Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Some Things French and Letting Go

Claude Monet, Waves Breaking - 1881

This post is about two different things that tied together in my mind and there is even a 3rd idea in there that I've chosen not to expound upon.

I was thinking about Mom before and I remembered the story she told where I was in my 3rd grade play, up on stage and she could see that I was looking all over the audience for her while I was singing... and she could see that I was happy when I found her.

I was thinking who'd of thought the next time... I am up on a platform in front of a microphone ...where she is involved... that it would be for her eulogy? It's life... just seems like an odd thought. It's a good thing we don't know too much about our futures.

I remember that play. We sang "I Love Paris in the Springtime" and had so much fun doing it. Unfortunately... I can't carry a tune to save my life and so singing wasn't something I continued for long. :)

Gee... I just thought of something.

I love the French language. To me... it is the most beautiful language in the world. Just yesterday... I was in the store smelling candles and the scents were also written in French. One of them had the French word "Jardin", which means garden. I just had to say it out loud... not too loud though. French sounds especially pretty when whispered. No wonder it is known as one of the love languages. :) So there I was standing in front of the Walmart candles saying "Jardin... Jardin" in a hushed tone. It sounds so pretty. I know.. a little weird.. but I love it... the language. I am not at all fluent, but can understand some, can read enough to get by and maybe more and can definitely read anything with correct pronunciation (says me) .. but just might not know what I am reading. Ha ha! I would LOVE to see Paris and the French countryside. And I would love to be dropped in the middle of France and have to survive on my language skills. I wonder how long it would take to become fluent?

I don't have much French ancestry that I am aware of. Maybe a smidgen from my Swiss Paternal great Grandmother.

So... as I was pondering my memories of that play and singing "I love Paris in the Springtime" and since I was only in 3rd grade and we practiced over and over.. I wonder if that experience is the root of my intrigue and love of things that are French?

French cooking? ooh la la! :)

I Love Paris

I love Paris in the springtime,
I love Paris in the fall,
I love Paris in the winter, when it drizzles,
I love Paris in the summer, when it sizzles.
I love Paris every moment,
Every moment of the year,
I love Paris,
Why, oh why, do I love Paris,
Because my love is near."

Anyway... at this moment... I feel like that little girl on stage... looking for her mother..except this time... I already know she's not in the audience... she's no longer here.

But our minds are interesting in that... sometimes.. just for a few seconds and when I least expect it.. I think "Oh.. what day am I taking Mom shopping?", or when the phone rings... I think "Mom's calling me.".. but then I remember.. "No... when she called.."When Irish Eyes Are Smiling" played for a ring tone." ... and then that little wave of sad realization washes over me and back out again. The difference now with those waves ... is that they no longer seem to suck me back out into the tumultuous white water.. tumbling my heart all around before spewing me back to the shore... still vulnerable for the next wave of realization to knock me over. Instead ...they wash in... then over me and as I am learning to let go of the pain... gently wash back through me... without dragging me down... taking only the pain I've released from my heart... hopefully forever washed out to sea... that tumultuous sea of guilt, regrets and profound loss.

I am learning it is okay to still remain standing on the shore... that Mom would want me to stand strong... embrace the sunshine and be soothed by the calm waters of the sweet memories that only a mother and her daughter have shared... remembering always her eternal love for me and for all of her family.

I recently learned through something she wrote... that she will love me ... forever.

I will love .. you... forever too... Mommy.

Monday, September 28, 2009


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After I left the Doctor's office today... I decided maybe I had better use the bathroom after all since I wasn't going straight home. So I used one of the bathrooms in the medical facility hallway.

I was the the lucky one who used the last of the roll. I could've washed up and just left. But instead I washed up and attempted to replace the empty roll with a new roll so it would be ready for the next person. Attempted being the operative word here.

Ahh... best laid plans. It turned out to be the Rubik's cube
See full size image
of toilet paper rolls.

I couldn't peel the darn thing apart! I tried and tried and tried ....and all the pieces kept breaking off! Then someone knocked on the door and I said I'd be right out. Feeling pressured but still wanting to do the right thing... I figured if I just lift up a bunch of sheets at one time.. I could then tear across and then remove the torn and very jagged sheets of paper off and finally get down to a normal tearing roll.

But no... that would've been to easy. It was shredding up exactly like the roll in the picture.. leaving little pieces all over the floor and toilet seat. Fortunately there was still more on the roll. Not to be thwarted in my quest to do a good deed... be it ever so little... I gouged more deeply straight across the roll.

The stupid paper (couldn't possibly be my fault ;) was coming off in shreds and pieces... no matter what I did! It looked like something my cat attacked! Now mindful that someone was waiting... I decided to just put it on the holder. Cleaned up the floor and toilet, washed and then ... had to make whizzie winkles again! I thought.."You have to be kidding!" That's what drinking water on an empty stomach will do to you... well me anyway... and as tempting as it was to just get out of there... my bladder has me trained!

By the time I got what I needed off that roll... It DID look like the roll in the picture!

There wasn't much left and so I just put it on the back of the toilet.. for the next person.. who would be lucky to get A SQUARE... one entire square... sans shredding.

I washed up ... again.

Guess what?

I happened to look down by the back of the toilet and there was another roll of wrapped toilet paper that had been knocked down to the floor!

I thought... do I dare... do I bother? My conscience wouldn't let me leave. Then there was that part of me that was ready to open the bathroom door and just LOB *both* rolls ..shredding and all... right out into the hallway... but I thought better of it... but it would've been fun. Just one of those little pressure valve thoughts you get when venting. :)

Guess what?

