Monday, June 28, 2010
Once again, it has been a very busy, somewhat stressful weekend. If you recall, a few weeks ago Mama JJ passed. They had a beautiful Catholic service for her in New York and spread her ashes over the Allegheny River. The Allegheny empties into the Ohio, so she can be in both New York where she grew up, and in Ohio where she raised her daughter and spent a large portion of her life. On Saturday June 26th her family had a beautiful memorial service for her in Newark, Ohio at the teen center that she helped establish.
Mama JJ was a TRUE Christian. She was one of the most beautiful women you could ever have the honor of meeting. She did not just preach being a Christian, judge if you were not the same religion as she was, or talk about doing good things, she actually DID them. She embodied the meaning of love and selfless service and her memorial service was a testimony to her amazing life.
There were over three hundred people present. Every single one of them she had touched in some way, shape or form. There were songs sung, music played, slide shows, and even the flight of an eagle(Lincoln is his name) to honor her life. There was a group of "teens" present that 5-10 years ago would be considered "high risk". Most came from bad families, contemplated suicide, were big into drugs, or were delinquents. Now, today, thanks to Mama JJ and the teen center, they are still alive, most have become Christians and are thriving in society. She took the kids that society and everyone else ignored and disregarded and took them under her wing. Her husband and her also took some of these kids into their own home. There were times when Mama and Papa JJ were struggling to make ends meat on their own, but were still open and willing to help these kids and and give them all that they could, because as the old saying goes, "God will provide." They somehow made it work. The pastor described her perfectly as "The Foot Washer".
For me, Mama JJ was like a second mother. JJ and I have been friends for going on 29 years and we are more like sisters than friends. We have lived together for a total of 6 years, and like sisters, we can fight like cats and dogs. There were times that if we got in a big fight Mama JJ would call me after hearing JJ's side of the story and ask for mine. She would give me advice, say things like "I don't know where she got that, I taught her better than that," and made me feel better. She never took sides, never judged. I thought for sure JJ knew about these talks, until I was talking to her a week ago, and told her about it. Mama JJ kept our conversations and everything said to herself. She loved me like family.
JJ and Foster did not get along all that well at first. They are way too much alike and their type A personalities clashed from time to time. Mama JJ knew this, and despite this knowledge, the first time she met Foster she fell in love. She adored him and welcomed him with open arms regardless if JJ liked him or not. Luckily, with time, JJ and Foster have become friends and have a mutual respect for each other.
I could go on and on about what an amazing woman she was but would never completely do her justice. She was full of understanding and grace. Even up to the moment she took her last breath. She never complained about the cancer, never complained about the pain. When I was in the hospital after losing Rosie, she called me and said, "Erin, I am so sorry. I love you so much, and although you do not want to hear this, I will be joining Rosie very soon. As soon as I get up there, I am going to steal her out of the arms of your granny and hug her for you." I have no doubt that she went straight to heaven. I have no doubt that Jesus personally escorted her himself, and I have no doubt that the three of them are enjoying each others company, waiting for JJ's family and my family to join them. Just as Jesus bore his cross and the pain of crucifixion, Mama JJ endured her pain to be rewarded with eternity in heaven. And just as Mary endured the pain of losing her child but continued to do his work and mission, I bear the pain of losing Rosie, but will continue the mission in her name and in Jesus' name. If I can become half the woman that Mama JJ was and make half the impact on this world, I will consider my life a success.
I urge each of you to take Mama JJ as an example, and try each day to give. Whether it be as simple as a smile to a stranger, to as dedicated as missionary work in a third world country, we can all give a little of ourselves and follow in the footsteps of "The Foot Washer".
