Tiny Eden

Monday, December 14, 2009

A Dream is a Wish your Heart Makes!

Below is the speech that I gave last Friday. I was so thrilled to be able to do it. I hope you enjoy it!

"Good evening! Thank you for sharing in this long-awaited joyous occasion with us. On behalf of my classmates and myself, I would like to start off by thanking everyone’s friends and families for being here. For the past year and a half, you have been so understanding when we have failed to return phone calls, backed out on plans at the last minute, got too involved in writing care plans to make dinner, and were too tired to clean the house, wash the dishes, and do the laundry. We studied through family outings and birthday parties, but you still stood by us. Thank you. We have been tired, stressed, worried, and on-edge with bouts of laughing or crying for no reason. And then there were those stories about clinicals that always came at inopportune times – like at the dinner table. On behalf of my classmates and myself, we apologize and thank you for having faith in us and helping us follow our dreams of becoming nurses. We would not be here today without you.

We would also like to thank all of our instructors for guiding us in our journey. You have taught us to be more efficient, helped us overcome boundaries we thought were impossible, and encouraged us to do things we never thought we were capable of doing. You have opened your hearts to us and were available to us 24/7. You have seen us thru the good times and the bad times. Thank you for being such great role models and an inspiration to be phenomenal nurses like you.

The past year and a half at times seemed slow and painful, but at other times flew by. It seems like it was just yesterday that we had the deer in headlites look on the first day of nursing school as we realized the road we had ahead of us. We quickly learned that days got longer and the amount of time that we slept got shorter. Nothing could have prepared us for waking up at 4:45 to go to clinicals. Those were the mornings when I wondered exactly what was I getting myself into? But it is amazing what a pit-stop at Starbucks can do!

Nursing school has taught us many things. We have learned, not just nursing procedures and skills, but we have also learned to not be judgmental - to find out the story before we draw a conclusion. We have learned to love no matter what, how to truly care for whomever is in that hospital bed on the other side of the door. We have learned to treat our patients as we would want our family and friends to be treated – with kindness, compassion, and dignity.
We have learned to really listen to what people are saying as opposed to just hearing what they are saying. We are eager to join the frontlines in making this world a better place.

My desire to be a nurse started when I was very young. I remember when I was about 3, I would make my mom take the rubber bands from the bottom of the broccoli and write my teddy bear’s name on it so it would be a hospital bracelet for him. My teachers from grammar school still remember that I wanted to be a NICU nurse since I was in second grade. I had all intentions of fulfilling my dream when I went away to college, but hit a few bumps in the road and quickly realized that, while this is what I wanted in life, I was not ready to take that journey. After years of trying to find a job that I loved doing and receiving articles about nursing from my mom in the mail, I knew that I had to follow my dream and pursue my passion. April 10th, 2008 will forever be ingrained in my head. I was in my A&P 2 class and one of my fellow classmates asked me if I had gotten my acceptance letter yet. Well, I sat about halfway thru the class and realized that there was no way that I could sit there for the remainder of the time. The 25 minute drive home seemed to last for hours. When I got back to my condo, I called my mom and went down to the mailroom. There it was. An envelope sitting in there just staring at me. Depending on what the response was, I did not want to have a breakdown in the lobby, so I went back upstairs. As I stood there with my heart pounding, my mom started to say, “Marisa, don’t be disappointed if….” Before she could get the sentence out, I started crying. The letter said Congratulations. That was all I needed to see. It was the beginning of my long-awaited journey. And I am sure that many of my classmates have similar stories about their experience.

Right now, we are needed more than ever and our challenge is to learn how to be passionate about our work and be just as excited about nursing 30 years from now as we are tonite.
As this journey comes to an end and we begin the next, I think about the memories we have made that will last a lifetime and the friendships that will endure. After today, many of us will part ways, but we will all have one thing in common. We are nurses. Wherever life takes us, we will make a difference in someone’s life. I would like to leave you with this quote: “To do what nobody else will do, in a way that nobody else can do, in spite of all we go through; that is to be a nurse.”

Congratulations, guys! We made it!"

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Everything I need to know, I learned from Cheyenne

I first met her in June 2001. As soon as I saw her, I knew that she was perfect. She had big honey brown eyes and blond hair. She was the perfect height and the perfect weight. She had what looked like a smile on her face. When I talked to her, she tilted her head and I knew that she was actually listening to what I had to say. Something that I felt like no one else was doing at the time. I knew that it was love at first sight. I kept on going back to visit her every other weekend until it was the right time to bring her home with me. In August, I filled out the necessary paperwork and wrote out a check for the best spent $95 I have, and will ever, spend in my life. I was going to bring her home in October, but I wanted to make sure no one else fell in love with her before I could bring her home so I paid for her far in advance.

On September 12, 2001, I decided to bring Cheyenne home. After what happened on September 11th, I felt the need to bring my four-legged furry friend home ASAP. I called the foster family and told them that I wanted to pick her up that afternoon. The only problem was that I would have to drive on the highway. It is now 2009 and I am still a nervous wreck getting on the highway. Imagine what I was like 8 years ago! So, I got in my car and brought her leash and her special doggie seatbelt and got on the highway. When I got to the family's house, she was in the backyard running around like a lunatic. I put her in the car and attempted to get the seatbelt on her, but it was too big. So now I had to drive with her on the highway bouncing around the car like a jumping bean. Not so good on the nerves of someone who can't drive on the highway! I actually got lost when I was trying to find my way home again. I had to stop at a gas station and get directions. It was lovely when, everytime I would try to get back in the car, she would attempt to break loose from the car. When we finally got home, I gave her a bath in my dad's garden tub. I quickly found out that Cheyenne was not a fan of water or baths. She was covered in Georgia red clay and turned into a muddy mess when I got her in the tub. The really fun part was when she took a leap out of the tub and she started to run through the house leaving giant footprints everywhere. It was a great first nite!