The roll unrolled PERFECTLY! I uneventfully put the roll on the holder, washed...again (Toilet paper was on the floor), opened the door and no one was there.

Can't imagine why they gave up! :)

*Would've made a good Candid Camera joke! Remember how they would set up different situations and then film the different ways people react? :)


Susan Boyle - Wild Horses


"Susan sings The Stones' 'Wild Horses', taken from her forthcoming debut album 'I Dreamed a Dream'. "

I want the album! I MUST have the album! :)

Hat tip to Cathy for providing the link to this article :

"Mick Jagger thinks Susan Boyle’s version of ‘Wild Horses’ is better than his

Rolling Stones rocker says Boyle's version is more 'ghostly'


He praises Susan's version as better then the Rolling Stones original version.

It is. It's beautiful.

This video is absolutely worth taking the time to listen. I played it while writing this little post. :)

Now, I am going to just listen without distractions. :)

Medical Humor

I distinctly said 'prick his boil'.
OOPS! Great for a laugh... but not the Press Ganey's :)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A Blogging Friend's Clever Cardiac Humor Shared :)

Your cardiac surgery was a success

A few posts back... I wrote about a
cardiac coat... which was supposed to have been Cardi Coat... a popular sweater coat this fall. Anyway.. I knew there had to be jokes in that somewhere... but darned if I could be that clever... and so I asked my blogging friend John from the Full -On Forward blog, if he had anything funny to say about a cardiac coat.

Of course he did... he is so clever, quick witted and always leaves me smiling.

Thanks John! :)

John's cardiac Definitions as follows:

1. Cardiac coats is a subject that really warms the heart.

2. "Beats" a cold hearted person every time. Aorta tell you more, but I don't want to tell you "A-FIB" Hey I like that one!!! A-FIB!! I crack my own self up

3. Circulate this amongst your readers and as they sit in the Atrium of their hospitals, they will see that you definitely are very warm hearted and have on your Cardiac Coat.

4.The New designer Purkinjie is using new "fibers" just discovered that makes the coats lighter and water resistant.

5. Cardiac coats make an echo when you wear them, causing much stress testing to be done on the new material. I'll do a stent on the ABC's of Coat making followed by the PQRST wave, done at football stadiums!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

500 Thousand Milligrams of Morphine LOL!

Nothing like the sitcoms to chase the blues away. I should've put something funny on much sooner.

Not such a great day Wednesday. I wasted the day too. I hate a wasted day. But I have to say... if I was gonna waste a day... I did it with gusto!

Anyway... I decided to watch some sitcoms last night. I really like "Old Christine" on CBS. I finished with watching an hour of SCRUBS reruns. I LOVE that show! :)

* I forget the patient's name in the following quote.

One of the best lines of the night was when nurse Laverne walks over to attending Dr Cox and matter of factly states (about terrible med student)
, " Doug wanted me to give Mr Smith 500 thousand milligrams of morphine, but I thought before I killed a patient.. I'd check with you." LOL!!!!

The way she delivered that line and knowing how Doug always screws up... I cracked up. Nothing like laughter to dispel the blues. :)

So after the shows... I began watching SCRUBS on YouTube. I'd love to have all of the seasons and just watch one after the other. I never tire of the show. Actually..there are a few seasons that I still haven't seen.

Anyway... and now I recommend this next clip where Doug thinks a cadaver is waking up in the elevator, but it's really JD trying to sneak out of the hospital horizontally.. in a body bag.

23 seconds long - funny! :)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Children and mothers never...

"Children and mothers never really part...
bound in the beating of each other's heart." ~ Charlotte Gray ~

Monday, September 21, 2009

Mom's Memorial & After Thoughts (revised)

I love this picture because I think it captures mom's beauty and independent spirit. I actually imagine her to now look as young, healthy and vibrant as she is in this picture.

*The bagpipe music is temporary until I write the next post. I am playing "Flower of Scotland" followed by "Amazing Grace" because those were the 2 songs played during Mom's memorial service and so have just put them on to go with the memorial post.

Mom passed away, 6 months ago on April 17th.

We were finally able to have the memorial ... this past Saturday, September 19th.

We delayed the memorial because I wasn't feeling good back in May. My cousins had planned to be here in May... but after that... then weren't able to be here until the fall. Unfortunately.. it turned out that none of them could be here for the memorial that was held yesterday.

I missed them greatly.

I know they would have been here if they could have. (Hopefully..we will be able to have a family dinner together in the fall.)

Anyway... it was a perfect fall day... simply beautiful!

I am so very grateful to my friends and family who helped me put this together. We held it at Church. I was married in that church on October 25, 1975. My husband grew up in that same church and older son was baptized there.

Even though my membership is in another church now... this pastor reached out to me the day after my mother died and has spent time with me on the phone. It has always seemed like it was meant to be to have mom's memorial in this church. The pastor was most welcoming, helpful, supportive and encouraging throughout this difficult time. I shall always be most grateful to her.

Most of the food was home cooked by friends, family and myself.

Mom would love that a bagpiper played at her service. It is the only request she had regarding a service.

The organist is an accomplished musician and music teacher and husband of a good friend and the bagpiper is the brother of this same good friend. I loved having them for the music and told them so..that it just felt so right.

The bagpiper was in full regalia playing outside in front of the church before the service began and with doors closed to the inside... friend played the prelude.

The pastor arranged the service perfectly.