Friday, June 25, 2010
If I said last night was hectic, it would be an understatement. We were drowning. It was so incredibly busy, I was trying to eat a salad while I had a desk full of charts,I was answering phones in between bites, and I only went to the bathroom twice in twelve hours. The emotions that run through me as I see these patients through their charts is what makes me happy I am not on the floor dealing with them one on one. I am responsible for putting in orders, calling doctors, calling specialists, making sure radiology, respiratory, and every other department in the hospital get their orders for patients. I am kind of the "hub" and I can make or break a night by how well I keep up with everything. The entire time I was working an image of an octopus secretary went through my head.
One of the many times I see the charts are at the end of a visit. I document everything and make sure they are logged out. This is when I come across the reasons patients are there. Last night it seemed like it was the night of miscarriages and pregnancies. It seemed every woman coming in between the ages of 16 and 45 were either miscarrying their babies or finding out they were pregnant. Every time I saw a miscarriage pass through my hands I got really sad. It pains me to think that another mommy was losing her baby. Every time a pregnancy chart passed through my hands I smiled and hoped that these women realized what an amazing gift they had, and hoped they would appreciate the life growing inside of them. Unfortunately, not all of them feel this way. Actually, a large majority of the women we see are not happy when they find out they are pregnant. I specifically remember a woman coming in right before I lost Rosie. I was a little over seven months pregnant. I went to tell her that she was pregnant and started to congratulate her when she replied, "Oh crap! Well, just as I thought, I guess I am going to the clinic this week. I made an appointment just in case the test came back positive." She was going to have an abortion. This instance I apologized to the woman and told her I wish she would think twice, but it was ultimately her decision, I obviously chose life. If I witnessed this same scene now I would probably burst out in tears in front of this woman. I would asked her to reconsider, and probably offer to adopt her child. I guess one of the girls last night was relieved that she miscarried, because she didn't want the baby to begin with. It is so sad. People take that tiny little life inside of them for granted until they have wanted it so bad and then lost it.
Then we had our psych patients, the patients who come to us because they either have attempted to commit suicide, or are threatening to commit suicide. Before I used to talk to them and listen to them and try to understand their reasoning. Now, if I had to take care of one, unless they have gone through the amount of grief that me and my family has over the past 9 weeks, I would tell them to suck it up and stop whining.
"My boyfriend left me."
"There are more fish in the see."
"My husband hit me."
"Leave his sorry butt."
"I am homeless."
"There are groups to help you."
"I lost my job."
"Get another one...I am POSITIVE McDonald's by me is hiring."
If there is anyone who should be a cracked out, chain smoking, alcoholic ready to commit suicide, it should be me! This one glass of wine before bed does NOT constitute an alcoholic, so don't send the men with straight jackets after me. I feel these people are just weak minded, and I know that is an awful thing to say, but if you read what my mom has been going through over the past year, NO ONE has room to complain!
Now, we did have three patients that came through our doors in the past twenty four hours that broke my heart. Our three rape victims. Yes, not one, not two, but three rapes in the past 24 hours. Luckily, the cops caught one of the rapists, he was the local serial rapist who had raped at least 7 women that we are aware of. They all had the crap beaten out of them in the process, and were all pretty bad off. No woman should EVER have to experience that. Any man who would be as low as to rape a woman should have his penis chopped off and nailed on a post in the middle of town square. These are instances when I wish the old forms of punishment were still allowed, hang the man from the gallows not by his neck, but by his penis. Then let all of the women he has hurt rape him how they want with whatever object they want! Sorry, I went on a tangent.
The twelve hours is kicking my butt also. It is one thing to remain happy go lucky for 8 hours, answering every "How are you?" with "I'm fine." and a smile on my face. By the end of twelve hours it becomes exhausting. I am not saying all of it is an act, but every once in a while I really just want to vent and say how I truly feel, "Every minute that I have been here I think about my daughter and miss her. I am not okay and don't feel like I will ever be okay again." However, tonight when I started to reach my breaking point, I accompanied a friend of mine outside for a breather. We talked for a good 40 minutes. She let me vent, talk about Rosie, talked about my blogging, and talked about God. It meant so much to me, and I was able to go back in refreshed and finish out the shift with a true smile on my face. I think some people think it hurts me to talk about Rosie, but actually it makes me feel good and makes me realize that they have not forgotten about her either. It is not a conversation people need to avoid for fear of "hurting", I already hurt no matter what the topic is. Ask me anything I will be happy to talk about her. So I really appreciated the wonderful talk I had with my friend tonight.
