likely as not that your words will be slurred, you won't make a lot of sense, and that you won't listen to me, you'll just talk until I finally say "I have to go to bed." Just to get out of a conversation I'm not really a part of anyway.
Did you know that I understand why you drink? I really do see how you ended up here. And I ache for the person who was treated that way. The person who felt like his only option was to drown his concisousness. I ache for the person who doesn't see his own goodness and value. And I think it's time to start. To look at your life and how things have spun out of control, and how you can regain that control. Because when you say you don't need it, you're wrong.
Did you know that on the weekend I rush to your house hoping to get there before you start, because it's not such a need for you when I'm there, and dreading the possibility that I may be too late. Even though I know I can't change you, I hope somehow being there will ease the need.
Did you know that I feel like your alcohol problem puts a wall between us? Because you are not the same man drunk that you are sober. And when I look for the amazing man I fell in love with after a few beers, I can't see him anymore? Did you know that I cry myself to sleep when you have a bad night and drink way too much.
Did you know it breaks my heart to think of the emotional, mental, and physical toll alcohol takes on your body? Or how I worry about the illnesses you will likely suffer at some point due to drinking way too much?
Did you know, that sometimes I wish I'd never let you get so close to me, because then I wouldn't dread the day I have to say goodbye because I can't take it anymore? That there are days I think maybe it would have been better to never have known you at all?
Did you know that thinking about a future with you, drinking the way you do now, terrifies me? It feels like a prison with walls so high I can't see the other side. Or that I sometimes plan my escape? Plan how I'll deal with no longer having you in my life. How I'll sort through the pain, and sadness that will come with having you gone.
I don't want to go. Because I love you. But I know enough about alcoholism to know that you won't change for me. You can't change for me. Because when I let you down or disappoint you, it will make you wonder why you stopped. Why you thought I was worth that much effort.
But I have learned that I do deserve good, and honest, and pure things. I deserve a man who values his future with me enough to invest in taking care of himself so he can be here for it. I deserve a man who wants to see the world through clear eyes and make changes in himself, instead of hiding at the bottom of the bottle. I deserve the real you.
People always say I'm stronger than I think I am. I don't know if that's true. But I do know that I get stronger all the time. And at some point my struggle with the idea of hurting you will come to an end, and I will realize...you're hurting me too. And you don't care.
Did you know that no matter how much I love you, and value the things we've shared, I will find the strength I need? Because I get tired of crying myself to sleep, and worrying about how long it will before you get sick, or drink too much and hurt yourself or someone else.
Did you know that I will always love you? Even if you aren't here in my life you will always be here in my heart.
I just wanted you to know.
Did anyone see the new show "Strange Addictions"? Actually I don't even know if it's aired yet, but I've been seeing commercials for weeks. People who eat nail polish, and cat treats, and who have sex with their cars. An interesting group to say the least. Bet a new dating web site comes out of this.
Anyway...I had the tv on Sunday while I cleaned the living room, and I heard the commercial (again) about the guy who wants to have sex with his car. Which I find very strange. I got to thinking about addictions. What is mine? I used to think it was sweets, but I gave up sweets at New Years, and I don't really miss them much. And for a while I swore it was Diet Pepsi, but I sometimes go a couple of days without it, so I don't think it's that. And then...I heard the familiar sounds of yet another infomercial, and I knew. I am addicted to the Brazilian Butt Lift infomercial. (And fitness gadget infomercials in general.)
Have you seen it? Leandro! is the Brazilian Butt Master. He swears (with a 30 day money back gaurantee) that if you give him 60 days, he'll change your butt (and the rest of you) so completely you'll want to do nothing but zip around in tight jeans staring at your posterior in mirrors. Men won't be able to resist your high, tight, glutes. Other women will be envious. I have to fight with myself not to call the number and whip out my credit card.
Why? Because I want a great butt. I want a great everything. And it looks fast and easy. And humans love fast and easy. For me the lure of these commercials is that certainly this time, this workout, this 60 days, will make me the perfect woman.
So, I'm telling the love of my life I want a Brazilian Butt, and I'm thinking of spending the 60 bucks. He's not a typical male, which is why I love him. He pulls up the web site, and starts pointing out all the things he thinks are wrong with the gorgeous model on the screen. He then launches into a 10 minute diatribe on air brushing and how the advertising industry is ruining the self esteem of beautiful women everywhere.
