it’s in his dna

With adolescence comes the need to figure out yourself…who you are…do you fit in. Normal. Completely normal. Yes, even for the most well adjusted child raised with all the love. Perfectly normal.

And so we enter this phase of this favorite son’s life which leads to some very interesting conversations lately. Some answers are easy thanks to his own NICU records mom was privy to. Some, but not all. Why is his brown hair so fine and curly and so damn unruly? Will he go bald like Dad? His biological mother was Russian but what about his biological father? He looks in the mirror and although he knows he is our son and his sisters’ brother, he is not certain where the face that looks back at him comes from. He wants answers and he is not willing to wait four more years to see if he can get those answers; because odds are high he likely won’t get those questions answered by the ones who made him.

Answers to some questions are here, in his DNA. Answers he will likely discover in a couple of months. Answers that with his mom and his dad, he looks forward to discovering.

And you thought the sex talk with kids was hard.

When he looks in the mirror, we want our son to know himself. It’s hard to face the world when you don’t know where your face came from.—Adoptive Parent

adventures in human kindness

Remember that one darling daughter of mine who just fifteen years ago, after her ambulance ride to a trauma center and time in the PICU, followed by reconstructive surgery weeks later promised me that the next time she would find herself in a hospital she would be married and having a baby? And remember when she found herself in an ER just  three years ago after discovering that magical, mystical creatures like herself STILL don’t bounce? Yes, she had to apologize for breaking her promise to me via FaceTime with her doctor laughing a little in the background.


Here we were earlier last week…


her guardian angel, sitting in the corner, rolling her eyes, shaking her head back and forth and I’m pretty sure I saw her take a hit off of a bottle in a brown paper bag because…

OH MY GOD, Zoë Elizabeth!!!

Long story short, she ‘s okay. She is okay except for the fact that last Tuesday she passed out cold in her kitchen while trying to clean up some puncture wounds on her leg thanks to her asshole cat and when her sister found herself having a hard time reviving her, called 911. The paramedics found her blood pressure and heart rate to be very low so they decided to take her to the local ER known for their Human Kindness. Mom arrives soon after to micromanage and basically be in the way of her caregivers as moms who are nurses often do; and just as mom arrives, an ER nurse approaches her with a pill she directs her to take because the doctor ordered it.

Wait, she was seen by a physician? Because she tells me she hasn’t been examined yet.

Oh, the doctor looked her over when the ambulance arrived.

He examined her?

He looked at her.

Zoë joins in, So that guy in scrubs who talked to me was a doctor? He never told me that.

ER nurse rolls her eyes

Anyway, the doctor wants you to take this.

What is this?

It’s an antibiotic, for the puncture wounds. It’s to prevent infection.

As Zoë swallows the pill, the nurse walks away without a word.

The ER is crowded. It’s a triple digit evening in Stockton. Of course the ER is crowded. Time passes with staff walking back and forth but never stopping to say anything to Zoë or the other patients sitting in chairs around her. After a time a tech comes and takes Zoë, with me tagging a long, to a curtained area where he begins to prep her for a 12 lead EKG.

So the doctor ordered an EKG?


EKG complete. Normal sinus rhythm. Heart rate is a little low still. Tech remarks, as he removes the leads, that from the appearance of her skin right now she is a little dehydrated; which might be why she passed out given how hot it has been all day today.

Literally the first time someone talked to her about what brought her to the ER.

Returning to her place in the crowded exam area, a nurse comes and tells me I must wait in chairs in the waiting room because of the overflow of patients. No problem because, yes, this ER is literally overflowing with the humanity of Stockton seeking their special brand of Human Kindness…like the lady sitting next to me in the wait room chairs who receives discharge instructions from her nurse for treatment for allergies and post nasal drip…yes, ALLERGIES and POST NASAL DRIP was her admitting diagnosis!


Looking around, over-hearing conversations, it was clear that there were some in the ER that evening for similar minor complaints but there were people in pain, people desperately ill seeking emergency care with a little bit of Human Kindness.

I waited in chairs anxiously for Zoë while she advocated for herself in a way that would make her nurse mama proud. Registration seemed relieved almost as she confirmed that, yes, Zoë was insured. And then we were on our way…

…to her local pharmacy…a very crowded pharmacy…a pharmacy that took more than 24 hours to even begin to attempt to fill her prescription…because Augmentin is super hard to fill.

In the end, I remind my darling daughter of the fact that she broke her eight year old little girl promise to me…again. I also talk with her about the reality that is healthcare today and how although we healthcare providers do strive to help people live happier, healthier lives, to thrive and to connect on a human level because human connection leads to better health, we healthcare providers, all of us, need to do better. We need to try harder. We need to really treat each and every patient we encounter with the level of care our mission statements declare. Like it or not, we healthcare providers are graded by HCAHPS; which we really shouldn’t stress too much about if we are truly working to strive to help people live happier, healthier lives, to thrive and to connect on a human level because human connection leads to better health.

Zoë is going to be just fine. The puncture wounds will heal. She will do her very best to stay well-hydrated…and not scare her sister, her mother, her guardian angel anymore. Zoë also will be filling out the patient survey that St Joseph’s will soon be sending her way with all the brutal honesty that is needed and deserved because Human Kindness is exactly what all of their patients deserve and must have. As for me, this RN, I am all the more reminded, nudged and inspired to try harder to do exactly just that for my patients and for their mamas who expect just that as well.

just when I think getting older really sucks…

Today was my annual head to toe check up complete with lab work and boob smashing referrals. Hurray, hurray, hurray! Added bonus is a new med to take because menopause is becoming more and more of a bitch and all I can say is $140 is a helluva lot of money to charge for ONE PILL!!! Actually I can also say that I am so happy for the insurance that we have with a good prescription plan because although $10 for ONE PILL is ridiculous it is so much less ridiculous than $140.