My dad always came home on the weekends and I specifically asked him to call me when he got close to the house. He is always big on the element of suprise and, boy, did he get a suprise when he opened the front door and Cheyenne came barrelling at him full speed ahead barking and growling. I had a whole lot of explaining to do. The worst part was having to tell my mother. She had a few comments for me and didn't really speak to me for a few days. So, I did what any person would do and laid on the Catholic guilt. In the mail, I sent my mom a picture of Cheyenne and a story about dogs in rescue groups. This particular article was written by a woman who runs a rescue group and goes to the kennel the day the non-adopted animals are put to sleep. She selects the ones who she thinks will be adopted quickly and is forced to leave with a heavy heart. I explained to my mom that I was simply making room for another dog who needed to be rescued. Needless to say, she and Cheyenne are the best of buds now. She will always be my parent's first granddaughter (sorry, Christina!).

Most importantly, I felt like Cheyenne and I had a whole lot in common. The rescue group had her for about 3 years before I adopted her. She had been adopted by several families but was always returned. I had been in several relationships, but was always "returned", too. I felt like no one was ever listening to me and that I was not needed. I have a feeling that Cheyenne felt the same way as well. Before Cheyenne was rescued, she had been beaten and used as a bait dog in pit bull fights. She has the scars to prove it. My emotions and my heart had been scarred from what I had to deal with during that time in my life, so that was just one more thing we had in common. Cheyenne trusted me even though she had been disappointed by humans repeatedly. She taught me how to trust again. She had faith in me that I would walk her, feed her, give her water, etc. Many times, when people find out that she is a rescue dog, they say that I probably saved her life. On the contrary, she saved mine. She gave me a reason to get up in the morning, she returned the love that I gave her, she never ever turned her back on me, and she was there whenever I needed her. She got me through the most difficult time in my life. Well, Cheyenne and my family did (which I know was very difficult for them to do). I know it sounds ridiculous that a dog could do that, but she did and that is why I treasure her so much. She has been my pillow, my teddy bear, my tissue (fur absorbs tears very well), my nurse, but most importantly, my loyal friend for 8 years. Today is her birthday and I plan on spoiling her rotten with bones, treats, and doggie ice cream. I figure it is the least I can do for saving my life!

I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive. ~Gilda Radner

My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am. ~Author Unknown

You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before any of us. ~Robert Louis Stevenson

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Who said 30 is not the new 20? ME!!!!

Here I am on my vacation. My looooooong awaited vacation. And what have I done? Hmmmm. Let's see. I have cleaned out my closet, dusted our bedroom, vacuumed, cleaned the 3 guest bedroom closets, organized the office, threw out a ton of old papers, organized the cabinet under the sink in the master bath, gone to work, cooked, gone grocery shopping....well, you get the point. Where in there has relaxation fit in? No where!!!! I think I might just be allergic to relaxation. I can't sleep at nite because I am too worried that I did not clean the base boards behind the bed well enough. As for exercise, I figure that the 20 trips that I am taking up and down the stairs is substitute enough for actual exercise. The sad part is that I need about another 3 weeks vacation to finish all the stuff that I still need to get done along with an additional 2 weeks vacation to recover from the additional 3 weeks vacation and the 17 days vacation that I originally had! And, usually, people need a vacation to recover from their vacation. This could be an endless process!

As I drove home from school on my last day, I actually cried. I was relieved, tired, anxious, and frankly, had no clue what the heck I was going to do with myself now that my semester was complete. I had gone from 120 mph to ZERO in the 3 seconds that it took me to hit complete and get my computerized test score. I had nothing to worry about. I did not have a test the next day, a care plan, drug sheets, online quizzes, or discussion questions. 17 days is the most I had had off in a year. What a scary feeling! And I don't mean that in a sarcastic way.

Now that I only have a week left, I am not ready to go back to school. I am glad that I was accepted to the accelerated summer program because I don't think I would be able to go back to school after having off the entire summer. I think I would have school-itis when the 18th rolled around. But this is it. The start of my last semester. I am almost done. December 14th, I will be graduating (fingers crossed!). The thought of caring for patients all by myself without an instructor breathing down my neck is causing me to completely panic. If I am not wide awake thinking about the base boards, I am wide awake thinking about taking care of patients. This whole chapter in my life is very overwhelming.

I wish I had more exciting stuff to write about my vacation. But I don't. The banana and Nutella crepes that I made for breakfast this past Sunday morning is about the wildest I have gotten. I would like to meet the people who said their 30's were the best years of their lives. So far, mine have proved to be rather dreadful/boring. And actually rather depressing. When you start to hear music that was popular when you were in school on a classic rock station, that is when you know you are getting old. Maybe when I am done with school and I start planning our wedding, it will get a little bit more exciting!

"So what are you reading?" "I am studying for one of my nursing classes." "Oh, so you are not smart enough to be a doctor. My daughter is in med school. She is going to be a doctor." "That's nice. I am smart enough. Nurses are just doctors with a personality and bed-side manner."
-Actual conversation between myself and a lovely meat head at Gold's Gym.*
*Please note, I was just defending myself and I know doctors have both personality and bed-side manner. Especially those named Kathleen Walsh who I love with all of my heart!!!!!

Friday, July 10, 2009

How precious is each memory.......