I was so nervous about giving the eulogy. And.. I had a writer's block of epic proportions. I had all summer to write it..and I did.. but just couldn't seem to hone in on the perfect thing to say.
And then last week I wrote and then for the 2 days before... I wrote pages more. Obviously.. I couldn't say all that.. but I wrote my heart out... looking for what felt right. I write so much.. but this was the most difficult thing I have ever had to write and I think that is because no other death has affected me as profoundly... even tho I have been deeply saddened by other losses in my life. I wrote a lot of good things but just couldn't downsize and fine tune it and perhaps anxiety was also hindering me. The pressure of doing this final thing just right for Mom. You'd think that would be the catalyst.. but instead it was the distraction.

Interestingly.. while somewhat nervous..I didn't even have butterflies in my stomach as I walked up to the pulpit. I did go up there with some notes of what I wanted to say.

I thanked everyone..the pastor, musicians, friends and family for their help and for being there. But I began to falter as I glanced at the notes and it wasn't coming out the way I wanted it to and so I quickly put them aside and just spoke with my heart... a daughter's sad... but grateful heart.

The following isn't necessarily in the order in which I spoke ... but these are most of the things I said:

I described who she was.. her traits and interests and that she loved her friends and family greatly and was passionate in her love for animals. I described her generous spirit and how I have always known her to help others. That she never complained about helping... but was always glad to do what ever she could. It didn't matter if she knew you personally or not... that it was as if she felt that person's pain herself and did what she could to help.

I said that the doctor had said if it wasn't for her... my grandparents wouldn't have lived as long as they did. Also in her latter years... she often sat with people in her building that couldn't be alone as well as with my husband's grandmother when she became ill. She also walked their dogs, fed their cats and did what she could. Her greatest joy was watching the boys when they were little.

I said she wasn't the least bit materialistic and even thou she didn't have much... she was always happy with what she had... and was happy to share whatever she had with anyone. My uncle once told me that when she was a young girl...any time she got any money...she would go to the candy store with her friends and buy them all candy... spending it all.

I did state that we had gone through some hardships when I was young... and I couldn't understand why she gave me away to her brother and his wife. And so at the age of 14, when I was sent up here... I was very angry with her.

But, some years later... after I became a mother myself ... it was with the heart of a mother... that I realized that there isn't anything a mother wouldn't do for her children so that they could have a better life. I realized that when you love someone.. you are willing to let them go if it will help them and that is what she did for me. She wasn't rejecting me.. but letting me go. And after she came up here and got settled...I was given a choice... to stay with my aunt and uncle or to move back with her... and I chose them. I know that had to have hurt her.. but she sacrificed her own feelings and let me stay with them... and I do believe I had a better life because she allowed that.

I said that she had said we were oil and water and we were but that we loved each other very much. I said that even though the last 6 months of her life was in the nursing home and it was bittersweet.. because we had come full circle in our lives. It gave us time to reconnect in a way we hadn't before. I apologized for things I had done wrong and she said she had made some mistakes too.

I said that when we were cleaning things out, I had come across things I wondered about.. things that pertained to her life in some way and now I would never know what they were. I encouraged people that if they have something they want to say, to work out with another person.. they should do it now ...while they can.

And then I picked up a little book about Mothers I had brought up with me.

It's called "A Mother is Love" a collection of thoughts celebrating mothers. I explained how I found it in her drawer. I opened it and saw that I had never filled out the front..where it says :

A gift for Mom
With Warm Thoughts and Wishes From With lots of love, Patty

And so I filled out what you see in Italics and brought it to her in the nursing home. At that point she couldn't read well and so I read it to her.

(It was given back to me in a box with her personal effects after she died and I forgot about it. But then a couple of nights prior to the service, I got the book out to see if there was something I could use as a quote and then I discovered something that confused me at first, then caused me great sadness but is ultimately very comforting to me.)

I went on to explain that I had read that entire book and nothing in that book had been filled out prior to my bringing it in to her.

But Thursday night... on the very last page... The last quote read as follows:

The value of a wonderful mother cannot be measured - only treasured!

and under that it was signed:

Love forever,
Mom S.

Once I realized that she had written that for me to see while she was in the nursing home... I cried. I explained that my mother never signed love *forever* on anything she has ever signed. It was always signed "Love always" and so... it seems that she knew this was the final stage and while she still could ...she feebly wrote those words ...

"Love forever,
Mom S."

That told me she wanted me to know that she will always love me.

I began to cry when I first began to read the quote... but I closed my mouth while simultaneously closing my eyes, swallowed, took a breath and with a slow, deliberate nod of my head... I went on. I just needed a second to push my feelings back down and to compose myself. One of my friends said that you could see my resolve to go on.

I could see one aunt crying. I don't know if anyone else was. I could see my immediate family easily and my friends in the next row.. but my vision on the other side was slightly obscured from the light emanating from the stained glass windows in the back. Well that and I wasn't wearing my glasses or contacts.

I mentioned that my mother adored my husband.

I explained that I chose the picture above to be the main picture in the collage because I felt it showed her spirit and what I felt she looked like now in heaven. I did go off track slightly..explaining that I had heard that we all get younger to the age of perfection in heaven and then I realized that was conjecture, hoped I hadn't overstepped my bounds as I didn't want to be saying anything that would conflict with any scriptures or church doctrines and so quickly looked over to the pastor who was standing at the pulpit on the other side. She interjected that some have thought that since Christ was 33 when he died that that was considered to be the "age of perfection". I said that I thought it was a 70s thing I heard some people say. *So.. I did digress there a bit. (Personally, I do believe we get more youthful though.. to what age.. I don't know. I think signs of disease and decay will no longer be seen... again.. I am not saying this as doctrine... but does make sense given what is said about heaven in the scriptures.)