I'm in awe of this man, who never fails to surprise me as he finally stops talking, looks at me and says, "I'm sorry. I just hate it. You're beautiful and you have a perfect butt. And you don't even know."
Wow. Turns out when a man loves you...really loves you...he thinks your body is perfect even if it isn't. I turned off the tv and now everytime the infomercial comes on I change the channel. I work out, I eat well, and I do the best I can. And instead of comparing myself to fitness models, and covergirls, I'm just going to be me. Cedricsmom. Average woman to the world, and beautiful to the one that matters.
Cedric weighs 80 pounds. He's not small. He has long legs, and huge paws, and he sometimes trips over his own feet when he runs. Bathing him is quite a chore. In the summer we do it outside with a hose and plenty of space for him to shake off the excess water.
Last week I noticed him itching more. Then I noticed the smell...he smelled like a dog. A stinky dog, who has clearly been wading in the swampy area behind the house. The unseasonable warmth of late, has given him spring fever. So I went to the store and bought a bottle of oatmeal shampoo and decided to bathe him indoors. A chore we both detest.
How does he know it's bath time? Usually I have to fight to keep him out of the bathroom, but yesterday as I wander in the direction of the bathroom, he takes one look at me, and runs in the other direction. I catch him on the far side of my bed lying on the floor. He never lays over there. I coax him over to me, and pet him. Then stand up and head to the bathroom. I look over my shoulder...no Cedric. I retrace my steps, and he's lying on the far side of the bed again. I sigh, and grab his collar. It takes me about five minutes to drag him down the hall because he's pulling so hard in the opposite direction.
Finally in the bathroom I shut the door quickly. I take his collar off. And I turn on the water. The bathroom is pretty small and Cedric hearing the water start, cowers in the corner by the door. I smile, and try to reassure him as I strip down to bra and panties, because I have to actually climb in the tub with him.
The sides of my tub are unually high which i love when I am taking a bubble bath, and I hate the rest of the time. I also have a glass door, which presents some challenges when I bathe Cedric. Namely he feels the need to fling himself at it, in hopes of escaping.
I bring him over to the tub and lift his front legs over the side. So far, so good. I let go to lift his back legs, and he quickly twists and jumps and somehow ends up back in the corner by the door. Okay. No more Mr. Nice Guy. I mean business now.
I guide him over to the tub, lift his front legs in, and say, still holding onto him..."STAY" I move to the back legs, and miraculously he stays. I finally get him in the tub, and climb in after him, closing the shower door. He immediately flings himself against it, while I cringe and say a little prayer it will hold up. It does.
I say "SIT" and then proceed to use a large plastic cup to dump water over him while he hangs his head as if he has committed some horrible crime. I lather him up...he doesn't like it much. He keeps standing and turning in circles and trying to get away from me.
We move onto rinsing. It goes fairly smoothly and finally we're done. I turn off the water. He gets excited because we're almost done. I'm amazed I've come through this fairly dry. I climb out, shutting the door behind me to grab his towel. More flinging. I open the door thinking I'll wipe him down once before lifting him out. He shakes water all over me and leaps from the tub, knocking me against the wall in the process. I'm drenched and twisted my knee. But Cedric is clean.
I dried him off. And trip over him trying to get to the door of the bathroom so I can let us out. The floor is slippery. The dog can't hold still and I'm still half naked and soaking wet. Why does my boyfriend need to do drywall when these occasions present themselves?
I open the door and watch Cedric tear through the house for the next 10 minutes shaking off water and basically feeling great. I lay old blankets on the furniture and head to the shower. When I come out 10 minutes later, he's curled up in a ball sound asleep and still wet. I cover him over with a blanket so he won't get cold, and I whisper I love him. He snuggles in and sighs, but never opens his eyes. It was the best night of sleep he's had for a week.
My parents are divorced, and try not to speak. (My wedding will be a blast) My dad is remarried to a snobby control freak, who couldn't even pretend to be polite to my mother on the day my brother underwent a 6 hour open heart surgery. My mom, who has huge self esteem issues, seems to feel the need to prove to herself, and us, as well as Snobby Control Freak, that my father still has feelings for her, and is only remarried because she won't have him. My family has issues. The love of my life has a family with issues too, but that's his story to tell.