Sometimes all we have to get us thru the tough times when life gets hectic are hopes, dreams, and memories. I am smack dab in the middle of my summer semester and there have definitely been some tough and trying times. There have been days when I felt like throwing in the old proverbial towel and saying, "To heck with it all! Give me a margarita, some red nail polish, and a bikini with a beach cover-up and take me to the nearest ocean!" But there is always something, or someone, that stops me from doing it ~ usually my family and Sam. I can't throw it all away now. I have come too close. Plus, I don't think I have a garbage bag large enough to get rid of all the nursing paraphernalia that I have accumulated.

So, instead of getting in my car and zooming away from all of my responsibilities, I have been using my "free" time to remember vacations that I have taken in the past. Some days, I dream about my past summers that I spent in Mattituck with my grandparents and my sister. I can sometimes still smell the coffee, bacon, and pancakes that my grandmother would make in the mornings. When I put on my makeup, I am reminded about how my sister and I used to stare at my grandmother while she would put her makeup on in her lighted magnifying mirror. There was one summer when my mom, my grams, my sister, Min (the dog) and myself were home one nite because there were really bad storms that day. We decided to make Jiffy-pop. I am not really sure exactly how it happened, but it started a fire ~ and it was not a small one, either. Needless to say, that was the last time we ever made it! There was also another summer when my neighbor's dog had me cornered on the edge of the boat dock and my sister went to get help. What a site it was to see my sister and my grams running towards me ~ grams with a wiffle ball bat in her hands! Luckily the dog ran away before my grams started swinging! Then, there was the Fisherman's Wharf restaurant. For anyone that knew me as a child, you know about my woes with restaurants. I had restaurantitis. As soon as I would walk in, my eyes would glass over and bulge, my mouth would start to water, and I would turn green ~ think Kermit the Frog with pigtails. This was something that I inherited from my mother and I can only hope that it stops with me. At the Fisherman's Wharf, I would always get spaghetti and meatballs. My sister would try desperately to keep me entertained - mostly by playing tiddly winks. Well, before long, the food would come out, I would have one bite, and then my grams would have to escort me out of the restaurant as I christened the bushes in the front. And it was not just Fisherman's Wharf. It was also at Howard Johnson's ~ I would get the clown sundae ~ my grandparents would always let me get that in hopes that I would get a good laugh out of it instead of thinking it was food. Well, no one was laughing by the time I left there because my head would usually be in the bushes. It did not stop there ~ it also happened at Pizza Hut, Arby's, Wendy's, Roy Rogers, if it was a restaurant, I was in the bushes out front. Luckily, it stopped when I was about 16.

When we would go to the beach, we would always bring a cooler full of different flavored sodas from the A&P. Somehow, mine always ended up with sand in it ~ I am sure Dana had something to do with that. Plus, there would be every type of sandwich you could imagine - salami, turkey, bologna, etc. And yogurt. My grams always had yogurt. I remember that I would use the empty cups to make sandcastles. I would pretend that I worked in a bakery and I would ask my grams what kind of pie she wanted and I would pretend to make her sand pies. She would let me bury her feet in the sand and she would wear a big floppy straw hat. When we would go in the water, my grams would splash her fingers in the water and call them sea fingers. Nothing would make me squeal with delite more than when my grams would come after me with sea fingers. I used to hold onto my gramps's arm and he would walk out as far as he could into the water. Then we would take long walks along the beach looking for sea shells.

I would do anything just so I could go back in time to do that again. The past few nites, I have been thinking a whole lot about my grams. It has been 6 1/2 months. I miss her with every ounce and morsel of my body. I realized last nite that there are some things that she used to say and I can't remember what they were word for word. I think I remember her voice, but I am not positive. Words cannot begin to describe the special relationship that I had with her. No matter what I did, she was never disappointed. I don't know what I did in life to make her think so highly of me ~ she made me feel special and she treated me differently. While visiting my grams in the hospital, my gramps talked to me alot about how my grams felt about me. When I think back to my childhood and even my adulthood, there are not many memories that don't involve her. It seems as though my busy schedule since she left has kept me from going thru all of the process that people go thru when they lose someone they love. But for some reason, it is all catching up to me now. I find myself thinking about her all the time ~ in the morning when I wake up, in the shower, in class, at work, at nite as I am trying to go to sleep. I want to cry, but I am stopping myself. My faith and my religion tell me that I will see her again one day and that she is always with me, but I can't help but wonder.......

"I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge - myth is more potent than history - dreams are more powerful than facts - hope always triumphs over experience - laughter is the cure for grief - love is stronger than death." - Robert Fulghum

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Best of Life's Treasures

Things have been ridiculously hectic since I posted my last blog. I hate going this long without updating. School has been keeping me so busy, but I am absolutely loving it. If there was ever a point during my recent return to school that I thought that I was not cut out to do this, after doing my OB clinicals, those feelings are no longer there. I KNOW this is what I was meant to do!

I got to see a c-section my first day at my clinicals. I didn't really know what to expect. I have never seen any kind of surgery before and I was petrified of going in there. I didn't want to be the one who threw-up, passed out, or even worse - drop a Junior Mint in the patient. So, I kind of stood there off to the side and the doctor told me to get closer so I could get a better view. Then she started to cut. And cut some more. And cut some more. Once she got through the skin and fat layers, there it was, staring me in the face. A pregnant uterus. It was huge. And scary. But, I did ok. Then, she made her incision thru the uterus and this beautiful little face popped out. He took his first breath and he and I both started crying at the same time. It was one of the best experiences of my life.