And how in the world can I be dealing with First World Old People Problems when I don’t feel THAT old…except when I first wake up and get out of bed in the morning or when I hobble home after a 12 hour long shift?

I should really be allowed to feel sorry for myself right now.

I should.

But it could be worse.

So much worse.

On a barren seafloor, the pearlfish swims into the safety of a sea cucumber’s anus. To find a meal, the female bolas spider releases pheromones that mimic a female moth, luring male moths into her sticky lasso web. The Glyptapanteles wasp injects a caterpillar with her young, which feed on the victim, erupt out of it, then mind-control the poor (and somehow still living) schmuck into protecting them from predators.

These are among the curious critters of The Wasp That Brainwashed the Caterpillar, a jaunt through evolution’s most unbelievable, most ingenious solutions to the problems of everyday life, from trying to get laid to finding food. Join Wired science writer Matt Simon as he introduces you to the creatures that have it figured out, the ones that joust with their mustaches or choke sharks to death with snot, all in a wild struggle to survive and, of course, find true love.


What the actual fuck?????

It COULD be worse.

I’ll just swallow that bitter little pill of mine, find the right balance of exercise and, yes, buy Matt Simon’s book because I need to feel better about my aging self.



I obsess

Are you surprised?

I am wired to obsess and I am pretty good at it too.

My kids, my darling husband, my Spring Cleaning/We Must Downsize All The Things Now list, my grandkids, the upcoming biennial NRP recertification megapode test, my…



Just one of 456,789 reasons why I might obsess just a wee bit over my circus clowns because no matter how young or old your children are they always manage to scare the shit of you…which means today that the ER staff at our local hospital might hate me just a little bit. Mom…Nurse…Mom…Nurse Mom…I literally can’t separate the roles when it comes to my children and grandchildren when they are in the hospital. Don’t worry. She’s okayish now.

As for the rest of my circus act, y’all best not be up to any crazy shenanigans because I want to focus my energies on my latest obsession this week.

And for my kids who do keep score…yes, tonight your sister is the favorite child! But I do still love you all! Behave yourselves!

walking and chewing gum at the same time is hard

It is no secret to those who know me very well that I am clumsy. Grace is most definitely not my middle name.  I literally can NOT walk and chew gum at the same time. Never mind that I hate chewing gum period. I also am unable to pat my head and rub my belly at the same time. Sesame Street long ago revealed that personal shame to me. Thanks Gordon, Big Bird and the rest of Sesame Street!

Yes, I am a klutz. So it would come to no surprise to those who know me and love me best that I would manage to stub my toe in the most spectacular fashion. After all, I am the same girl who shattered her radius and ulna while mopping a floor.

Go big or go home!

But yes, last month I stubbed my pinky toe and to make it all the more fun, I also sliced off a 5 mm thick piece of the underside and inner portion of that pinky toe. Don’t ask me how. Even I don’t know. But I certainly was not surprised because it’s me. The challenge that followed the next few days was stopping the bleeding, the oozing and the potential for infection because it is my pinky toe. Never doubt how important that tiny fifth toe is.

It eventually did stop bleeding but soon began to look rather suspect. Of course I imagined the worst possible scenario with flesh eating bacteria and all that fun and games when I went to my doctor. When your doctor cringes and hisses at the sight of your latest injury you know it’s bad…but not nearly as bad as I imagined. No amputation for me…thank god! Epsom salt soaks, bacitracin, socks, shoes and some antibiotics along with the shaking of his head and clucking of his tongue as he dictated this particular visit into my chart. And, after a few weeks, I’m now all better and ready for the next clumsy moment.

Of course our insurance needs to better understand this injury and doctor’s office visit as they do with anything that is not a cold or flu or well check or follow-up status post STEMI. They need to understand the nature of the injury…the how did it happen…did it happen at work or perhaps in a public place…or did someone cause this injury who could possibly pay for the urgent care office visit. All this and more was asked of me in a little, two-paged questionnaire that they sent to me. Be as detailed as possible they instruct me. 


It happened at home. I was walking and I stubbed my toe.

I was not at work. I was at home.

I was not at a public place (THANK GOD!), I was at home.

No one caused this accident to happen or did this to me on purpose. I did it all by myself. 

I managed to stub my toe simply by walking and because this is me I had to do it in the most spectacular fashion effectively removing a large chunk of my pinky toe because I am wonderfully clumsy me. But hey insurance claims person, it’s a good thing that I did go see my doctor for an urgent care visit after it started looking purple and oozing bloody pus because it ended up being so much better for me and for you that it wasn’t some crazy flesh eating bacteria getting into that wound that might need all kinds of crazy, expensive interventions like IV antibiotics and hospitalizations and amputation and physical therapy. Lucky for us both that I still have my now skinnier pinky toe and you only have an $134 urgent office visit to pay for. Hurray, hurray!

I am going to imagine that the claims office of our health insurance is thoroughly entertained with my answers to their questionnaire…and so happy that they asked for more details about my stubbed and sliced toe.

No pictures to share here…I might have already over-shared that with my health-allied friends on social media because of my imaginings of gangrenous infections taking over my body. Nobody needs to see that yuck ever again. Instead, because it is apparently National Puppy Day, I will share with you all the shenanigans and adorableness that is Jodie at Sigma Pi’s Paws for a Cause yesterday.

Unlike her mommy dearest, Jodie is not clumsy at all…which is a very good thing since her middle name is indeed Grace.