I know helping people is one of my callings, I just pray everyday that this experience has not made me hard to the struggles and problems of strangers. As time passes, I am sure these little things that get to me now will ease. Grieving is a process and I am along for the ride now.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Air conditioning is something that a lot of people take for granted, and heat. In my household, not by my choice, the heating and cooling system is only used in dire emergencies. During the winter the heat stays at a chilly 64 degrees, and during the summer the air stays off. Prior to Foster and I getting married, I did not have the right to argue about his stinginess because I was not paying the electric bill. He had just returned from Iraq and was used to 100+ degree days. I understood how he could be so comfortable in 90 degree heat. So when I would get too hot, I would head back to my place and enjoy the nice 71 degree environment. He and I compromised due to the fact that he enjoyed having me around and put a window air conditioner in the bedroom window so I could sleep during the day since I work third shift, and that way I would be there with him when he got home at night.
The winter months do not bother me because I usually feel hot, and even if I get cold it is easy to warm up by applying a few layers of clothing. I love to curl up under the down comforter and cuddle up to Foster in the middle of the night. The only downside to a cold house is when I need to get out from under the covers to get ready for school or work in the morning, but a hot shower is the perfect remedy. Foster loved this past winter and probably saved quite a bit of money because I was pregnant and ALWAYS hot. I think the heat was down to 62 most of the time.
Today was the last straw. I snapped. It was probably a combination of the heat, humidity, and residual hormones, but I could not take it anymore. I had to put my foot down and ask for a little pity. I was miserable. The temperature reached 92 degrees today and the humidity had to have been at a 100%. I could not get away from the heat. I am not a very pleasant person if I am hot, I am very light skinned and I don't sweat very easily.
To give you an example, when I was in basic training I was stationed in South Caroline between May 20th and July 23rd. If you think Ohio has hot summers, South Carolina is ridiculous! We were in the middle of a long road march on sandy hills and people were dropping like flies from the heat. I seemed to be doing pretty well, but my Drill Seargent, who was a fellow red head with very pale skin looked at me and said "Finneran you are not looking too good." At first, when I am hot I turn beat red, but the danger hits when I go pale again, and as I said, I do not sweat much when I am hot so my body does not do a good job at cooling itself down. My Drill Sargent sat me down and took my temperature. It was 103! He immediately made me sit down in the shade, poured cold water on the back of my neck, and gave me a canteen full of electrolyte water.
This evening I was hot, sticky, and very irritable. I bent down to unhook Rowdy's leash, and got really dizzy, I knew it had gotten to a bad point. To give Foster credit, yes I did know what I was getting myself into when I married him, but I also figured he would be reasonable and able to compromise if things were really important to me. I had been hinting to him all day about the fact that I thought it would be a good idea to turn on the AC. I whined, bitched, complained, and even asked nicely but it just seemed that he wasn't getting the point. So, I had to start raising my voice to make a point. Yes, I picked a fight. He gave me every excuse why NOT to turn on the air, the electric bill would go up, he was fine, it was not a necessity, we are saving energy. Every excuse he gave me, I came back with just as strong of an argument supporting my stand on turning ON the air, we are on a budget so it just means we will get a smaller refund (if they give us a refund at all, my theory is they are more willing to come for more money than give you a refund). I was not fine and he is not the only one in the house that matters. Even if it is not a necessity, why purposefully torture yourself if you have the means of making yourself comfortable? He told me that if the air was on, than all we would do was sit in the house and not go outside and work. I told him that BECAUSE it was so hot in the house, I don't go outside and work because there is no way for me to come in and get cooled off if I got too hot outside. I explained to him that the reason I could suck up the heat in South Carolina was because I knew that when it was time to eat and time to sleep, I was in nice cool accommodations. I told him that I hate cooking in the heat because the stove makes it hotter, I hate doing laundry in the heat because the dryer makes it hotter, and I hate cleaning in the heat because I work up a sweat sweeping the floor. Plus, I can't eat in the heat, so my cooking would be just for him and would go to waste on me. He claims we can make a little "house" in the basement and hang out down there. That would be great, but there is no kitchen, laundry, or bathroom in the basement. Needless to say, with two VERY bullheaded people, this argument looked like it would never end and neither one of us were going to win. So I came up with not one, not two, but three compromises.