On my last day of clinicals, I was back to labor and delivery. When I got there, all of the births were done and the patient that was furthest along was only 4 cm. I went in there and she was screaming. All I kept thinking was - Holy crap! If this is her at 4 cm, I don't want to be in here at 10 cm. This patient was not an English speaking patient, supposedly. When asked on a scale of 1 - 10 what her pain was, she had to had someone translate. But all of a sudden, when the nurses and doctors were talking about having to reinsert her epidural, she was able to understand that without a translator AND answered in perfect full sentences without any accent what-so-ever. Hmmmmm. I was a little irritated.

Luckily, I was only in there with her for about 15 minutes. The nurse told me that there was another woman in the room next door who was about to give birth within the next few minutes. So, I flew out of the room I was in and went next door. The patient was an 18 year old girl who had no pre-natal care except for one ultrasound 2 weeks prior because she thought she was in labor then. She was given an estimated delivery date of 8/2/09. She had gone into labor at 4 am and thought they were just false contractions. Well, they weren't. So at 11:15, she was transferred to a bed. The NICU team was there along with the respiratory therapists. No one really knew what to expect. The doctor instructed me to hold one of her legs while she pushed. For anyone who knows how big, or actually how small, I am would know that this would be an interesting job for me. Well, mom pushed.........and I went flying across the room. So 2 other nurses had to come and help me hold the leg. On the second push, the baby was out. It was a little girl. Again, baby cried and so did I. The mom really did not want to see or hold the baby. She was kind of indifferent about the situation. About 15 minutes passed and the respiratory therapists and the NICU team were gone and we were still waiting for the placenta. Well, the doctor examined the patient and asked her if she had ever had any abdominal surgery or uterine surgery. She said no and that is when the doctor stated that we had a problem. Apparently, there was another baby in there. In one push, the second baby was born - 4 lbs 6 ozs. Again, baby number 2 cried and so did I. And again, mom was not impressed. That is about all I am going to tell of the story because once dad got there and kept repeatedly saying that he wanted a boy and was not happy with the twins, I got really sad. I don't even want to think about the life these 2 little girls will lead. And to top it off, dad had 2 other children - 2 boys - a 1 year old and a 6 year old all by different women.

I fell in love with all of the babies I took care of - in the nursery, on mother-baby, and in delivery. My heart was filled with happiness with each little hand I held, each little hair I combed, and each little heartbeat I listened to. I wondered what they would all grow up to look like, what they would be when they got older, and if our paths would ever cross again. I was also praying that the little boys that I witnessed getting snipped would not remember my face! Now that whole process almost made me pass out.

This is something I can easily see myself doing for the rest of my life!

Making the decision to have a child - it's momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking outside your body. ~ Elizabeth Stone

Thursday, April 9, 2009

April 9, 2009

Dear Cystic Fibrosis:

I am writing on behalf of your landlord, Sam B. You have been residing in Sam's lungs for 24.5 years. During this time, you have caused many disturbances, including, but not limited to, coughing fits, lung infections, weight loss, anger, sadness, frustration, and hospitalizations - just to name a few. Not only that, but you are also very time consuming. Sam spends about 3 hours a day trying to clean up after you by doing treatments, using his vest, and trying to cough you out. Plus, usually the tenant pays the landlord to live there, although based on credit card bills and check book balances, we are somehow being charged an arm and a leg - and a set of lungs. But it seems as though you have not gotten the message. I don't know if you have gotten angrier over time because Sam has defeated you so far and beat the odds that were handed to him when he was 4 months old. Are you angry that he graduated from college and Grad school, has passed 2 parts of the CPA exam, and has gotten engaged? And you are not only disturbing him, you are disturbing the neighbors as well. It appears as though Mr. Pancreas is not happy about this whole arrangement, and frankly, neither am I. Your all nite parties in Sam's lungs cause such a ruckus, that they wake me up and cause me to worry. I don't think you understand what you are doing to him, to me, and to everyone that loves Sam. There are way too many people that love and care about Sam, so I am asking you nicely to please go away. And if you can't go away, just don't be so harsh on him. He does not deserve this - no one deserves this.

Please consider this to be your formal notice in writing. You are hereby notified to vacate the premises (Sam's lungs) within thirty (30) days of the delivery of this notice to you. Your lease was terminated when you caused 2 hospitalizations in 2 months. If you fail to vacate within this period, we will be forced to add more drugs to his already lengthy regimen and possibly add a clinical trial. Just please go away - I am begging you.

Sam's loving fiance, friend, and soul mate.

Sam is unfortunately back in the hospital again and has already been in for 9 days. He does not really feel much better so we are unsure when he will be getting out. It seems as though Easter will be spent in the hospital as well. I am just so sad, angry and frustrated and I feel so helpless that I cannot fix this. It really is breaking my heart. Usually when Sam goes in the hospital, I get upset, but I am able to accomplish my every day tasks. For some reason, this hospitalization has hit me very hard and I am finding it difficult to do simple things like dishes, laundry, making meals........you name it and I don't want to do it. I am just feeling very lonely - not sure if this is because we are engaged now - but I loved him just as much before. Everyone has been so supportive and I really do appreciate it. Well, everyone except for this one idiot who asked me how Sam was doing and when I told him he was in the hospital and I was having trouble coping with it, he told me that by being with Sam, I am doing this to myself. I did not know what to say and it physically made my heart hurt. I responded that I could not help who I fell in love with and that I was not going to not marry Sam just because he had cystic fibrosis. That would not be fair to Sam or myself. But this idiot was young.....probably about 20. He will learn with time. I know he was probably saying it for the shock value. And I was shocked........shocked at his stupidity.