And I asked my granddaughter Devan if I could quote her poem. She was immediately embarrassed and hid her blushing face behind her little hands. (She's 8 yrs old) I again asked if I could and then proceeded to.

(I actually did it for her because last week I called her to ask if she would read something one of my cousins sent... but she said.. "Mum-mum.. you know I'm shy" and then said..why can't I write something of my own? So I said..she could and to call me back. But when she read it to me..I told her even tho it was beautiful..I was looking for something happier because it was a celebration of her life. I explained she had described the night my mother died and I didn't know if that was a good thing to do at the service. I could tell it disappointed her and it bothered me and so that is why I decided to use it.

It isn't verbatim.. but the gist of it goes like this:

When I'm old and gray
And my spirit leaves me..
When I perish..
I hope you will all surround me.

I explained that during the last few years of my mother's life... I worried about her being alone. I used to pray that she wouldn't die alone. I know people die alone all the time and that is life... but I hoped it wouldn't happen to her. Then when she went into the nursing home..I thought well at least there will be someone there.

Devan's poem actually describes what happened the night my mother died. We were all there with her those last few hours. My husband, our 2 sons, my d-i-l, Devan and even her soon to be born newest great grandchild Wrenna ... and we were there when her heart stopped beating. My friend Debbie had come in earlier to see Mom. It was better than I thought it might be. We were all there.

And so then I said a I wanted to end with a Jewish mourning prayer a friend had given to me, called the Kaddish that was originally from the Hebrew Union Prayer Book of 1895.

I proceeded to read the prayer out loud and is as follows:

"I remember you in this solemn hour, my dear mother. I remember the days when you dwelled on Earth, and your tender love watched over me like a guardian angel. You are gone from me, but the bond which unites our souls can never be severed; your image lives within my heart. May the merciful Father reward you for the faithfulness and kindness you have ever shown me; may he lift up the light of his countenance upon you, and grant you eternal peace. Amen"

I had meant for that to be the ending, but then realized I didn't say one of the most important things... that she was responsible for encouraging me to have faith in God. I said that she wasn't one to overtly speak of her faith.. but that she did have a strong belief in God and encouraged me to go to a neighborhood children's Bible study on Saturdays and got me ready every Sunday for Sunday school... and that my friend Iris (she was there) and I, used to go together.

I said one year... I never missed a Sunday and was so proud that I had received a little pin as a reward for consistent attendance. I smiled and said "I still have it today." and held up the paper from which I had just read the prayer and had fastened the pin to to.

I further explained that she answered any questions she could about God and never hindered my growing faith in anyway. I explained that because she cared enough to have seeds of faith planted in my life at an early age... it provided a strong foundation which supported me when we went through the challenging times that were to come and even still today. I said that at the time when my home life was being uprooted... peer pressure was also great... it would've been real easy to go down a wrong path. I said that I know for a fact... that it was my faith in God... that kept me on a good path... and had my mother to thank for that.

I'm not sure how I ended it and said some other things.. but that was the main part.

Then thinking the stairs were immediately to my right (they weren't) I stopped myself before I almost walked off into the air. oops! I made a joke and then walked down the stairs. Then the bagpiper played "Flower of Scotland". Pastor did a sermon on John 14.

The 3 songs I chose for us to sing were "Be still, my soul", "On Eagles Wings" and "In the Garden". There were other readings and prayers that were said throughout the service.

Then the benediction, postlude followed by and ending with the bagpiper playing "Amazing Grace".

And then went into the Church's great hall for the repast.
I shall always be grateful to Debbie and Iris ..two very close friends who helped me set up for the repast in the great hall of the church (along with husband and son) the night before and also got all the food and beverages set up in the morning before the service...as well as clean up afterward. I was touched that Debbie's husband, Tom... also pitched in and helped with the clean up afterward. Older son and my husband pitched in too.

Iris thought it was done so nicely and would want the same thing. I agree. I am very pleased with how it all turned out.

They did most of the work that day and I helped with very little. I appreciate that they enabled me to do what I needed to do and to be with the guests. We are truly blessed to have such wonderful friends.
Later Iris and Debbie hung out with me over here all night until the wee hours of the morning and I still didn't want them to go. Even though I was relieved to finally have had the service and that it went so well... I was beginning to feel a mountain of sadness that I was keeping at bay thanks to the laughter and interesting conversations with my friends. Then after Iris got home..we talked until 03:30.
I do wish I had honed down my words on paper because I did miss some things I still would've liked to have said, unconditional love, etc. and I wanted to expound on specifics in childhood..that she was the first person to teach me about honesty and I have a great story with that, etc., but then it was already long I suppose. I do feel good about what I did say though and there are things people may not have realized about her. Mom was very private. She never had to one up anyone..except in a game of something (I get my competitive game spirit from her:) , she really was happy with what she had and she never ever bragged. She was a good person. I am blessed to have had her for my mother.
I was slightly taken aback when the pastor stated that we would be feeling my mother's loss over these next few months..especially with the holidays coming and she encouraged them to reach out. I don't know why I was surprised..because I know this is true. i guess because Mom died 6 months ago. But then Christmas.. is still Christmas and they always say the holidays hurt when you lose someone.