My first idea was that we only turn the air on when the temperature outside reaches ninety degrees. I am usually okay in the eighties and a fan is sufficient to cool me off. We would set the temperature in the house at 75, which is higher than most people set theirs.
My second compromise was that if he still refused to turn on the air, than he could not yell at me for complaining, bitching, or crying, and he could not complain about the electricity I waste with my little window air conditioner. But, don't be surprised if I hide in the bedroom more often than usual.
The third compromise, and one I knew was totally out of the question, was to allow me to go around the house topless. He HATES it when I do this, because although I steer clear of windows, and pull the curtains when I do, he thinks the neighbors can see, so I keep my top on.
Well, he didn't like any of these ideas. Obviously #3 was a "no go", he said he would eventually say something if I complained all the time, and he did not want to put on the air even in 90 degree weather.
It is moments like these that I wish I had my daughter. Because you know, that if poor little Rosie were sweating her little baby butt off, daddy would turn the air on in a heartbeat.
My last option was going to have to be turning the AC on when he is not home in order to get some housework done, and then turn it off before he gets home and notices. I do not want to blatantly disrespect him like that or hide anything from him. I must admit, if the air condition is the biggest thing that Foster and I argue about, I consider myself blessed, because it is so small an issue in the grand scheme of things.
Although it seems like my husband sounds like an unreasonable man, this is far from the truth. The problem is he does not like to admit he is wrong in the middle of an argument. It is like he is a stubborn mule who as long as you try to move him he won't go, but as soon as you stop trying to force him he will start walking on his own. Sure enough, as I was speeding to work, because the argument lasted a little too long, he called and admitted my compromise was completely reasonable, and he totally agrees with it. He told me he was sorry, he loved me, and he was not the only person that mattered in the house. So it is official, when the temperature hits 90 degrees, we will turn on the air to 75. Here is to hoping the temp stays above 90! Happy summer guys!!
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
"When I attended the funeral of my 87 year old grandmother one of her best friends got up to say a eulogy and started saying all of these beautiful stories about my grandmother. Then she talked about something none of us knew. She mentioned that my grandmother was not afraid of death, and that she has not been afraid of dying since she was twenty years old. The reason she was not afraid of dying is because it would be the first time she would get to meet her daughter Mary for the first time.
None of us were aware that my grandmother had lost a baby girl when she was 36 weeks along. 67 years after her daughter's passing, she was still thinking about her and still missed her."
He said although he could not take this pain away, he could do everything in his power to make sure we get a healthy, happy baby. One thing he wanted to do was get an MRI of my uterus. When Dr. T performed my surgery, she noticed I had a heart shaped uterus but could not tell the severity of the situation because my uterus was all stretched out due to the pregnancy. Dr. C wanted to get an MRI of my uterus at normal size to see what he is dealing with.