Right now, there is no cure for cystic fibrosis. But that does not stop me from having hope and a dream. Every time I have a dream about Sam, he does not have cystic fibrosis. Everyday, I wish on stars that there will be a cure and I pray that one day, there will at least be a control. I anxiously await a phone call saying that some kind of control or cure has been discovered. Sam deserves that much at least.

Once you choose hope, anything's possible. - Christopher Reeve

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Dear Matthew, I like you alot.

Thanks to being in nursing school, I have now had my pants scared off about what can happen if I don't take care of myself. And like most nursing students, I leave class thinking that I actually have every disease and disorder that we discussed that day. That is on top of the ones that I have already been diagnosed with by my doctor. Because of this, I have finally decided to become a little healthier. I disposed of all of my old, expired vitamins and purchased new chewable multivitamins and chewable calcium. I would like to say that the reason why I have not been taking my vitamins is because I have to swallow them, but deep down inside, I know that laziness is the real reason. I can't even blame it on a busy schedule because, honestly, how long does it take to swallow a pill? Well, it actually did take me 5 minutes to swallow a pill one time because I kept gagging on it.

On to the exercise. I work in a gym for Pete's sake. I get a free stinkin membership!!!! The only thing missing is someone physically carrying me to the gym kicking and screaming. I can't use the excuse that it costs too much. I can't say that I don't have 30 minutes in the day to get my tushie on a treadmill or an elliptical machine. Again, laziness. I have no other tangible excuse. Oh, but there is the small fact that I run like Phoebe Buffay and seeing me in workout clothes is like looking at a pipe-cleaner in yoga pants.

Since I have changed my status on Facebook to "engaged to Sam Byram", I have been getting the most charming little ads on the side of my screen that tell me tips on how to lose weight so I can squeeze into the dress of my dreams. I hate to break it to them, but the dress of my dreams will probably have to be taken in 4 sizes. Again, this is my own fault. I find things like eating, drinking water, and peeing to be a waste of time. I have vowed to eat more everyday. But I think I might have gone a little overboard today. I went to Kroger where they had Quaker Quakes Rice Cakes for 10 for $10. So, I bought myself a bag in Kettle Corn flavor. I was looking forward to the sweet yet tinge of salt taste. I live a mile from Kroger. Exactly a mile. I polished off half the bag making my way from my parking spot to the street. I would like to say there was a ton of traffic, but there wasn't. Right after I hit the button on my garage door opener, I stuck my hand into the bag. Crumbs. I ate the entire freaking bag!!!! I looked at the back of the bag and saw that my mile drive munchie is supposed to feed 7 people. SEVEN!!!!!!! I ate 49 mini rice cakes in a mile drive home. Thank goodness they are mostly air. I think that is actually the first ingredient listed on the bag. Air. Yup, it is. I just checked.

I have been reading the book "The Worn Out Woman". It is for the woman whose "life is full but spirit is empty". I have been trying to get my mental health in check, too. Sam is not much a fan of this book, though. Ten minutes after I finished reading a chapter of it last Friday, I changed the message on my cell phone saying that I was taking a mental vacation and that my phone would be shut off until Sunday. Sam made me change the message because he said I sounded like a lunatic in the midst of a nervous breakdown. I don't think he was that far off the mark! Let me clarify, though. My life is full, but my spirit is not empty. I just need something to help it get back on track. I have a whole lot of pent up anger from things that happened too many years ago to even think about, but for some reason, I can't let them go. Which brings me to the title of my blog - something that my mom taught me years and years ago. If you have something to say to someone, write a letter, but don't send it to them. Send it to someone else, like your mom, best friend, sister, etc. This way, you write down what you want to say and get it out of your system and they don't actually get the letter. Well, I have a whole lot of these "Unsent" letters stashed away and there is no need to hold onto old letters that have nothing to do with my current life. We have a garage sale in my neighborhood coming up. Perhaps I can sell them to a woman who has had a bunch of failed relationships in her life so she can send them to one of her old flames.

So, that is my plan. Eat more, exercise more, take vitamins, drink something other than coffee and soda, drink water, enhance my spirit, and rid my life of unnecessary anger, regret, envy, and sadness.

"Dear Jonathan I liked you too much. I used to be attracted to boys who would lie to me and think solely about themselves and you were plenty self-destructive for my taste at the time. I used to say the more tragic the better. The truth is whenever I think of the early 90's your face comes up with a vengeance like it was yesterday." - Alanis Morissette

Saturday, March 14, 2009

What the HELL?!?!?!?!

When Sam asked me to marry him, that was my response to him. And I quote - "What the HELL!?!?!?!?!". I really had no clue that it was going to happen that day. Many people have been asking me to recount that day. So, to make it easier, I am putting it in my blog.

