the lives that matter

It seems that lately we need to be reminded what lives matter because, it seems that some lives matter more than others. At least that’s the way that it seems in the news and all over social media.

  • Some conservatives are outraged and demanding the shut down of Planned Parenthood because #unbornlivesmatter and #ppsellsbabyparts – factually wrong.
  • Some liberals are incensed because #blacklivesmatter  yes, get it…preaching to the choir.
  • The privileged are aggrieved because #alllivesmatter – um, clueless? Yes, clueless.
  • Others are fired up because #crueltyfree#righttobeararms#banalltheguns…and on and on and on
  • and then #CeciltheLion

Here’s the thing, the way that I see it – one can be outraged by all the atrocities we perceive happening right now in and around our globe – and yet be moved by the senseless killing of a beautiful animal.

It is one thing to kill an animal in order to eat and sustain one’s life. It’s another to kill an animal simply because they are MAJESTIC. To think to one’s self that this thing, this animal, this work of art is so majestic that I need to kill/destroy it so that it can no longer thrive in its own life, have offspring, nurture its existing dependents – and to PREVENT ANYONE ELSE from experiencing/appreciating its beauty.

Oh my god! This is not just the epitome of hubris – it’s intentionally, actively, and at great expense, taking away something from the rest of us. It’s deciding that your momentary pleasure in destroying something beautiful is more important than everyone else’s joy/pleasure at seeing that individual, majestic animal alive.

I personally believe that people who kill random wildlife for shits and giggles and grins are asshats. Sorry, not sorry. I grew up with y’all and I believed then as I do now that yes, y’all are asshats – but that’s in a different league than a “sportsman” paying top dollar to kill a rare, endangered animal.

In the grand scheme of things, Cecil does not matter to human lives lost to the worst of human atrocities, war and violence – insert appropriate hashtag here. However the thought  of someone killing an animal they have no intention of eating – PAYING to kill an animal they have no intention of using to provide for their own sustainability galls me.

So yes – other societal issues take priority for me – and yet, I can still be maddened by what happened to this beautiful creature, to Cecil the Lion.

~ photo credit – Diane Davis Maas

dreaming dreams

I dream a dream

I dream a dream where my desk will forever always be as uncluttered as I wish my mind would be.

Because this literally took me all day to do. Of course given the fact that my mind is such a cluttered mess, it is likely that it took all day to clean and organize this entire workspace because my mind is such a distracted cluttered mess.

Ugh!

I dream a dream where I would not find myself so excited over my latest purchase.

Best $4 I have ever spent ever because menopause is stupid and the fact that hot flashes can literally go on and on for years…YEARS post menopause is just stupid and dumb and quite possibly causes me to question my belief that it is great to be a girl.

I dream a dream where one can sit in a waiting room, a coffee shop, at a bus stop, in an airport, in a restaurant and not be forced to enjoy the music, video, game, podcast, whatever loud noises coming from an individual’s smart phone, tablet or laptop because, believe it or not, we really aren’t as into that new music video on YouTube or movie or book on tape game or whatever else you or your precious snowflake might be enjoying while sitting next to us in a waiting room, coffee shop, bus stop, airport, restaurant or any public place where we are sharing the same oxygen.

Really.

Truly.

I dream a dream where ear buds and headphones are available for all god’s children…especially you and your precious snowflake.

And then I dream some more…

raw deals and their beautiful disasters

The Fourth arrived and exited as loudly as it often does every year and it was good.

I said it was good.

It was.

It was good.

Of course I still allowed myself a little bit of melancholy because I do sometimes.

My little brother he will always be and like every other person out there who has lost a sibling, I am more than entitled to miss him. He would have been 52 on July 4th but he will forever be 41 just as he will forever be my broken little brother who looked for approval that was never going to come…at least from those he sought after. In retrospect I try not to focus on the raw deal that was most of his life because it was mine too and raw deals seem to run in the family. Sadly, even to the next generation.