I had the MRI scheduled for Friday. I was filling out the paper work when I came across the question "Is the a chance you could be pregnant?" I thought about this for a few moments. Well, I am of child bearing age, I ovulated around the 14th (I felt it), and Foster and I are an active married couple. Of course I COULD be pregnant. However, I know an MRI poses no real threat to a developing fetus like a CAT scan or even an X-ray can, because a MRI used magnets instead of radiation. So, I marked the "NO" box. I patiently waited in the reception area pondering the idea, "What if I WERE pregnant?" There would be so many mixed emotions. I would be excited, but nervous. I don't know if I would be ready emotionally, and physically, I would like to lose another twenty pounds before conceiving another baby. However, it is all up to God, and if He feels it is the right time, I will trust Him.
My name was finally called and I followed the technician back to the MRI room. I deposited my purse and keys into the locker and removed all of my jewelry. She brought me into the room and started explaining the process to me, "The first part of the test we are going to just take some images of your uterus. Then I am going to take you out for a minute, administer some contrast, and take some more images of the vessels in your uterus."
WOAH buddy! Contrast? Contrast is usually used with CAT scans, and it contain isotopes that help make the images more detailed, but most important, contain radiation that will most likely cause problems in a pregnancy. "Wait," I said, "what if I COULD be pregnant?"
"Are you, or do you think you are?"
"I don't know. I could possibly be pregnant, I am young, married, active, and ovulated a few days ago. If I am, I would only be a few days pregnant. The probability that I am pregnant is slim, but the possibility is there. I don't know what to do."
"Well," the tech responded," unless you tell me 'NO', I cannot do this test on you. Why don't you just reschedule for when your period is due, and if you have to cancel, GREAT, cause that means you are pregnant. If not, at least you have the piece of mind that you are definitely not pregnant."
"I feel so stupid," I responded, "I feel so stupid about coming all the way in here and now I have to turn around and reschedule. Maybe it is wishful thinking, but I would rather be safe than sorry." I walked back out the reception area, and rescheduled myself for July 2nd which is around the time my monthly gift should be here.
I hate how our minds can play tricks on us. When I was not trying to get pregnant, every symptom scared me, and I prayed that I would get my monthly visitor and would let out a sigh or relief when Aunt flow did come. However, now that Foster and I hope to get pregnant, every little thing makes me think I am pregnant. I have been waking up in the morning with slight nausea and light headed. I have gotten up at least three times in the middle of the night to pee for the last 3 nights. I swear my boobs grew a whole size over night, I am having issues sleeping and I like to think the slight pains in my abdomen are ones of implantation. I am praying that my famous aunt stays away on the 28th. However, everyone of these symptoms have a reasonable explanation. For one, it is soooo early if I am pregnant, how on earth can I feel symptoms already. The nausea and light headed could be a result from not sleeping well. The fact that I am not sleeping well could be a result from the cough and sore throat I am suffering from. The increased urination could be from all the water I have been drinking because my throat hurts. It could just be my mind playing tricks on me with the pains in my abdomen, and my boobs could just be getting bigger because I am 6 days from that time of the month.
I refuse to be too excited. I will not take any pregnancy tests until I am "late". I refuse to get my hopes up, because I don't want to be disappointed. I also do not know if I am ready to go through another pregnancy, because it would be so stressful, but if that is the plan, I will embrace it, and follow that path.
Although I will not tell anyone if I do get a Big Fat Positive (BFP) next week, I wear my heart on my sleeve, and I am sure everyone will know by the way I act. Why must my body tease me?!?!?
Sunday, June 20, 2010
I have noticed something interesting through my grieving process. From the very start, I avoided grieving for myself but instead grieved for the other people involved. The first couple of days everyone was worried about me and Foster, understandably, but I was worried about my poor sister Bug. I have mentioned before that she is a NICU nurse, and has to work with sick babies everyday. She had to watch her niece pass away who was completely developed enough to survive an early delivery, and watch her sister lose her daughter with no real explanation, while she watched women who don't want their babies and don't take care of themselves through their pregnancies take home healthy bundles of joy. While everyone worried about Foster and I, I think poor Bug was lost in the background. She was grieving, and had to go back to work to handle sick babies only 3 days later.
