Tiny Eden

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

After all, I am Just A Nurse....

Each work day, my alarm goes off anywhere between 4:45 am and 5:15 am depending on which hat I am wearing.  I am not dressing in designer clothes, I am wearing $15 scrub pants from Walmart and a t-shirt I got for free with my hospital's logo.  I don't have a stylist.  I get dressed in my bedroom, not a dressing room.  If my co-workers are lucky, I take the extra 10 minutes to do my hair and put on make up, but that is rare.  I don't have a hairdresser or make up artist at the ready.  I throw some yogurt, a frozen breakfast sandwich, a microwavable lunch, and some snacks in my lunch bag.  I put on the most expensive shoes that I own, a pair of $165 Dansko's.  I don't own designer shoes.  I get in my car and drive 35 minutes to work to get there at 6 AM or 7 AM depending on what my job duties are for the day.  I don't have a driver with a fancy car to bring me to work.  I drive myself.  Because, you know, I am just a nurse.
I spend most of my morning bouncing from one room to the next, hanging IV medications, taking vital signs, talking to doctors, social workers, case managers, child life specialists, pharmacists, physical therapists, assessing patients, talking to patients and families.  If I am lucky, by 11:30, I will be eating my breakfast sandwich and yogurt and charting while sipping on cold coffee that I had all intentions of drinking earlier in my shift.  I don't have a spread of food in a  "Green Room" or an assistant to get me some crazy soy, mocha, half-skim, with a twist of caramel latte thing.  I work 14 hours a day and drive myself back home because I did not magically get a driver while I was being just a nurse.  I sometimes miss my own child's bedtime.  My dad has to put him to bed because I don't have a nanny or au pair.  When I get home, I might eat dinner, but I am mostly too tired.  I don't have a personal chef or reservations at a 5 star restaurant.  But what would you expect?  I am just a nurse.  
Much of my time is spent listening to a parent tell me her fears because her preschooler was just diagnosed with diabetes and she is not sure how she is going to poke her child's finger multiple times a day and give her insulin injections all by herself at home.  I call the doctor and advocate for a patient because of the subtle changes in her condition are starting to add up to something bigger.  I comfort the baby who is crying because he is alone in his room without any parents there and he is tired and scared.  I sing The Wheels on the Bus to a toddler as I insert a new NG tube into her nose so she can get the nutrition she needs to live.  I talk to the teenager who has a chronic illness and is tired of being different and just wants to fit in with her friends so she stops  doing her life saving treatments.  I write memories and well wishes in the book of one of my patients who is transitioning to adult care and alleviate her fears of having a new doctor and new nurses.  I cry with my co-workers when a patient dies.  I hug the family members who come back to see us after their beloved child dies from a nasty disease.  I get tears of joy in my eyes when I see babies thriving when, just a year ago, they were struggling to breathe.  I have worked holidays away from my family so I can take care of someone's child.  I put on a happy face because I get to go home to my child.  They want to be there even less than I do.  It's just a job, though, because I am just a nurse.
It was just 10 short months ago that a nurse put her arm around my shoulders to comfort me when my husband had to be intubated and my family had not gotten there yet.  It was nurses who stood and prayed with me when I felt alone.  It was nurses who used to take care of my husband who took up a collection of grocery store gift cards to help me through the holidays.  It was a nurse who listened to me talk for hours about my husband when he was in the ICU.  It was a nurse who held my hand and cried with me and told me it was ok to let him go, to talk to him, that he could hear me.  It was just a nurse who rubbed my back 9 months ago as I heard the doctor say, &I am sorry for your loss& when I became a widow at 35.  It was my husband's nurses who came to the funeral home and the church to say goodbye to the love of my life.  But, they are just nurses.
I lay in bed at nite and think about the patient who was one treatment away from going to the PICU.  I get teary eyed thinking about the patient who was there because they were mistreated by someone they trusted.  I wonder if the parent who was scared about a new diagnosis is sleeping well.  I hope the toddler that was a difficult stick got the IV put in on the first try.  
It is what I do.  After all, I am Just a Nurse.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Mid February Shouldn't Be So Scary