What happens is that when someone dies... everyone rallies around the family. Cards, food and visitors come in, the funeral plans, phone calls.. there is a flurry and the grieving people are numb from the loss. But then in a couple of weeks... everything settles down and it is life as usual for everyone else... but not for the people who lost their loved one. people stop reaching out and inevitably.. when everything is quiet is when people begin to really feel their loss.

So.. I know that is why she said what she said and I appreciate that too. She was such a comfort to me through all of this.
I plan on writing special thank you notes..and that includes for the people that reached out and did kind things back in the spring when Mom died. I know I should have much sooner for those dear people. I feel better about it after having read that a doctor who lost his mother back in March hadn't finished writing the thank you notes even tho he knew he should. He said something like writing them out would be acceptance of her death and he hadn't gotten to that point yet. I know exactly how he felt.

There are phases of grief that we all go through and I suppose the timing of it is individual..but never the less..we will go through the process.

I did mot expect to feel like I lost her all over again... which is what happened Sunday. It really hit me as soon as I woke up. But now (Monday night), even though it hurts and I miss her terribly and wish I could tell her I love her and hold her close in my arms (Like I did for the last time on Easter Sunday), I am feeling better and I am feeling a peace about it all now.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Ohhh..the Disparity! (Pain Scales)


Okay.. not exactly the medical pain scale... but certainly another kind of PAIN SCALE and it's funny! :)

A few weeks ago... you may recall that I fell off the pool deck steps and landed flat on my back.

I was one sore SeaSpray!

I eventually caved... three days later and went to the emergency department because I was concerned about the pain and pressure I was having with every deep breath.

On the other hand... I knew that the pain would exacerbate over the next few days after an injury and I also knew that my diaphragm would feel sore given the nature of the injuries. However, I did start imagining things that could be going wrong and I know that was over reacting.. but hey..I'm only human. :)

The triage nurse was quite nice. I told her I was embarrassed about coming in when it is probably nothing important. She told me that I should've come in right after it happened. In retrospect... I know she was right... but if you've ever worked in a hospital...then you know that hospital employees are some of the last people to darken the doors of an ED. I've heard other employees say that and I believe it.

Personally, I don't want to be a baby and go in if it's not important and I don't want to bother them... and especially if it turns out to be nothing important. And once I get past my working in the profession biases... I also just plain... don't want to go to the emergency room.

My insurance pays 100% for emergencies... and thankfully.. I went before the 76 hour limit was up. Next time I won't be so stubborn..well I'll try not to be.

Anyway...we eventually get to my favorite part of an assessment (NOT!), the pain scale.

I am basically a dot every I and cross every T kind of person and like being exact about important things. Ha! Mom was right this past winter when she introduced me to the security guard as "Precise!", but I'm also lax about certain things too... just depends what it is.

The pain scale makes me crazy because how the heck do you accurately convey your level of pain to another person? Your feelings are subjective

Using myself as an example... unless I have pain the level of a stuck kidney stone... which is
* my 10*.. even surpassing hard active labor... I will be misleading because I laugh and smile under most circumstances because that is just me. As a matter of fact... I was in the process of being very sick over a basin while simultaneously experiencing excruciating kidney stone pain that Morphine didn't seem to be touching...when an assistant pastor that had come in to see me, saw the security guard and pulled him over to meet me. I managed to give him a friendly smile and said hi.. then went right back to being sick. I know the pastor meant well.. but his timing was a bit off there and I am sure that wasn't comfortable for the security guard either.

Ha ha! Talk about 1st impressions... gee! Even the pastor commented on my not looking good. Double gee!

The pain was so hideous at home that I couldn't even get washed, brush my hair or teeth or get dressed to go to the ED that morning and then my hair was all matted from writhing in pain on the stretcher... add that picture to vomiting into a basin... not a very pretty picture. Oh and I kept asking for more Morphine but could hardly keep my eyes open.

That experience was my personal 10. A stuck kidney stone IS a 10 on the SeaSpray pain scale.

I told her "I hate the pain scale because I am never sure of the criteria. "

(If you make it too high..they think you're a wimp and if you go to low... they may not know how much you are hurting. I may be a wimpette... but I am also stoic..it just depends on the circumstances. I'm sure a lot of people don't admit to how bad their pain is and just suck it up...or they have higher tolerances..whatever. And some magnify everything.)

So.. I went on to say well "I know a kidney stone is a 10 and so... ". She interrupted me at this point and said "A kidney stone can't be a 10. A 10 would be having both arms cut off and both legs cut off or having abdominal surgery without anesthesia."

I quickly countered with "Uh uh! Then you'd be in shock and not feel anything."

She one upped me with her definition of a 7 based on her own personal injury for which she showed me the scar. I think she had her ankle and/or foot smashed and the heel was where the toes should be or vice versa.

"You call that a 7?"


"You're HARDCORE with pain tolerance! You are. YOU'RE HARDCORE!"

I was beginning to think that maybe I shouldn't be there.

I was cheery, laughing.. but darn it..I was hurting too!

I still disagreed with her... but I decided not to say an 8 while I was smiling and joking. So I told her 5.2... but she missed my intended humor there. ;) I know medical staff gets all squirrely about erroneous numbers... and so I was trying to interject a little light humor there. Ha! Or was I being passive-aggressive at that point?

Actually... I think that unless a patient is writhing in pain or whimpering or at the very least wincing... the staff probably isn't too concerned about the pain. Of course things can be going very wrong..even in the absence of pain and they know that. I just think the pain scale is stupid... and it can be misleading if the patient is stoic and or the cheerful, friendly type.