On Saturday, March 7, I had just gotten home from my 12 hour clinicals at Emory when my dad called. He asked if Sam and I would want to go to dinner on Sunday nite to Provino's. This is really not out of the ordinary because at least once a week, my dad comes over or I go to his house and these visits often revolve around food. I agreed that we would meet him at Provino's between 4:45 and 5 pm. I mozied on down the stairs and told Sam that my dad invited us to dinner and Sam started to huff and puff that Sunday is his only day off and yadda, yadda, yadda. He finally agreed to go. Meanwhile, he was the one who asked my dad to invite us out to dinner in the first place! On Sunday, Sam, his mother and myself piled into Sam's car and we headed to the restaurant. We sat down and ordered our food and the meal progressed as normal with Sam eating way too many garlic rolls - so many, that you can usually smell the garlic seeping out of his pores a month later. At the end of the meal, Sam said that he had to go to the bathroom. About 2 minutes after he got up, the waitstaff came over with an ice cream sundae and started singing Happy Birthday to me. Well, my birthday is in December, so I was beyond baffled. I assumed that it was my dad's doing because nothing makes him happier than embarrassing people in public whether or not there is a birthday to be celebrated! I just sat there with a puzzled look on my face while glaring at my dad. When they were done humiliating me by singing for my non-existent birthday, Sam popped out from around the corner and tapped me on the shoulder and said,"Hey" in a Kermit the Frog-ish voice. When I turned around, he got down on one knee and I just said,"What the HELL!?!?!?!?!". I put my head in my hands and proceeded to bawl my eyes out. The funny part is that all of Sam's friends asked if I was going to cry and he told them I wouldn't because I am not the crying type. He gave me a lovely little speech that I did not really hear a word of because I was sobbing and then he put the ring on my finger. I love it. It is beautiful. It is more than I could have ever dreamed of. Sam did such a great job planning and implementing that day. Can you tell that I am in nursing school with my planning and implementing vocabulary???? I will never ever forget the feeling that I had at that moment. Not many things are really a true, genuine surprise. I was shocked!

While I do love my ring, I love even more the person that gave it to me and what it means. Before I met Sam, I had several bad relationships that often left me feeling as though I would never find my other half. I fell in love with Sam before we even started dating. He treated me and spoke to me in a way that no one has ever done before. I kind of knew that he would make a great "other half" right from the beginning!

On to the wedding planning. We are thinking Fall 2010 in New York, perhaps. I spent a whopping 10 minutes online looking at a wedding website when I my head started to spin and I went in to full panic mode! There is so much stuff that goes into wedding planning! You have your date, the venue, the menu, the bride's dress, the wedding party's dresses, the colors, the invites, the save-the-dates, the thank you cards, the photographer, the dj, the favors, the shoes, the hair, the makeup, the underwear, the honeymoon. And most importantly, the money!!!! I am still waiting for the wedding fairy to come and drop off a filled out wedding planner and a stack of bridal magazines. She hasn't made it here yet. I wonder what's keeping her???

"I am like a falling star who has finally found her place next to another in a lovely constellation, where we will sparkle in the heavens forever." - Amy Tan

Thursday, February 26, 2009

So, I started a new job a few weeks ago. It is at a gym. It is pretty mindless, so it is just what I need right now. I basically check people in, answer the phone, and make smoothies. Doesn't seem that complicated, right? For some reason, last week, I really did not think that I was competent enough to do this job. I called my mom in tears last week - almost to the point of hyperventilation - because I really thought that I was an idiot. It seemed as though the first statement out of everyone's mouth to me that day while I was working was, "Just to let you know, in the future, fill in the blank." Basically, everything I did that day was incorrect. Apparently, I don't know how to answer a phone correctly. After you thank people for calling the gym and then identify yourself, no matter what the question is, you are supposed to ask them if they are a member. Ex. Caller: What time is the step class being offered today? Me: Are you a member? or Caller: Do you have showers at your facility? Me: Are you a member? And if they say no, I am not supposed to answer their question - I am supposed to take down their name and their phone number and transfer them to my manager so they can try to sell them a membership. I don't work well that way. I want to answer the question and then ask if they are a member. I would be really ticked off if I called somewhere just to get a stinkin answer about something and I was transferred to about 1o different people just to find out if toilet stall number 2 has toilet paper in it. And then when people call wanting to cancel, I try to follow protocol, which changes about 8 times during every shift, no one wants to separate themselves from the little social circle that they have going on so I am constantly just taking messages. And of course no one will actually call the people back so the people that answer the phones are always getting yelled at by patrons. Honestly, I would want to cancel, too. Someone called the other day to ask to have a copy of their agreement faxed to them. I don't have access to the agreements, so I gave the message to someone who does. He proceeded to tell me that he was not going to fax her a copy of it and she would have to call back again to ask for it. Some of the people there are really, really lazy! The poor operations manager is there for 13 hours a day 7 days a week because apparently everything falls under his position. Then there is my nemesis - the smoothie machine. And why would it decide to work on the day that everything else was going wrong? My manager is up at the desk and someone comes up to ask for a smoothie. Of course, I jump on it because I wanted to actually do something right in front of her. Little did I know, we were all out of the flavor that the person wanted. So I prepare the mixture and put it in the machine to be blended. I hit all the buttons and notice that when the juice is supposed to be coming out, it is all water. I hit a few more buttons and hit blend and it literally explodes all over the place. I then realize that there is no more triple berry syrup crap under the machine, so I ask if he wants a different flavor. He tells me strawberry, so I give that one a whirl. Well, I put the blender cover with the closed lid on it instead of the one with the hole in it. When I hit the buttons and the liquid starts to pour out, it goes all over the place and then the blender kicks in. Now I have an even bigger mess. I swear I want to wear a t-shirt that says - "I really am smart. I can administer high alert drugs. Can you????" Then to make my day even better, there was a stuffy artsy fartsy man and his wife who are in their 60's who came in and he decided to check himself in as I was doing something else on the computer. I told him that I needed to rescan his card and he looked at my manager and said, "Ugh, it is so hard to train people right these days!" Needless to say, I no longer greet him. I swipe his card and don't say anything. I am too old for this crap and I am too old to feel badly about myself because of someone else's actions. I think part of the problem is that I am too nice and too soft spoken. When I am in NY, I never feel like I am not good enough, not pretty enough, or not smart enough. But for some reason, I always feel like that when I am in GA. Well, enough is enough. Take your nasty attitude and your triple berry crap smoothie and shove it where the sun doesn't shine!!!!