My sister’s children  have lived through more than their fair share of raw too. Given that which Val tried to survive through and the choices she made, it’s hard not to be surprised. But her daughter, my niece, proved to be a survivor surviving really the only way one does survive and thrive and that is to break away and cut the ties. My nephew, on the other hand, struggles not to repeat his mother’s life…and ends up repeating it anyway because family ties that chafe and rub your heart as raw as ours have done are pretty hard to cut away, at least not without some pain and damage. Some of us just can’t handle that pain I guess. I know Randy could not. Neither could Val. And, it seems, neither is her son able to right now. His sister, so much like me, tries to help, tries to fix and, like me so many times before, is hurt in the process. Right now, she is hurting a lot because it’s hard to watch her own brother, the one who was the person she practiced on, the person who taught her about fairness and cooperation and kindness and caring, quite often the hard way is hurting and lost to her in a way that she can not fix. I know this hurt. I know it too well times three…perhaps times four. But all I can do is remind her that all that she can really do is just love him…even if it means loving him at arms length, or even miles and miles length because she deserves to heal and her son deserves so much more…much, much more than than the raw deals we have survived.

So, together, although separated by 3,000 miles, we cry a little for the little boys lost that are our brothers…and pray that her brother will, like us both, survive. It’s all that we can do.

I also felt some sadness for my own daughter and her friends. When you’re 21 or 22, it’s hard to imagine that you’ll be going to a funeral for a friend, a classmate but it sometimes happens. I met her friend, Josh, just two days before he died. Standing in line with Abby, Jodie and Daniel to see Inside Out (go see this movie), I hear, “Hello Abigael!” Naturally, I turn as Abby does because I am the only one who calls her Abigael and I must see who is this other person who calls her Abigael. Abby introduces me to a young man with laughing eyes and a warm smile telling me that this is her friend, Josh.

We shake hands and laugh a little together, Josh and I, because we are the only people who call Abby Abigael. Abby and Josh talk a little bit more but soon wave their goodbyes because, popcorn and snacks in hand, we are ready to go see Inside Out while Josh is seeing another movie that night. It’s hard to imagine someone as engaging as this young man seemed that night would be hiding so much pain behind those laughing eyes and warm smile as his but apparently there was much pain; enough pain that he would take his own life. So now his young friends gather at “the Hook” to remember and celebrate their friend, Josh and tomorrow will bury him. And I find myself sad again. Sad for the end of this young man’s life. Sad for his friends. Sad for his family.

Three men. Three beautiful, young men.

All it takes is a beautiful fake smile to hide an injured soul and they’ll never know how broken you really are.

because sometimes you just have to pull over and let it out

Scratching your head a little over that title, eh?

Yeah me too.

Have you ever had that moment where you knew that you were going to be sick but it was absolutely the last thing that you wanted to do because…who wants to get sick…where you are at…who you are with…who really wants to just hurl right here, right now.

Of course my darling husband and a couple of my kids swear by the nonsense of letting it go (so to speak) because you’ll feel better after.

They are totally, completely weird that way…truly….I judge them all the time when they choose to share their weird theory…and then I feel nauseous because I just can’t deal with vomit…not at all.

Oops!

I should have told you what this was about.

No not really actual vomit.

Except there is this one time…it’s kind of gross…still…

Okay.

Way back in 1993, Bill and I bought our very first brand new car, all bright and shiny and red with that fresh new car smell and only 8 miles on the odometer…a Mercury Villager! Thus began my long journey, that seems to have no end, of me driving a minivan. It wasn’t that bad…except now when I really don’t need a minivan. But that Villager! I loved it. We were literally the first family at my daughter’s school to have one and we always caused quite the stir at the drop off and pick up. While I was collecting my kindergartener, Hollie, I would spy other moms pressing their noses against the limousine tinted glass to gaze upon it’s gorgeous interior. I loved that car! It was perfect for a young mom with two small children and one on the way. And it was the first brand new car that I had ever owned.

