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.

Well…

Here we were earlier last week…

again…

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?

Yes.

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!

Ugh!

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.

those that can judge

Everyone else is talking about the most unfortunate tragedy at the Cincinnati Zoo this weekend so why not toss my opinion out there into the webs?

I wasn’t there to witness the drama that unfolded when that little boy fell into the gorilla enclosure where Harambe dwelled. I wasn’t a bystander just standing by recording it all on my iPhone.

Who am I to judge?

I’m the mother of five children whom I have raised. I’ve made mistakes. I’ve made way too many mistakes. I turned my head away for but a moment while my 3 year old hid away in the clothes rack in a department store. I have paused to wipe baby spit up from one of mine long enough for another to walk right into a swimming pool and go under. I have sat right next to a child of mine as they gasped and choked on the hot dog pieces that I failed to cut up into pieces that no child would ever choke on. I was the mom, holding the hand of my child only to have her let go just like that and take off running as fast as she could toward the end of the Capitola Wharf…it’s amazing how fast a 7 month pregnant woman can run. I am the mom who stepped inside to check on the napping 4 year old and to get ready for work just long enough for her almost 9 year old daughter to wander out of the yard in search of her teenaged sister and friend, crossing a busy street at the end of our cul de sac to be struck by a truck.

Accidents happen. Shit happens. Bad things happen even in the presence of the most expert of parents.

Who am I to judge?

I wasn’t there at the Cincinnati Zoo. I am not a zoologist. I am not an expert in the behavior of primates like a silverback gorilla. I was not there.

Who am I to judge?

I’ll leave that for the rest of the inter webs and experts on social media…and I will be thankful that none of these experts have ever been around to judge my bad mama moments. Oh, and I shall give thanks to be living in the time with a land full of so many parenting and gorilla experts.

honor rolls, awards, celebrations and other end of year shenanigans

Because moving and unpacking and all the fun and games and all the snafus that go with that can’t possibly be enough going on here under the new Big Top we have…

Relax, it’s not like we have a graduation to celebrate going on. Still there is a lot going on that is the very last week of 7th grade and it seems none of it really involves much formal learning. It’s okay. It’s the last week of school y’all and for that students, parents and educators are celebrating.

So here we are, Jodie and I, taking a break from unpacking and online summer classes and nightshift nurse life work prep, lined up with all the rest of family and friends waiting to attend the 7th and 8th grade end of year honor roll and awards assembly at Daniel’s school. I make good use of my wait time scrolling through my Instagram feed. In the background I am aware of the first world problems that is one 8th grade mom VERY upset because her precious snowflake is missing Perfect Attendance award pins from 4th, 5th and 6th grades and she knows that they have not been lost or misplaced, her son never received them and he is going to need them by TOMORROW because it is 8th grade graduation and these pins must be firmly affixed to his graduation gown as he walks across the stage. By now everyone in the school office is aware of this problem and just how serious it is as the office secretary tries to explain there is little she can do to fix this even if the mom has all of her child’s 4th, 5th and 6th grade report cards to prove he had perfect attendance.

The waiting is that tedious that most of us are caught up in the drama-trauma happening…will this mother’s precious snowflake receive his perfect attendance pins that will carry him on to the promise of many future successes in high school, college and beyond; or will there be heartbreak followed by a downward spiral into abject failure if those three pins aren’t affixed to his 8th grade graduation gown because this is the ONLY time that he will ever graduate from 8th grade.

Jodie might have audibly sighed and rolled her eyes.

I definitely snickered.

I blame my dear friend Kerri because this popped up in my Instagram feed.

For every kid who is not gonna get an end of year certificate for “Best” anything… For every parent who is getting to the end of the school year with barely one tiny thread of sanity left… For every teacher who got hit with extra credit requests from students who did no work and yelled at by Tiger Mamas… For every admin trying to get grades posted, custodian trying to get the building clean and PTA President trying to get the final budget done…
Good Job! *High Five* from this little squirrel. I don’t know why, but that’s just funny.

It’s totally Kerri’s fault. But yes, high five and hats off especially to the wonderful, hardworking teachers, administrators and support staff at my son’s school who must survive all the shenanigans that the final days of school bring especially from the parents of all of the precious snowflakes. I just can’t imagine but then again here I am waiting to attend the end of year awards’ assembly where my own favorite son will be recognized for all of his hard work this year, his 7th grade year.

Honor roll, it’s always a big deal; but even more so when you literally begin life weighing but one pound with less than 10% chance of survival it is a HUGE, big, fat, hairy deal of which your family makes no apology for celebrating every time. So proud of this favorite son of mine.

Apologies to first world problems 8th grade mom for perhaps judging you a little bit more than you deserved. Even more apologies in advance to all at son’s school for next year’s 8th grade graduation because another milestone seemingly impossible and unattainable those first weeks of life soon realized.

Yeah, I’m likely to be insufferable next year.

Forgive me.

Instead join me and celebrate this amazing, mighty human I call son.

 

 

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. 

Heh!

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.

 

this weekend’s moment of Dan

Tae Kwon Do belt testing all weekend long means lots of awesome like this:

and this

and this

but not so much this

:::sigh:::

Just like in dance and cheer, there is always that one (or more) parent or grandparent who could care less that there are perhaps ten or more people behind him or her who can not watch their pride and joy…BECAUSE YOU ARE BLOCKING THE VIEW!!! And often they will literally do this through the entire performance/presentation because, yes, that is how they roll. They’ll use their flash too because they either:
(a) do not understand the REPEATED requests from the kids’ teachers/coaches to NOT use flash photography for the safety of the kids.
(b) just don’t give a fuck

Given the fact that several people asked this dad to please move or sit down so they could enjoy their kid’s testing too and he remained standing, I’m guessing it is b. Definitely b.

Oh well!

I have a long lens. And I was lucky to get there early enough to get a good seat away from this dad photog.

Back to my Tae Kwon Dan.

Yeah, I’m pretty proud of him.

Even better, he is proud, very proud of his hard work.

Brown belt, black stripe for the win!

And that, my friends, is your moment of Dan!