It's December 29th. I've attended 3 family Christmases already, and have one New Years/Holiday/Birthday celebration to go. I'm exhausted, and cranky. I'm sick of people, especially the ones I'm related too. I'm sick of my dad's wife, my brother bickering with his significant other, my sister and her significant other (who are having "problems" mostly brought on by my sisters wandering eye, and the inability of her SO to stand up to this behavior) falling in love all over again, and then dramatically breaking up, before announcing "we hope we can work it out" I'm sick of my wonderful boyfriends sister having life defining moments that interfere with my ability to spend 5 minutes alone with him in the last month, and his dad, who I love, pressuring him to make decisions that are in the long run, poor choices in the circumstances he is in. I'm 40 years old, and instead of Christmas being a joy filled occasion, where I reflect on my happiness over the past year, the birth of my saviour, and the peace of the season, I have come to the place where all I want is to be alone, with the phone turned off, and Cedric curled up beside me as I read the hours away.
But in this season, filled (on my part) with a lack of enthusiasm and joy there have been some good things. As I sit here waiting for my next patient to arrive, I have decided to focus on them.
First, Cedric, who is not known far and wide for his manners, has attended every family event and behaved admirably. He hasn't knocked over a Christmas tree, chewed up another persons prized possession, peed on a single floor, or barked to get attention. He has heeled on his leash, sat when he was told, not attempted to steal food off a table, and laid quietly at my feet, like the good dog he was born to be. He hasn't had a fight with another dog, and he graciously gave up his bed to his arch rival (Henley) last Saturday night, without complaint.
Second, my boyfriend. He has been loving, supportive, generous with his time, patient to a fault. I have never once doubted this man's love for me, however, I have discovered, in the last month, just how much he loves me. He embodies the ideal of love. My happiness, peace of mind, and well being are so important to him, he would die to give me those things. I've never seen a love like the love this man has for me. I can assure you, I never thought I would get to have a love like this. I am white trash. I am the woman men sleep with, but never marry. And yet here is a man, who not only wants to marry me, but is putting every effort into making that happen as soon as possible. Amazing.
Third, I'm healthy. Last year at this time, I was so sick, I thought I was going to die. I almost did. I made the wrong choice when I picked a physician, who felt strongly that we should "wait and see" why I felt so bad. The next day I was hospitalized with a critically low hemoglobin, and spent hours hooked to an IV recieving blood transfusions. I remember lying there, tears sliding down my cheeks, thinking, if someone hadn't given their blood, I could have died in a week or so.
Fourth, I'm working on myself. Which sounds weird. But I am. Eating better, trying to get more regular exercise, changing jobs, because the last one made me unhappy. Sleeping better, and saying no, when I mean no.
I am truly blessed. And in the crazy rush of the holiday season, we all sometimes forget to stop and take stock. To count our blessings. To remember the good things, and wonderful people in our lives. The world is hard on people. It seems as time marches on, it gets harder. Financial setbacks, lost jobs, lost health, divorce, addiction, violence...so many things conspire to take away our strength and our peace.
Ernest Hemmingway said "The world breaks everyone. Afterwards, many are strong in the broken places"
So my new years resolution, this year will be to focus on the strength, and not the broken places.
May you all focus on the strength in your broken places too. Happy New Year to all of my wonderful EP family, and friends.
I haven't been on Ep as much lately as I used to be. I was surprised today when I logged in and saw my circle of friends was missing someone. SomeGuyYouKnow had disappeared. I looked a few times, hoping that somehow my order of top friends had gotten changed and he was accidently out of place.
But to no avail. He's gone. He didn't send a message, or a white board comment. He just quietly deleted his profile and disappeared. I sit here staring at EP and feeling like a part of me is missing. You see, SomeGuy was more to me than just a friend I chatted with online. He was my confidant. He was my strength. He was here when I was falling apart. And he was here to celebrate my happiness when it came along.
He was a troubled man. He had shadows in his heart, and ghosts that wouldn't rest. And to know he's not here doesn't just sadden me, it worries me. Because more than once I've seen him sink into a depression that was so deep I feared for his life.