Then it was onto my mother. She has been going through so much! It all started with when my dad lost his job a little over a year ago. Two of the horse died within 2 weeks of each other. Then the dog got hit by a car, luckily survived but broke her leg. Our little pony dies, her best friend in California was found to have some form of dementia, her best friend of 30+ years, Mama JJ, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, now her first granddaughter had passed before even being born. To top it all off, HER daughter was suffering, and there was nothing she could do to take the pain away. She has definitely been going through more than any one person should in one year. I cried for her, wanting to take away her pain and give her a ray of sunshine.
My darling husband Foster, I have been grieving for him since day one. Not only did he lose his daughter, but he was unable to protect his wife from the pain and hurt. He had to witness me in pain everyday physically and emotionally. Then we went to the Pearl Jam concert that was bitter sweet. I originally bought the tickets as an early father's day gift. So when we attended, it was with heavy hearts. Now Father's Day is here, and he does not get to celebrate it with his little girl. This does not make him any less of a father, however, because he is an amazing father! It takes a special kind of dad to father an angel.
Two months ago today our beautiful Rosalynn was born with angel wings. Foster and I were sitting in church and a precious girl about her age was sitting in front of us. This month we could be expecting to see her smile on purpose for the first time. She would be developing those smooth, chubby baby rolls. She would be enjoying tummy time and lifting her head while on her belly. She would be so much more aware of her surroundings than she was a month ago. Foster would be telling her about soccer as he watched the World Cup with her. He would be proudly carrying her on his chest in her little Baby Bjorn harness while watching Grandpa, Bug and I play golf. It would have been an amazing Father's Day.
I am sure Rosie is smiling down on Foster. He has taken such good care of her mom. He has been there to make me laugh when I am sad. He has cried with me, held me in his arms as I have wept, and dealt with my hormonal emotions. He helped around the house when I was unable to do much after the surgery. He did laundry, cooked, and even vacuumed a few times. I cannot imagine going through all of this without him, and pray I never have to find out what life would be like without him.
Foster, you have been amazing, and I love you so much. You deserve this more than anyone: Happy Father's Day sweetheart!
Saturday, June 19, 2010
What is Jeopardy?
The show that since I was little my life revolved around
What is Jeopardy?
The song my sister choreographed her first dance to
What is the Jeopardy Theme Song?
That is correct!
It all started when my little sister was born. My mother was blessed with being a stay at home mom for about a year, and since we just moved to California she did not have many adult friends. I was four, and although I was speaking in full sentences by the age of 18 months, I guess it wasn't quite enough. My mother started watching Jeopardy to keep her mind sharp and feel as if she was getting a little more mental stimulation than talking with a four year old and an infant. Every day at seven p.m. my mom, Bug and I would watch Jeopardy. Thanks mom, because I'm sure it helped my IQ jump a few points also. My sister perfected her toddler Jeopardy dance. It consisted of her sitting her little but right in front of the TV and when the song started to play she would bob her head from side to side in the ear-to-shoulder movement. It became famous in our neighborhood. People would come far and wide, well, maybe from a couple blocks away, in order to watch Bug bob to Jeopardy. I wish we could have gotten it on video!
This is NOT Bug, but Obviously babies love to dance to the Jeopardy song, it is all over youtube.
When I moved out, I thought that would be the last time that my life had to revolve around this trivia game. I was wrong!
The only time I cannot talk is the thirty minutes this show is on.
What is Jeopardy?
Yeppers, Foster's favorite show is Jeopardy. Actually, it is the only show he watches religiously. I guarantee if the local channels had not gone digital, Foster and I would never have gotten cable. We had the bunny ears, and as long as he was able to watch his show, there was no need for cable. Well, THANK GOD it all went digital, because now I get to watch all of my other shows. However, no matter what I am watching, at seven o'clock I give up the remote for thirty minutes, and must remain quiet. If you know me, you know how hard it is for me to stay quiet for five minutes so thirty seems impossible!
