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…

in wonky times like these

Mercury is retrograde and honestly in times like these when everything seems to be all wonky and awry all one can really do is take a deep breath and ask themselves…

WWBD?

Because, yes, in astrological, astronomical times like these you know Queen Bey is not affected by crazy emotions, miscommunications and general weirdness as the rest of us are.

Truly.

Why else would folks like Bill O’Reilly and Mike Huckabee get their boy shorts all twisted up believing that Beyonce is what is wrong with the world today?

Right?

Then a moment like this with Jon Stewart reminds us that maybe Bey isn’t as all powerful or as scary as the Fox boys would want us to fear. Because, at the end of the day, she is still just a musician living in “Bubbleville”. But damn, I still wonder sometimes in the dark of night what would Beyonce do especially when Mercury is in retrograde.

 

deal 2015

For the last two years I have chosen a word for the year. It’s so much easier than resolutions, which I never did any way because…why? Three weeks later they are just going to be broken and then comes the guilt, the shame and the self-loathing.

Yeah.

No.

I am already too good at that having perfected it for the last 50+ years.

No resolutions for me. Not ever.

Focusing on one word to sum up who I want to be and how I want to live this year is what I choose instead.

2013 was the year where I chose to embrace. Miles helped to define 2014 for me.

And for 2015?

I thought about it as I began to write down The Big Top calendar. As usual, the days of the month filled up quickly with work schedules, a couple doctor appointments, birthdays, meetings, holiday plans, parties, classes, practices and half marathon training.

Sigh!

Already it promises to be a busy month because even as the kids have grown up what else would I be doing but juggling?

It’s very easy to become overwhelmed as one imagines that there isn’t enough hours in the day while looking at that calendar.

Very easy.

I look at my coffee mug and smirk thinking that yes, I’m just going to have to deal with it.

DEAL!

When it comes to this year I just need to hitch up my big girl panties and just get stuff done.

Leap.

Without fear of failure.

This last year, with a big gulp and a swallow, I began to try to learn and understand just who I am. With a lot of help, I am learning how to be content that I am enough for me and me alone. I’m not perfect and I never will be but I am enough. Enough to take on the hard things, and be okay if everything doesn’t fall into place as planned. It will be okay to not have everything figured out. It will be okay because I am going to just deal with it. I am going to remind myself (often I imagine) that you don’t always need a plan. Sometimes you just need to breathe, trust, let go and see what happens. Sometimes you just need to deal.

In 2015 there will be good days, bad days and ugly days. And with a little luck, hopefully there will be some great days too. Each day I will face and I will deal with it, as I always do. But this year I will deal with intention.

therapy

Sometimes, some days the weight of all that presses down on my heart, my head, my soul is just too much.

Like today. For so many reasons, today was one of those days. The sadness overwhelmed, pressed down and enveloped my very core.

And so I forced myself to run. I didn’t want to; but run I knew that I must do today…especially today. Today I ran because I knew that for at least the 30 minutes and 3.2 miles that I was running all that is right now always weighing down my heart, mind and soul was behind me. It wasn’t gone. Today I feel like none of it will ever be gone in my lifetime. But at least it was behind me for a blessed half hour.

And then reality.

What a bitch reality is.

It wasn’t all bad. No. One problem that in the last month went from bad to worse to clusterfuckedupness when Bill’s car met it’s demise in the Santa Cruz Mountains last month and then when he broke his motorcycle this weekend was solved…with monthly car payments to now worry about. Then again a family with a Bay Area commute to one job and a commute to Stockton with another job and a commute to Modesto for another job and school starting next week there was no way that we could survive with just one reliable vehicle that remains.

I should be thankful. I am. But today was a horrible, rotten, no-good, very bad mental health day and so I let the can-we-really-afford-this-car-payment-when-I-get-cut-from-work-pretty-much-every-scheduled-shift overwhelm me because, I got called off from work. Of course!

Bill handed me the keys telling me to take it for a drive. So I did.

I drove and drove and drove all over the place, past orchards and vineyards and parched fields and into the sunset with the windows rolled down and Iggy Azalea loudly promising that in spite of her 99 problems you won’t be one on the radio.