I know he was graduating from college this month, and I hope he just put EP aside to start a new life. I hope my friend is okay, and that he has found peace and happiness. I know very few people who deserve it more. I will miss him. And I will pray for him. And I will remind myself that cyber friendships aren't real and people come and go without warning. That in a world where there really isn't much real "connection" anymore, ours wasn't special.
But the thing is, it was. I needed him in my life, and I like to think that he needed me too sometimes. That we were able to offer a comfort to each other that neither of us might have found otherwise.
I doubt he will ever see this, but...Jonathan, I will miss you. Goodbye, and thanks for being there so often.
I'm 40. This hit me last week as I was sitting in the salon waiting to pay for the torture of having my eyebrows forcibly yanked from my face with hot wax. I mean, I knew I was 40, I remember celebrating my birthday with a quiet dinner at home, and a movie. But, you might say...it really hit me, I am 40. My life is probably more than half over.
I didn't give it much more thought at the time. Actually, I didn't give it anymore thought at the time. I wallowed in the realization for a minute and rushed on to the next task on my to do list. I didn't think of it again until Sunday. On Sunday I was making the long drive from my boyfriends home, back to my place and into my head popped the image of an old friend. I knew him in college. He was married when the rest of us were single, and he was my best friend. We had so much in common, from childhood and family problems to things we loved and hated then. We were close. Possibly closer than we should have been considering he was married. Eventually, life took us in different directions, and we lost touch. I heard he moved east and had a baby. By now I would guess there are more members of the family. I don't know what made me think of him. Why he suddenly crossed my mind, but I spent close to an hour of my commute remembering our time spent together. The jokes and laughter. His frustration over his unhappy marriage, and how on the day he planned to ask his wife for a divorce, she told him she was pregnant.
I didn't try very hard to keep in touch after they moved. I believed he was my soulmate, and it was too hard being around him, knowing we would only ever be friends.
But on Sunday when I got home, I logged into facebook to see if he had a profile. I hate facebook, and only have an account to lurk around keeping track of people I'm curious about. I have never posted a status, or written on a wall.
His account is set to private, so I can't view any information, but, I know it's him, because there is a picture. So, curiosity unsatisfied, I goggled him. And discovered that since our last conversation he has graduated from medical school, and is a physician. I'm not surprised. He is the most driven person I ever met.
This got me thinking about my own life. And I suddenly remembered, with a sense of dread that I am 40. And my life really hasn't changed much in the last 12 years. I graduated from college, and I have a job. I met someone and I love him. But overall, I don't feel like I've gotten very far. I look at who I am and the decisions I've made, and I am not pleased.
I'm in a relationship with a man who lacks the drive? Motivation? Who lacks the SOMETHING, to move forward. I've been driving three hours on Friday and Three hours back on Sunday, far more often than not, to see him. He keeps saying things like, "well no one should have to give up their life, we should just combine them." Which means I give up my life. Friends, home, property in the country, and job, to move to a city, I like only a little, to live in an industrial neighborhood, and wait for him to finish remodeling a home that isn't anywhere big enough and doesn't have any closets.
I have a job, but it turns out that I should have picked another career. This one is giving me an ulcer. I'd love to go back to school, but haven't finished paying for my last degree yet.
I feel disconnected from God, and from myself. I cry more days than I don't. And I'm terrified that I will never find what and who makes me truly happy.
I miss my friend. I could tell him anything. We drifted apart years ago, and I have great friends now. I have a friend here, who reminds me so much of that person back then, they could be brothers. But even that friendship isn't the same as it once was.
I know everything changes. People move on. Life continues spinning even when we don't want it to. I guess I'm just having my midlife crisis.
Three weeks ago, a patient came to the office complaining about shortness of breath and swelling in his legs. Examination reveled severely swelling of the legs, weight gain of several pounds in a week (consistent with fluid retention) and crackles in his lungs, (again, consistent with fluid retention). We elected to admit him to the hospital, because he gets confused about his medications, and because he had clear signs of heart failure, which needed aggressive therapy.
The patient threw a wrench in the plans. He had two dogs in the car, and he wasn't going to leave them unattended to go to the hospital. Maybe he could find a friend to look after them, and then he could check in later. I didn't like the idea. I explained to him it could be a life threatening situation. He borrowed a phone and called everyone he knew. No one could help him. And he refused to go. He called on the following Monday to let us know he was feeling better. His labs were abnormal, when he finally got them drawn. We called again, and asked him to adjust his medications. He was confused. My nurse spent 35 minutes on the phone with him, explaining which medications he should take, and why he needed them. We didn't hear from him for two weeks.