By the way... her criteria tells me that SHE has never had a kidney stone.

And as far as her crush injury goes.. well ... suffice it to know that I'd rate that a 25! ;)


I was looking for a picture of the pain scale when I came across post from Kim's Emergiblog about the Wong-Baker pain scale. I appreciated both the post and the comments.

I rest my case. :)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Dr Evil and Nurse Ratched


I have a medical history of having two meniscal repairs on my left knee ..with the last surgery being March, 2004. During my post-op office visit, the doctor suggested that at some time in the future.. I may want to consider getting injections in my knee that would help alleviate pain. I also had some osteo arthritis that he scraped away during the surgery.

Well..he didn't know it... but when I heard the words injection and knee used in the same sentence... I immediately discounted that idea. Besides.. the meniscal repair was successful.

But as fate would have it... since that time I have had exacerbating knee pain and after dancing all nite at the wedding back in July... (It seems alcohol does kill pain :), I was living with awful bilateral knee pain that was seriously affecting my walking. I was getting increasingly discouraged.

I'm also stubborn. I did not want to deal with this and I did NOT want to have any needles going into my knees!

I am not at all phobic about getting needles... not really. I even like to watch them draw blood from me. I think it's neat when blood shoots into the tube and I even feel a respect for it because it represents life. Once a doc ordered the rainbow for the number of tests he wanted done..which culminated in 17 vials drawn from me. 17... wow! (All good results btw) Didn't faze me.

The only thing that bothers me is when they try to get an IV in my hand. That hurts like heck when they can't find a vein.

But for some reason... and I don't know why... I developed an instant aversion to the idea of ever getting injections in my knees. I really had this scary mental image that just unnerved me. I felt squeamish just thinking about it.

So I didn't.

I could certainly handle the kind of injection you get when the doc injects you with Lidocaine before he sutures you... been there ..done that. But... I imagined the orthopaedic doc's needle to be big and hurt.

I joke about being a wimpette with pain... and I am... but I also can put up with pain when I don't want to do something. I adapt... but of course then quality of life is compromised. I know that with the things I've written over time..you may have the impression that I go running off to doctors for anything and everything. No. I don't. My urologist had the power to reel me in because of the nature of my medical case. Ha! Then he just had me trained. Having a ureteral stent in you and wanting to be done with it all... somehow makes you a most compliant patient. :)

But..when I am home... I don't want to go to the doctor. I don't want to go to the hospital and I don't want to go for tests of any kind. I do not. And if I suspect major pain may be involved ... I will avoid, avoid and avoid. It took me living with pain for a year before I finally caved and saw the orthodoc for my knee the 1st time I injured the meniscus. By the way... he fixed me in a half hour in SDS and I walked out of the hospital without pain!)

And I thought I should go in to the ED for the rabies series because of a possible bat bite and I wrestled with that for days and went in on the very last day for the cut off for it to be effective if necessary. That 1st injection (at the site of the bite) is a biatch!

I imagined the knee injections to be worse.

I noticed that my neighbor was Twitteringr that if she wanted to walk..she had to go get her knee injections. So, I called her.

It turns out that the Cortisone didn't work for her, but that the orthovisk injections keep her pain free for 6 months. she said the orthovisk injections hurt for a couple of days. So..on the one hand this underscored my aversion to knee injections... but on the other gave me hope that I could be pain free.

So ..I caved. Literally..every third step was killing me with pain and I wished I had crutches! I'd say that my quality of life was being compromised. I had to go to see my orthodoc.

So... he discussed the x-rays and my options. He said that I should get the cortisone injections and so I agreed and thought I'd be coming back. But the way he worded it indicated he was going to do them right then.

We were sitting right opposite each other... him on the stool and me in the chair that was backed up against the wall. The fear was building in me and I felt like I was turning into liquid jello. If I could've disappeared into the wall via osmosis... I would have. If only *sigh*.... but instead I meekly inquired, "N-O-W-W-W?" He looked up at me from my chart and grinned. Then he said we would do it now.

I think he was probably amused at the abject fear on my face.

I was thinking.."Oh no! It's gonna hurt.. I'm getting needles in my knees..oh great!".. but I actually verbalized that I had the rabies series and I didn't even wimper with the first injection which REALLY hurts and so "I can do this". He smiled again.

So I got up on the exam table. He left and I was alone in the room, nervously swinging my legs (in pain) back and forth over the side of the table. Then the nurse comes in and starts setting up.

My fear was mounting. I was also regretting that I didn't have anything for pain in me because I didn't want to hinder his exam with masked pain. It probably wouldn't have mattered, but I wanted to be au natural with the pain.

Then my orthodoc walked in all cheery. (He's very nice) He sat down on the stool and turned to face the nurse.

So.. I was on the exam table facing the nice nurse and doctor. They were facing each other. And I was bracing myself. I also wondered how he could trust me not to kick him when he injected the needle? The man has a lot of faith... I thought..or likes living on the edge. I mean.. it would be a reflexive action on my part. I'm just saying.

But then I felt alarmed when I saw this needle! The nurse handed orthodoc this really big needle! She must've looked at me and saw the abject fear on my face... (did it ever leave), and said "Don't worry...that's not the needle."

I exclaimed with great relief... "Oh that's good because he was beginning to look like Dr Evil in a white coat and you were looking like nurse Ratched!!!

Orthodoc cracked up! "Dr Evil! (insert more laughter)... I like that!"