"I am fine."  "We are good."  "We are getting along."  "We are adjusting."  This is what I say to everyone.  Everyone.  No exceptions.  Family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, acquaintances, everyone.  I even told that to the chaplain.  And you know what?  It is a lie.  A complete and absolute lie.  I keep a journal that I write in just about every nite.  It is to Sam.  I write him letters.  The other nite, I didn't write in it because I was angry with him.  Actually, two nites went by that I didn't write in it.  I was angry because he left me.  He left me with a broken heart.  And I am having to lie to people to tell them I am ok.  The truth is, that if I tell people the truth, I will cry.  I hate crying.  I hate crying alone and I especially hate crying in front of anyone.  I am afraid that if I start, I won't be able to stop.  I know that I won't be able to stop.  It happened the other nite and it happened today.  The other nite, I got home from work after lying to the chaplain and I started to cry.  Standing in the shower for an hour.  Until the water got cold.  So cold I couldn't even feel it anymore.  Just crying by myself.  It is the first time I have really, really just cried and I couldn't stop.  No matter how hard I tried, the tears just kept flowing.  I couldn't even be honest with someone whose job it is to listen to me and offer comfort.  I don't know why I feel like I need to be so strong and hold it together.  Perhaps I am afraid that people will think I can't handle my job anymore.  Perhaps I fear that people will not want to talk to me anymore if I just focus on how sad I am.  People keep telling me how strong and courageous I am so I guess I feel like I need to act that way.  I don't want to be known as the girl who falls to pieces at the drop of a hat.  I don't want to be the girl who only talks about how her husband passed away.

Today, I had an interview.  But I watched Sam's video as soon as I got the link for it, which was shortly before my interview.  This was the first time I had heard Sam's voice since November 13th at 5:20 pm.  It was the first time I heard his interview.  He was so real.  He was right there.  I wanted to hug him and kiss him and have him tell me he was going to stay right here and that he wasn't going anywhere.  But that didn't happen.  Instead, after 22 minutes, the music stopped and the screen went blank.  I wanted to scream for him to come back.  I could not stop crying.  I cried when I was getting ready.  I cried in the car on the way there.  I cried in the parking deck.  And when I cry, I sweat.  Profusely.  So I had to go to the gift shop to buy some deodorant.  I almost wanted to call to cancel, but I knew how disappointed Sam would be if I canceled.  So I didn't. 

I can't sleep at nite without the tv on.  I tried to sleep with it off the other nite, but I am haunted by sounds and visions that no one should ever be haunted by.  Thoughts of what I could have done differently to try to save Sam.  Memories of fights we had and hurtful things I had said.  Sam always told me that he was afraid that if he passed away, I would just spend all of my time crying - I made a promise to him that I would not do that.  I have tried really hard to not do that and have succeeded thus far.  But I don't know how much longer I can do that. 

I know there will always be pain, but I hope that it gets better as time goes on.  Eventually, I hope I will be comfortable enough to cry if I feel like crying.  Right now is just a very sad and confusing time.  There isn't a handbook for grief and there are not many people I know who are in my same situation.  I am trying the best I know how and that is all I can do.

"But you went away
How dare you?
I miss you
They say I'll be ok
But I'm not going to ever get over you"

Thursday, February 12, 2015

He Won at Life

Just a few words that I spoke at Sam's funeral. 

"Before I begin, I would just like to thank everyone for coming to celebrate the amazing life of Sam Byram.  The amount of people who came shows how well-loved Sam is.

Anyone who knows Sam knows how persistent he could be.  Early in 2006, he saw a photo of me on my friend, Kirsten's, MySpace page.  He kept bugging her to introduce us.  Every time she told me about him, I kind of shrugged it off.  I wasn't looking to date anyone at the time really.  Plus, he was 21 and I was 27.  When he was admitted to the CF Center for a 2 week tune-up, I finally gave in and agreed to visit him.  Well, the joke was on me.  I fell head over heals, he stole my heart, it was love at first sight.  Sam was such a gentleman.  From that day on, we have spoken everyday.  Sam knew what he wanted in life and he was determined to succeed in all he did.  And I loved that about him. 

No one can say Sam lost his battle with CF because he won at life.  Sam was a wonderful son, loving husband, gentle father, excellent friend, nephew, cousin, and uncle. 

Sam lived out his dreams ~ he earned his MBA, studied very hard and became a CPA, purchased our dream home, got married, worked full time, was an avid tennis player, and became a father.  I didn't know it was possible to love Sam anymore than I already did until I saw him with Owen.  Sam wanted to do everything with Owen, even if that was changing the scariest of diapers.  Owen was the light of Sam's life and I know he fought so much harder because of him.  Sam wanted to be able to see Owen grow up, teach him how to play tennis, and cheer on the GIANTS each week during football season.  Oh, how lucky I was that Sam chose me to follow his dreams with. 

Not a day went by that he didn't tell me how beautiful I was or how much he loved me.  If someone told me I had to choose between experiencing the greatest of all love for only a short time or mediocre love for a lifetime, I would choose the same path I chose.  The joy, happiness, and true love I have experienced far outweighs the sadness I am feeling now. 

Oh, how lucky I am to have the most handsome guardian angel zipping around heaven."

Three months ago tonite would be the last normal nite I would have.  Your life can change in the blink of an eye.  Cherish every moment with your loved ones. 

"Undying love is more powerful than life; it lives beyond death."  ~Scottie Somers

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

.......And That Is Why I Wore Red To My Husband's Funeral.