Yesterday afternoon he called the office and said he was coughing up blood "in large chunks" He was directed to go immediately to the local emergency room. He was admitted to the hospital with congestive heart failure, and he went into cardiac arrest and died a few hours later.
I could go on about responsibility, and medical non-compliance. I could type a diatribe about the tests that should have been ordered on this patient the minute he arrived, but weren't. I could complain about incompetent medical doctors, and poor quality of care. And all of those things are valid complaints. But they are not the point of this blog.
I am heartbroken about the passing of my patient. And the thing that is bothering me most as I type this blog, is the lack of concern humans have for each other. A man who needed hospitalization, spent thirty minutes on the phone, trying to find one person who would help him out. And everyone said no.
The world can be a cold place. Life and the circumstances it gives you, can be harsh, and painful. The one thing that makes it better, is the love and friendship of people close to us. Whether the circumstance is medical, as in this case, or emotional, one person can make a huge difference. One small act of kindness, one favor, even if you're busy, one hand on a shoulder in support, one hug on a bad day, can be the difference between life and death. Is it really too much trouble to go out of the way for someone else? That extra mile, that extra 5 minutes could save a life...
Previous PostsWaiting, posted April 30th, 2013, 1 comment
A better friend, posted April 29th, 2013
Rant, posted April 5th, 2013
Dear Patient, posted February 20th, 2013, 2 comments
My Secret, posted January 25th, 2013, 5 comments
Down Dog, posted January 9th, 2013
2013, posted December 31st, 2012, 2 comments
Chicken Alert!, posted November 2nd, 2012, 2 comments
Christmas...In August?, posted August 12th, 2012, 2 comments
Tokens, posted August 7th, 2012, 6 comments
Waiting For Xrays, posted July 25th, 2012, 2 comments
Cedric -vs- Henley, posted June 30th, 2012, 2 comments
Neighborhood Horse, posted June 22nd, 2012, 3 comments
Did You Know..., posted May 3rd, 2012
Addictions, posted February 9th, 2012, 8 comments
Bath Time, posted February 5th, 2012, 1 comment
Family Christmas x 3., posted December 29th, 2011, 2 comments
SomeGuy, posted December 21st, 2011
What Am I Doing?, posted November 1st, 2011, 3 comments
Going the Extra Mile, posted October 28th, 2011, 2 comments
The Best You Can, posted August 23rd, 2011, 8 comments
Yard Work, posted July 17th, 2011, 2 comments
What Words Can Do, posted June 6th, 2011, 2 comments
EP Romances, posted April 19th, 2011, 2 comments
Just Go!, posted April 14th, 2011, 2 comments
Cedrics Great Adventure, posted April 10th, 2011, 2 comments
Talking Cars and Other Miracles of Modern Technology, posted March 22nd, 2011, 6 comments
Rest In Peace., posted January 4th, 2011, 1 comment
Tis The Season..., posted December 15th, 2010
APPRECIATION DAY, posted September 14th, 2010
Wandering Through The Zoo, posted August 14th, 2010
Choices, Conversations, and Consequences., posted August 12th, 2010
Untitled Poem, posted July 18th, 2010
The Single Life, posted July 14th, 2010
Miracle, posted July 2nd, 2010
Mad Season, posted June 29th, 2010
A Dogs Life, posted June 27th, 2010
Who Said?, posted June 24th, 2010
I've Been Thinking, posted June 20th, 2010
Sorry...I Don't Cyber, posted June 14th, 2010
On Dying, posted June 5th, 2010, 11 comments
Inner Peace, posted June 4th, 2010
Jacobs Rain, posted June 1st, 2010, 1 comment
Memories, posted May 23rd, 2010
Haunted, posted May 19th, 2010, 1 comment
"How do you feel?", posted May 7th, 2010, 3 comments
Sixty Years and Counting, posted May 3rd, 2010, 1 comment
Cedric Versus The Woodchuck, posted April 24th, 2010, 2 comments
Online Soulmate, posted April 22nd, 2010
Dirty Words..., posted April 6th, 2010, 1 comment
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