Oh yeah, I was pregnant when we bought it. Yeah, I was struggling with hyperemesis too. Big surprise. But after nearly 8 months of it with Zoë, I was a pro…at least I thought I was. I knew the vomiting was inevitable but at least this time I could control it…?…I know, I’m an idiot sometimes. So there I was coming home from a routine OB visit, driving my gorgeous, red minivan, when…oh no…NO!….OH NO!!!….It’s coming….where is a bag, a towel, something, anything….there’s nothing??!!…oh dear god…it’s coming…

Frantic and not knowing what to do but determined not to throw up in my shiny, new car, I pull over a block from home and…

Yeah.

I never, ever drove that way home as long as we lived on Amelia Drive ever again.

Oh, and family, I did not feel better afterward! I actually felt worse and it had nothing to do with the homeowner of the house I stopped at to puke on their curb saw me. I just did; even if my body was forcing that vomit out.

I’m being gross, aren’t I?

I’m sorry.

It happened again the other day. I tried and tried so hard to keep it down, to somehow will it to not come out but…

And then after that came the words…ALL the words. All the words forcing their way out of my mouth…and they just kept coming and coming and coming…

I just can’t seem to get away from the Mean Girls references, can I?

What can I say?

It needed to come out…all of it…and it did. Of course I was miserable after…as is the one whom received all those words…so many words…hundreds…more than a thousand…all tumbling out on top of each other , forcing their way out.

It all had to come out.

All of it.

And, because it’s me, I felt even worse.

Ugh!

But sometimes you just have to pull over and let it all out right there.

So I did..

Excuse me now, I have a big mess to clean up.

heart thoughts

Working as Vampira, The Night Shift Nurse, I am used to 3 o’clock in the morning phone calls because there’s always a mommy of one of my tiny human patients at any given shift calling because she woke up and thought of her baby. They are usually pumping the liquid gold that is mommy milk and naturally their thoughts are on their tiny baby wondering how he is doing…did she gain weight…did he have yet another episode where he stopped breathing or dropped his heart rate to delay (again) his discharge that was anticipated the day after tomorrow…is she crying… So around 3 AM Tuesday morning as I’m taking mental inventory of what I need to do before my last rounds with my patients when the phone rings I am not surprised. It’s probably baby boy’s mama calling to see if he gained weight.

Room 1. This is Laura. Can I help you?

Mom?!

Abby?…??!!??

Dad had a heart attack. We’re at Doctors in Manteca. It’s bad.

What?!

His nurse needs to talk to you.

And Patrick comes on the line calmly explaining that my darling husband has suffered a STEMI and needs a stat cardiac catheterization. Unfortunately, the hospital where he is at is not set up to do the procedure so he is going to be transported by ambulance to my hospital, its sister hospital. He carefully explains what has been done and given to Bill so far, how Abby is and that he, Patrick, will be accompanying Bill to Modesto. He adds that because we are “family” within our hospital system, he is going to be calling me during the transport to update their arrival time.

OMFG!!!!

Patrick gives me his cell number telling me that is the number he will be calling my cell so I’ll know it’s him…because who else is going to call my phone around 3 AM?…looking at my silenced phone I see that Abby tried to call me…Oh. Yeah….Patrick tells me he will call as they leave Manteca and again as they approach my hospital so that I can meet them in the ER.

OMFG!!!

Inside I am freaking out…majorly freaking out saying “fuck” often. Outside I tell my charge nurse what is going on. I’m too calm. At least I think that I am too calm.

She immediately calls our resource nurse to take over my patients’ care and directs me to update her on what needs to be done for the next few hours. I give the handoff to our resource and accept the hugs and promises of prayer from co-workers and the family of one of my patients as I blankly wander to our nurses’ lounge to wait for Patrick to call me.

I’m too calm, I think again. My husband just had a heart attack and needs an emergency cath procedure. Why am I not freaking out? Why am I not crying? My phone rings. It’s Patrick. They’re on their way he tells me. He adds that Abby is following in her car. And so I wait while my mind races…and wonders why am I not crying, screaming, throwing something…my husband has had a heart attack and is coming by ambulance to my hospital.

Patrick soon calls again telling me that they are getting off the freeway so I hug coworkers once more and head to the ER. There the STEMI Alert team is waiting and ready…nurses, doctor, phlebo, x-ray tech…

This is serious.