People plan what to wear to different special events all of the time.  When you go out on a first date, you stare at your closet finding just the right outfit to wear.  I went out and bought a new pair of jeans and a new shirt for our first date.  When you meet the parents, you always make sure you have on the right outfit.  Going out for a special, romantic dinner requires just the right outfit.  Wedding dresses are probably the biggest clothing choice ever.  The dress I picked out was the first one I tried on.  I fell in love with it right away - kind of like how I fell in love with Sam right away.  I knew it was the right one.  I knew he was the right one.  It took me forever to find an outfit for my job interview and my mom ended up bringing me to Bloomie's in the city and got me my dress that I absolutely love.  It has a cute little leopard belt.  Of course it has leopard!  Would you expect anything different? 

I don't think anyone ever plans what they are going to wear to their 30 year old husband's funeral.  And that was the task that I was faced with.  I thought about it but was too afraid to look in my closet because if I did, that meant that I had to find something to wear to my husband's funeral.  If I put it off, it wasn't real.  It was something I was dreading doing.  But the day of his wake, I finally realized that I would have to wear something that nite and something the next morning for his funeral.  When I opened my closet and looked in and saw all of Sam's clothes hanging on the right side, my heart sank.  Then I looked over to the left side where my clothes hang.  That is when I saw it hanging there.  The red dress.

Sam always gave me the best presents.  Whether it was something big like a computer or something small like a board game, it was always something I needed/loved.  One year, for my birthday, Sam bought me 2 dresses.  One was pink and one was red.  I loved them both.  They were very fitted, though, and they showed every single lump and bump.  Sam loved the dresses and he loved me in them.  When he and I attended the dinner for the March of Dimes Nurse of the Year Awards, he asked me to wear it.  I was afraid to because I was not confident enough after I had Owie.  So I made up an excuse and told him that I would wear it when we go out to eat to celebrate his new lungs.  It makes my heart hurt that I told him no.  Especially knowing how much he loved me in that dress.

I was afraid.  That has always been a problem for me.  I have always been afraid of what others will think and what they will say.  To me, about me, behind my back.  And I don't know why I care.  I spent so much time telling Sam to not worry about the people staring when he coughed.  Ignore the people who watched him walk with his oxygen.  Smile at the people who stared while he rode in the little scooters while we went grocery shopping together.  It was so easy for me to tell him to not care what others thought, yet I spent so much of my time worrying about what others thought of me. 

When my mom and my sister asked me what I was going to wear, I was afraid to tell them.  I didn't want them to think I was crazy for wanting to wear a red dress to my husband's funeral.  I did not want people to think I was the modern day Blanche Devereaux.  They both gave me the same answer.  It doesn't matter what other people think.  It is your husband's funeral.  If it was his favorite dress, if he loved you in that dress, wear it!  And it was that simple.  That is when I learned to stop caring what other people think.  And that it why I wore red to my husband's funeral.

"Be who you are and say what you feel.  Those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." ~ Dr. Seuss

Friday, January 23, 2015

Hello! It's just me, again.

It has been a really long time since I have posted on here - over a year!  So much has happened in the past year - I am not even going to touch on the obvious today - losing my grandfather and my Sam.  2014 has made me realize that I need to live my life to the absolute fullest.  I need to be true to myself and true to Owen.  We are having to adjust to a new life and things have changed.  Therefore, I have changed.  There is one person in my life who I have to deal with and it isn't always the most pleasant experience.  Railroading is how he gets his way and I have realized that this is not going to work.  It is going to have to change.  I don't have Sam to hide behind anymore.  Some people are very outspoken and have no issues voicing their opinions, not really caring who they hurt as long as they get their point across.  Others have a constant "poor me" attitude and have no issue telling anyone and everyone who will listen what their latest drama is - moping around and focusing on just the negative in their lives.  The realization has hit that I cannot be around toxic people right now. 

On to the happier stuff.  Thank God for my Owie and my puppies.  They are the reason I get out of bed every morning.  During this past year, I have watched my baby boy blossom.  He amazes me and I love seeing the person he is becoming.  Owie is definitely a mix of Sam and myself.  He loves to make people smile and laugh.  Boy is he funny!  Somehow, we were blessed with a mild mannered baby who will eat anything but cottage cheese, sleeps until about 10-10:30 am, loves to go shopping with me, and is pretty stinkin smart.  And he is beautiful - on the inside and out.  I can already tell that he is a gentle soul and he is going to go places.  I am going to do everything in my power to make Sam proud in how I raise our son.

Short post, I know.  Hopefully, I will be posting more about my journey.  Our journey, actually.  Thank you to everyone for their kind words and outpouring of love over the  past few months.  Thank you is something I can never say enough.  Hugs to all and please, please, please cherish every moment with your loved ones.  Hug them, kiss them, squeeze them tight.  Tell them how much you love them.  There is no such thing as saying it too much.

"Life is a story.  Make yours the bestseller." ~ Unknown