On a much happier note, Sam's lung functions are going up!!!! Yippee!!!! He is feeling better and looking better. He just needs to gain a little more weight. But then again, being that it is busy season, he has been eating at work. Once busy season is over, I will be fattening him up with eggplant, sausage, and pasta!

"You can't please everyone and you can't make everyone like you." Katie Couric

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Taking the bully by the horns.

Imagine calling up a radio talk show host to get her "professional" insight on a situation and you end up being called a "shack up honey" and an "unpaid whore". This afternoon, I went to assist my dad with some errands and, on my way back home, I could not find anything good on the radio, so I turned on some Sirius radio. As I was flipping through, I came across Dr. Laura Schlessinger's show. I thought I would go ahead and take a listen. I figured that I could always use some entertainment and, who knows, I might learn something. Let me tell you - this woman is a radio bully! This woman called up to discuss an argument that she was having with her boyfriend and made the statement that "he still comes home every nite..." Well, she did not get one more word out after that. Dr. Laura cut her off and said, "Let me get this straight - you are not married to this man, but you are living with him? You are shacking up? I would not even be concerned about the argument you had. You are a shack up honey and an unpaid whore. Why don't you talk about that with him tonite!" And then she hung up on the woman. This poor lady called Dr. Laura looking for advice and all she got was a verbal beatdown! I felt so sorry for her, I just wanted to send her a hug thru the radio.

Ok, that was rant number one. On to the next. I love going to the grocery store. I am always in a great mood when I go. I especially love to look at all the fruits and vegetables. I don't know what it is, but I just love it. Today, I had my grocery shopping spirit shattered. I pull into the parking lot and park. As I am grabbing my list, I notice that there are 4 males walking in between my car and the car that was parked facing mine. I am about to get out of my car and I notice that Sam text messages me, so I called him instead of text messaging him back. While I am on the phone with him, I hear people screaming, so I look up. These people were actually yelling at me. Poor Sam just kept on talking and I am in awe as these 4 high school boys rolled down their windows and started calling me a "dumb white 8itch" and a "f&(*ing white ho". Plus, they were pointing and laughing at me! And I know they were in high school because they had on t-shirts from their school and they were obviously driving Daddy's SUV). The worst part was, they thought this was funny and ok! Sam just kept talking and I had to ask him to repeat himself 2 times. I was really enraged. I was tempted to go into Kroger to see if they had video tapes with their customers on it. But then I thought - um, ok, when I see who they are, what would I actually do? Call the police and say that some high school kids bullied me? Instead, I wandered to the deli counter and ordered my 1/2 pound of hard salami. Then, I mozied on over to the fruits and vegetables and felt better.

Today must have been the day for yelling at people in grocery store parking lots. Sam does not like the milk from Kroger. He says it "tastes funny". I am not really sure what that is about, but whatever. After Kroger, I went to Publix in order to get the Sam-approved milk. I buy the milk and, as I am walking to my car, there is a girl who is hanging out of her mother's parked car yelling, "I worked so freaking hard to get all of my homework done today and now you are ruining my nite, you 8itch!" And this is how the high schooler from Wesleyan (a private Christian Academy) spoke to her mother. She then proceeded to slam the car door and pound her feet on the interior of her mother's Mercedes as her mother went into the grocery store. I could not help but think about my own bullying in the Kroger parking lot and thought that there must be something in the air with high schoolers and grocery parking lots today. Luckily, my bully was not in my car with banging feet on the dashboard.

Now, onto the good stuff. Sam is home from the hospital after being in for 2 weeks at the end of January. There is some crud growing in his lungs so his doctor gave him a prescription. Hopefully, that will get rid of it. He spoke at Emory today. He speaks to the nursing program there every semester about what it is like to have CF. He may seem shy at first, but he loves to talk about himself and have all the attention on him. He is a nifty little speaker!

I started my second semester of school in mid-January. It was very scary at first, but I am getting thru it. I am doing my clinicals on a CF floor. I don't know about you, but I think that is pretty stininking ironic. And I have a new job! WooHoo for the new job!

"Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore your faith in yourself." Lucille Ball

Saturday, January 17, 2009

I would have been better off rocking an I LOVE NY t-shirt!

Since when did I become a tourist in my own home town??? Someone literally should have just handed me a camera, fanny pack, and an I LOVE NY t-shirt because it wouldn't have even come close to screaming tourist as loudly as my actions did when I was home!

I had to make a trip to NY for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in mid-December. I NEVER pass up the chance to go home. Not just because it is home, but because it is NY - the coolest place ever. I should have realized that I needed to review my NY savvy when I had to take out the subway map in order to figure out what trains to take to get to Grand Central Station ~ a place that I used to work . So, once my mom made the list of buses and subways for me to take (thanks, mommy!), I was on my merry way.

I had to dress business casual and I figured that, because I was in NY, I definitely had to keep up with the clothing. I would be traveling through the city via subway, you know. Unfortunately, that also meant that I would have to wear heels. And most of you that know me well know that I will take my comfy New Balance sneakers over heels any day. To my surprise, I was the only one on the subway rocking the "business attire with sneakers" look. Flash back to Jane Fonda in 1980's Nine to Five movie. Apparently, my December 21st birthday is not the only thing I share with Ms. Fonda. We share fashion sense. The saddest part about the whole situation was that, even with my sneakers on, I was still being outrun by the fashionistas in their 10 inch stilettos!