We all laughed and then he said to his nurse how one of his partners would especially like being referred to as Dr Evil. She agreed. :)

So..that was a much needed laugh and really relaxed me until the real needle came my way.

"Don't kick the doctor...don't kick the doctor..brace yourself... What ..that's it? It feels good! It feels like my pain is being surrounded with a soft cloud. he's done?"

Then I told him how it didn't hurt except for the little burn of the Lidocaine. I couldn't believe it! I wasn't the least bit afraid for him to inject the other knee. I was raving about how easy that was and I thanked them. I also said I never should've put that off. All that avoiding and pain for so long and it was no big deal...at all.

I told the receptionist how much better I felt. Then I saw one of orthodoc's partners walking by, a few weeks later when I was a patient in the ED. I asked him to please tell Dr Evil his patient was still happy with the pain relief from the cortisone injections. :)

It is difficult to explain how these injections affect me. even though I felt markedly better that afternoon... I did still have pain.. but it seemed to be encapsulated in this cloud that desensitized the pain. And I had complete flexibility. Also..if I overdo it..I will get sore... but have a lot more time before I get to that point and always have more flexibility.

However... as of last week when the weather turned cooler and especially today... I am having more knee pain again. I am hoping it is just the cooler weather... but I have a feeling it may be wearing off.

Orthodoc told me not to wait so long to come in the next time I have pain.

Oh... I won't!

Actually... the next time I go in... I am going to ask for an Orthovisk injection... even though I know he may transform into Dr Evil during the process. :)

*I know there may be some insurance protocols before they allow the more expensive Orthovisk injections. But If these injections work much better than Cortisone and I can be totally pain free for 6 months..why not? Seriously!

What Do These 3 Pictures Have in Common?

See full size image


The answer is *my brain*.

Crisp fall days seem to have come to northern NJ a bit early.. like JUNE! Nah... we did have summer... briefly... for about half..maybe 3/4 of the month of August.

Btw...does Al Gore know this? Just wondering. ??

So... the house was really cold this morning which has prompted me to again think my husband was right..and the pool should be closed on labor day. I am always hoping for a burst of post labor Day hot days. Now younger son will have to dive under ice cube water to help get the sandbags and drop down stairs out. But I digress.

I haven't been clothes shopping in awhile and was wondering what some of the fall fashions are this year and so I went on line to peruse the fall lines.

Well the first thing I saw was a cardiac coat. W-h-a-t??? Cardiac coat!?

Perhaps it is time for me to get glasses? So...what did it say?

Um..that would be Cardi Coat.

*Cardi* coat.

Must be the influence of working in the medical arena for so long. My brain naturally filled in the last 2 letters...cardi..ac. Logical.

Oh..and a Cardi Coat is a cardigan sweater coat. I like them... although some are dowdy... but some are stylish. I'd like one in winter white or black. I've always been a sweater girl and love fall/winter clothes. I like blazers and blouses and lots of things..depends on my mood... but have always loved sweaters .. the kind you pull over your head.. not usually cardigans. But with the cardi coat.. I do like the tailored ones.

Then..as I went to look for a picture to put up of a cardi coat to put up..I kept getting cardio products, equipment and exercisers. I went through 3 pages of pictures until I realized I typed in *cardio*.

LOL! I guess anything that has cardi in the word automatically steers me to all things cardiac.

Like the liquor everyone drinks when they have Bacardio Cocktails. ;)

I wonder what would be so special about a cardio coat and what would be in a Bacardio cocktail and why?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Gum Snorting Exposed


The following very amusing comment is the first thing I read in the land of blogdom today. It was a comment written by my blogging friend John from Full on Forward in response to my post I wrote about our younger son accidentally inhaling his gum up the back of his throat and into the back of his nose..which after a few minutes..he was fortunately able to blow out his nose.

Here is John's comment: Everyone NOSE you are supposed to park your chewing gum on the bedpost overnight! Also snorting Gum is a gateway drug. 1st it's gum, then you go onto the harder stuff like Twizzlers, and before you know it, you are laughing up a storm watching old 3 Stooges Movies just to get a Gummie Bears stuck up there!

Keep an aye on him, for slipping grades, bubbles, popping noises etc! These are subtle warning signs of a growing problem in America. Gum Snorting


Thanks for starting my day out with a good laugh John. :)

And John... because I just can't resist... I feel I should add some other warning signs..prior to Twizzler addiction.

I'll just add that when confronting one such gum snorter.. if you ask how many times they snorted gum that day and they respond with 5 times.. figure 10 gum snorts. You always double confessed amounts with an addict.

Anyone living with a gum snorter knows the wretched reality.. wrappers..empty gum wrappers everywhere and stashes of gum..hidden here and there..even outside.

You find abc (already been chewed) gum stuck under tables or that you have to dodge around spewed gum on the sidewalks.. or worse.. on the floors in your own home.

Sadly... anyone around a gum snorter for any length of time becomes hypervigilant and can hear gum being unwrapped even if in a different room. Then finally..their breath..dead give away. They wreak of orange splash, cinnamon ... sometimes peppermint.. or whatever the gum du jour may be.

And at first..it's just weekend gum snorts, then holidays and before you know it..they're gum snorting.. just because it's Tuesday.. and not long after that.. they don't even know why. The worst is the gum snort black outs. I believe this event is the last that precipitates the gum snorter's involvement with Twizzlers.. because they're hardcore addicts by this point.

*Intervention strongly recommended before they hit the Twizzlers. :)

Bug Up My Nose!