Before I can think to ask a thoughtful question, the ambulance arrives with Bill and Patrick. Bill is pale, much too pale but joking with me as he does, as we do.

Freak, freak, fucking freaking out inside I am again.

I’m calm as Patrick explains what meds Bill has had so far…aspirin, morphine, heparin. He tells me he went over consents with Abby and she has signed them so he’s good to go to the cath lab. Numbly, I thank Patrick for everything so far as he says goodbye while I watch Bill receive a new IV, have labs drawn, get a chest x-ray and have his pants removed all in the matter of a few minutes.

Mrs. Scarborough? We’re heading upstairs now.

Holding Bill’s hand, my mind moves from “OMFG! This is for real” to “He’s seriously high right now” as we head up to the cath lab. As they push the bed with my husband through the double doors, they direct me to sit and wait.

So, I can cry now?…

A text from Abby pops up on my phone. She’s here. I tell her where to go so that we can meet. What she tells me is so hard to believe to be real. Bill woke her up after 2 AM telling her that he needed her to drive him to the hospital.

Why, she asked?

His arm hurts and he needs to go now. Bill’s arm and shoulder has been bugging him for a few days. He blames it on overdoing it at Krav Maga, as does the family doctor who prescribed rest and a muscle relaxer. Abby tells me that he was a bit breathless and coughing a lot…as he has been because allergies and the cold Bill believes he caught from Daniel (who has not had a cold). Abby gets him to the ER close to home where they begin to triage and take his vitals…

It all changed when he was placed on a monitor. The nurse abruptly leaves the room calling a doctor in. Soon a party gathered in his room, Abby tells me. A doctor tells her that her dad is having a serious heart attack and need to be sent to another hospital.

My mom is at work at Doctors in Modesto. She will want him there.

You know the rest.

Can I just say here how impressed I am with my Abigael Rose? I am! She remained calm through all of this. I imagine that she was freaking out inside with a steam of OMFG and fuck, fuck, fuck happening because she is her mother’s daughter. Still she remained calm and even advocating for her dad and mom when they first planned to transport him to a hospital in Stockton rather than where I work, where the Central Valley cardiology rock stars are. I am so proud and so impressed with this child of mine.

The cardiologist soon comes out and tells us that his right coronary artery was 100% blocked but she was able to open it up with the cath procedure. She adds that his heart went into v-tach and he had to be shocked three times before his heart converted to a normal rhythm.

yeah…inner major freakout happened.

As the sun rises, Abby and I meet Bill in the ICU. He is on several drip medications with a venous and arterial line in his groin along with an IV. He’s pale…so pale…and he’s trying to tell jokes.

Stop!

I hold his hand as I remind myself that this is his turn for the in  sickness and health part of our vows. Yeah I am mad because he never seemed to listen to me about my worries so here we are but here we are, together in sickness and in health.

Dammit!

The family starts to call as they wake to receive my texts to call me because it’s an emergency. I want to cry and scream and curse and sleep because now I am tired, so tired, but I can’t because our daughters are calling, his sisters…

Sleep is for the weak…and people who had a heart attack…the most severe type of heart attack…and for people who needed to be shocked several times after cardiac arrest. I’m not sleeping now.

The family comes. The friends check in. Bill is awake then asleep then awake then asleep and all the while looking so pale. Everyone who sees him cries a little or a lot. I don’t.

Clearly I am defective.

I know I did way too much in sickness and in health events having babies and preterm labor and anaphylaxis episodes and meningococcal meningitis but, dammit, this is too much. His heart. I told him. I did. I nagged and I begged.

As the day progresses, he slowly stabilizes.

Thank god!

We settle into what is right now our normal and perhaps the most awkward, surreal date night ever.

As a wild, wild party seems to be commencing under The Big Top.

What can I say?

You cope your way.

And this circus will cope ours.

The good news is that by Wednesday night, Bill is much improved. no chest pains, rare arrythmias, femoral lines and drip medications discontinued and, after more than 36 hours for the first time he is sitting up in bed.

So. Damn. Lucky.

The adventure continues…