I also did not receive the IPOD memo. It appears as though the right to passage to get on a NY subway is that your ears must be adorned with the ear buds of an IPOD. I really wish I would have gotten that memo because I would not have had to listen to the man playing Silent Nite, Jingle Bells, and I Have a Little Dreidel on the Melodica for 30 minutes. My favorite part of the ride was when we got stuck on the 6 train in the tunnel for 25 of those Melodica blasting minutes. Then, when the doors would open, there would be someone playing the steel drums so it would be a duel between the Melodica and the steel drums. Plus, when you are the only person on the train not wearing ear buds, guess who the Melodica player wants to talk to in between sets?

When I get to Grand Central Station, I just kind of stood there, in the middle of the walkway wondering where the heck the stinkin Metro North was. How was it that I worked there but had never seen the Metro North??? When I got up to the counter, I purchased my ticket and asked the ticket lady if I would have to switch trains in order to get to my destination. She oh-so-politely replied, "Not if you get on the right train." Well, thanks lady. That helps me a whole lot. She really ticked me off because she is the kind of person that gives New Yorkers a bad name. As I am looking at my ticket, there are about 6 different numbers on it. None of them being a departing time or a track number. I wait on line to ask the man at the other booth what the numbers on my ticket mean when 3 people who were foreign just step right in front of me and start asking the man a million questions in very broken English. Is waiting on line not a universal thing??? I thought the smile and waiting on line were the only things that were universal??? They step away from the booth just in time for me to find out that my train had just left and it would be 45 minutes before the next one left.

I finally get to my destination in one piece (after asking the conductor about 20 times if I was on the correct train), change into my heels while in the cab from the train station to the office, train some people how to use the computer system, and get back to the train station. I wait for the train to get there and then ask about 20 different people if this train went to Grand Central Station. It was at that point when I was on Metro North heading back to GCS that I realized that I was missing yet another element. A fancy schmancy phone. I looked around and everyone was bopping their heads to their IPODs and checking their facebook pages. And there I sat with my pink Razr phone in my pocket, New Balance sneakers on my feet, and Woman's Day magazine in hand. That is when the song "Which of these things is not like the other" from Sesame Street started to play loud enough in my head that the woman next to me with the IPOD, fancy phone, and Manolo Blahnik's could hear it.

Once I made my way back to common ground - Grand Central Station - I realized that I had one more problem. There were a whole lot more people going in the opposite direction that I was going. It kind of looked like a video going in fast forward, but this was the actual pace that these people were going. When it came time for me to go through the turnstile, I panicked. Plus, it did not help that someone was playing Led Zeppelin on the violin. It made it seem like people were moving a whole lot faster than they really were. I was going to be polite and wait until there was a gap in the people headed out through the turnstile, but 3/4 of the way through "Whole Lotta Love", I realized I was being very unrealistic. So, I put my big girl pants on, stepped up to the turnstile, and told the person that was getting ready to mow me down, "No, you just need to wait!" I felt like I had suddenly morphed into my mother. That was one of my proudest moments that day.

Needless to say, I made it home 2 hours later in one piece, but freezing cold. On my trip home for Christmas, I went into the city twice and I was much more savvy. Julie took me out for my birthday and I was able to meet her in one piece donning my IPOD. I wore my Uggs because it was really icy out. Julie had heels on. She is such a show off :-) Then, I met Julie, Yasmine, and Kathleen along with their significant others another evening. I made it there in one piece as well. This time I showed up with, not only my IPOD, but heels as well!

So the next time you are on the subway and you hear Dolly Parton's voice singing "Nine to five, what a way to make a living" chances are, it is not the person's IPOD next to you. It means that somewhere in a nearby subway station, Marisa is strutting her stuff!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A star shines bright on Christmas day.....

And, oh, what a bright shining star she is! On Christmas Eve/Christmas morning, at 1:35 a.m., my family received a phone call that my Grams passed away. She was not just any Grams. I grew up with her living in the same house as me. Whenever I would go home to NY, I would look forward to spending time with her - just sitting at the kitchen table and chatting. I have never had to deal with the death of anyone that close to me before. There are lots of aches and pains that go along with it. This whole thing still has not hit me fully yet. I was lucky enough to choke out a few words at my Grams's funeral. Here they are:

"When most people think of a grandmother, they think of a little old lady sitting in a rocking chair knitting. My Grams might have been tiny in size, but with her red lipstick and nail polish and a Vogue magazine always close at hand, she was anything but typical. She was gorgeous on the outside and stunning on the inside. For nearly 30 years, I have been lucky enough to live in the same house as my grandparents. During that time, I have made many fond memories with my Grams. We spent many summers in Mattituck - lounging on the beach in straw hats, floating in the waves, and having barbecues on the front patio. In the morning, my sister and I would always argue over who would crawl into bed with Grandma. But Grams would always make sure there was enough room in her twin bed for both of us to squeeze in there with her.

As I matured, so did my relationship with my Grams. She always loved hearing stories about school, work, and my social life. But most importantly, she wanted to know what clothes, makeup, and jewelry I was wearing when I went out. She was always quite the glamour girl. I looked to my Grams for advice about so many thing. She would always tell me everything would be okay. There are some things in life that I have doubted, but my Grandma's love for me was never one of them. I know she loved me, my family, and friends with all of her heart. There are so many things that I will miss about my Grams - her hugs and smile, her voice and laugh. But especially the small things that meant so much. She always made sure to buy me a pound of rainbow cookies every time I came home to visit. As small as it was, that was one of my favorite parts of my trip home. Whenever I would go back to Georgia, she would always tell me that my trip home was not long enough. Today, I would like to tell my Grams that her visit with us was not long enough. Thank you for being such a perfect Grams and for being one of my best friends."

~Grieve not nor speak of me with tears, but laugh and talk of me as if I were beside you. I loved you so. It was heaven here with you.~

I love you and miss you, Grams!