My previous post was about younger son inhaling his gum up through the back of his throat and then he blew it out his nose.

Well a couple of nights later a stupid bug (it had to be or at the very least.. had no sense of direction) flew directly up my right nostril. It freaked me out, but a friend had just called with an urgent concern and I didn't want to interrupt.

I saw this little bug..black with tiny light wings coming right for me..but both hands were tied up and so I couldn't wave it away and so all I could do was blow... but to no avail... up it went!

Without mentioning a word to my friend... I put her on speaker phone, grabbed a tissue and tried to blow it out but I could feel this really weird sensation higher up. It was definitely there. I figured my friend couldn't hear me blowing my nose.

And then I remembered something I heard an ED doc tell a patient once. He told her she should never squeeze a pimple on her nose or I think between her brows... (not sure about the brows) because doing that could cause an infection to go into the brain.

And so I began to wonder if there is any way a bug could get in the human brain? I was thinking it must be different pathways..but what if?

I tried using a tissue which I also thought could push it up higher... but had to try. Nothing!

It was uncomfortable! It's interesting how our bodies easily perceive when something is out of the ordinary and we can feel the tiniest things..like this tiny gnat.

So I brought my friend who was still talking on speaker phone into the bathroom with me. I placed the phone on the window sill. I grabbed a neti pot so I could do a nasal wash with a saline solution.

I poured the saline wash into my other nostril to wash the bug out of my right side.

Nothing came out!

And it really burned. It never does, but I guess I irritated it from blowing so much.

I repeated the wash.


So then I did the other side.


My friend asked if I was still there. I said yes..I'm listening. She continued talking.

I was out of saline packets.

So I rinsed the bug side two more times with clear warm water.

Still nothing!

Now everything just felt irritated.

I wondered about my brain again. Nah.. that couldn't happen... right?

We continued talking and I never mentioned it. Dinner was ready and so we ended the call.

I pretty much forgot about it until the next day... yesterday. Friend had come over to swim. We were all sitting at the picnic table, when I told her what I was doing when she asked if I was still there while we were talking on the phone.

I told her about sort of being afraid the bug would find a path to my brain because of what the ED doc had said about causing infection to the brain. D-i-l thought that it would be different pathways..which makes sense. I mean you just can't have easy access into your brain for every wayward bug that happens along.

But then friend told me about someone who did have a spider crawl up into her brain and ...it laid eggs! Talk about a horror show! And she felt the babies crawling around in her head. !!!! Doctors thought she was crazy.. but it ended up being true.

Have I ever mentioned that I am near phobic about spiders? I feel creeped out even typing this! And I won't even look at horror movies. The thought of this happening is the stuff nightmares are made of.

So I tried to find this story in google and all I could come up with was that it's an urban legend... THANK GOD!!!

Hey... I've never said I wasn't gullible!

Also... I'm not superstitious... but if it's true that things happen in threes... then someone I know is soon going to get an uninvited foreign body up their nose. I'm just sayin... :)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I Didn't Know This Could Happen ???

It was orange Trident Gum

Call me crazy... but when I chew gum... I just chew the gum.

When our 20 year old son came home last night... he immediately told me he accidentally inhaled the gum he was chewing and it went up into his nose.


Needless to say..he got my attention immediately.

With lightening speed all these thoughts went through my brain before he explained. I had an instant flashback of the pearl onion stuck up his brother's nose (when he was a baby) that I retrieved with tweezers and of the vitamin (same brother shoved up his nose.. that I didn't find had melted until I spent money on taking him to an ear, nose and throat specialist. I was a relatively new mother and went for the specialist as I thought it was serious. :) and I thought of my friend's daughter who shoved a pussy willow up her nose. her father brought her into the ED when I was working. All she had to do was blow hard and it popped back out.

I was also wondering if the gum was all sticky and stuck up in there and was that dangerous if it went down into his lungs? You know... like could he get plugged up and unable to breathe? (Remember..I don't have a medical license... so of course I momentarily , but internally panicked)

I asked how he did that? How did you suck it up from your mouth into your nostril? ???

He said it didn't go up his nostril.


He said he was laughing and somehow sucked it up into the back of his throat and up intothe back of his nose. (Thank God it went up and not down!)

WHAT... HOW did you DO that? And Where is it now? Is it still up there?

Son... was now laughing.

I wasn't because I was envisioning me looking up his nose grabbing gum with a pair of tweezers or an ED visit.

Did you blow it out?"


I felt instant relief.

I asked what it felt like and he said it "It sucked! I thought I was gonna have to go to the ER."

Then he said his friend J wanted to know if he could breath alright and after he said he could his friend was laughing. :) Son said he tried to make himself sneeze and then just blew hard while pressing one nostril closed and it popped out of the other nostril. (Does *nostril* seem like a weird word? I'm having one of those it seems like a weird word moment :)

What are the odds of inhaling your chewing gum up into your nose?

So ... are we not supposed to chew gum and laugh?

I've never heard of such a thing happening. I didn't know you could inhale a foreign body upward into your nose.

Thankfully he is alright now. :)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Daughter's Heart

Credit for "Broken Heart" pic here

Spring has come and gone.

Summer is almost past.

It's the first time I've gone through these seasons without my mother on this planet... in my life...
except that she's in my heart and mind every day and night. In some ways... it feels like she's with me even more so... such an odd thing really. I know others who have said that about their parents too.

I miss my mother.

When does it all become sweet memories?

Will I ever feel that...

or will they be ever elusive?
I like this and think it's true.