Therapy, much needed therapy for a pretty emotionally fucked up day.

Tomorrow’s another day. It might be a better day. It might not be. But it will be tomorrow.

One day, one hour, one minute at a time.

It’s therapy.

 

musings and rants of just another dance mom

Before I begin, and before anyone jumps to conclusions after only reading the title, note that these musings and rants could likely be applicable to almost any band mom, soccer mom, baseball mom, football mom, mathalete mom, choir mom, theater mom, debate team mom, cheer mom, __insert child’s extra-curricular activity here__ mom…or dad.

There you are at the latest competitive activity for your awesome child. You are happy, You are proud. You are a little teary because your baby is up there performing her all…and it is the last year for you both. Your kid is awesome! The awards and scholarships they are awarded confirms what you already know but it is still nice to see other people, people whose education and experience makes them qualified to have such an opinion agree with you. So you clap enthusiastically and cheer loudly as she performs and during awards because it makes everything that goes into making this moment possible so worth it.

But then you see what is the embarrassment of riches awarded to the bigger studio/team. Truly you don’t begrudge their achievement because the talent, the originality, the creativity is there so the excess is well deserved. You just wish some of that surplus was weighing down your kid too.

You’re only human.

But would it be worth it? Would your kid have the same opportunities there competing with so many other equally talented and hard-working kids? Perhaps not. Dancers have left the little studio before with the hopes and dreams of this happening only to not make the cut to be part of the elite at the bigger studio because it often requires much more than just talent and ability. It’s happened before, a number of times before that you have seen.

Through the years, you have witnessed your awkward, knobby knees and elbows kid, who could barely keep the beat, emerge into a talented force to be noticed when she takes the stage whether it be jazz, lyrical, hip-hop, pointe or, her first love, tap. When you witness instructors or dancers from other studios make their way over to compliment your dancer or even have teachers from a rival studio tell you that they loved watching your kid on stage dancing the part of Cinderella you know you made the right decision. Of course the decision was not wholly yours as your dancer made it clear where she wanted to train and learn too.

Still, this weekend you couldn’t help feeling just a little bit of pangs of jealousy because what parent supporting their child’s dreams doesn’t wish for them to be regarded as more than a “Triple Threat” up on that stage and every other stage they may take? Until your kid witnesses the director of another studio angrily wave a six year old off the stage for briefly forgetting choreography and glancing off stage in his direction…and then yelling at the poor little kid backstage…a six year old! Some might ascribe to this Abby Lee-esque tactic of teaching and coaching but seeing first hand the growth and success your dancer has realized you find yourself nodding in agreement with multi-award winning dancers, teachers and choreographers, Derek Hough and Mark Ballas who both maintained that …correct teaching is patience, discipline, confidence building and love..and Miller (and others like that -my words) needs a reality check. Dance is meant to be fun and inspirational, not abusive.

And if that wasn’t enough for you to say to yourself that, yes, we don’t need to be a part of that; there are some of the families, decked out in all the studio gear that identifies who they are and where they come from behaving badly. Case in point, if you’re going to loudly demand a woman with an infant move out YOUR SEAT because there is nothing in and around your seat to indicate that it is yours, you might want to take note that everyone sitting around your seat knows who you represent because of what you are wearing.
Yes, that happened.
The same would go for the other families on your team who insisted all Sunday morning to stand in the front of the auditorium searching for the perfect place to sit, blocking the view of the audience behind them from seeing the dance happening on stage at that very moment. Again, wearing the studio gear makes it very easy to identify who you are and who you represent, especially when all of you are repeatedly asked by many in the audience to please sit down or wait until the dance on stage is done. Everyone gets that you want a good seat to see your child/grandchild/friend on stage but to block the views of families anxious to see their child/grandchild/friend dancing on stage at that very moment?
Really?!
You ask yourself who is that rude? Then you ask yourself if you would want to be identified as part of that…would you want your kid to be a part of that?

Of course the answer is no.

And so you let go those little pangs of jealousy because it was a good weekend for your daughter who dances with all the gold, high gold and special judges’ awards and the scholarship that she is taking home as proof of that. Even more so, her saying out loud, “This was a great weekend!“, makes it so.