We make it a rule that we do not eat in front of the television unless this show is on
What is Jeopardy?
That is right! Foster and I have made a pact that no matter what is going on in our lives, we will always make time to eat dinner at the table except, you guessed it, when Jeopardy is on. I try my hardest to time dinner either a half an hour before or right after Jeopardy, but sometimes it just happens to be done around seven o'clock, and in those instances, I make an exception to our dinner at the table rule.
If I call my husband when this show is on, he will not hear or remember a word I say
What is Jeopardy?
Yes, last month I learned the hard way to make sure to check the time before calling Foster. I made the mistake of calling him at 7:05pm one evening, and I noticed he was not paying attention to a word I was saying. I looked at the time and realized what I had done, "Okay, honey, I will call you back in twenty-five minutes," I said.
"Huh? What? Oh, okay, thanks honey," he responded as he was trying to listen to the TV.
So, a word to the wise, unless it is a life and death emergency, I would refrain from calling Foster or me between 1900-1930 (7-7:30). If you do, be warned, I do not take responsibility if he completely ignores what you say or just doesn't answer the phone. And for my sake, pray that Jeopardy never goes off the air, or else you may find a nice 32" TV for sale in my front yard and Time Warner will lose one more customer.
Friday, June 18, 2010
So far, these are a couple of the quotes I was thinking about putting Rosie's headstone. Let me know what you think, or if you have other suggestions, PLEASE leave me a message!
(a carving of an angel or a rose)
Rosalynn Patricia Foster
April 20, 2010
"Mommy and daddy's little angel"
"Lord, I wanted to hold my daughter on my lap and tell her about You, but since I can't can you hold her on your lap and tell her about me?"
"Too beautiful for Earth"
"Some people only dream of angels, we held one in our arms"
"A rosebud plucked too soon"
"She flew up to Heaven on the wings of angels" (from "sissy's song"...makes me cry every time i hear this song!!)
I feel so guilty waiting so long to do this, but I feel like it makes it so final, that yes indeed she is gone. Thank you all for your input.
I would say I have adjusted pretty well to the loss. I found new "favorites" even though none would compare to the TMS. I settled for items like Broccoli soup and even the Caesar salad, but all the while I pined after the TMS. I would always leave Panera feeling only half satisfied.
I tried to recreate the salad at home, but never could quite get the right combination. There was something about their creamy, fresh mozzerella, the crisp, vine ripe cherry tomatoes, and their sweet and tangy balsamic dressing that made their salad a step above the rest.
So you can imagine my excitement when I saw they were bringing the TMS back. I was ecstatic! I wanted to rush right out and get it as soon as I saw the commercial. However, I realized it was 9:30pm and Panera was closed for the night. I would have to wait until the next day to get it. It felt as if an old friend was returning to town after five years.
I approached the counter this afternoon, and smiled at the cashier, "I am soooo glad they finally answered my prayers. You are finally carrying the Tomato Mozz Salad again! I will take it!"
My excitement mounted as I drove to my sister's apartment to enjoy my salad. I opened the bag and thought they had made a mistake and I had picked up someone else's order. I saw a salad, but it did not look familiar. The salad I was expecting had about 15 pieces of mozzarella and about as many cherry tomatoes. The salad I was looking at was NOT my favorite salad. The salad I was staring at was a salad disguised as a Tomato Mozzarella Salad! It was a bed of lettuce with a handful of cucumbers, only a couple slices of tomato, and only three small pieces of fresh mozzarella. I could not understand. I thought they brought back the TMS. I wanted to cry. It was like being told you were getting a nice sports car for your birthday, and getting a station wagon instead.
Now I find myself grieving all over again. I am sure Panera has their reasons for changing their recipe. I am sure the old TMS was not entirely healthy with all of that cheese and was probably not a cost effective item. However, sometimes a company needs to spend a little more in order to make a profit. It is back to the drawing board. I am going to start with the comment cards and e-mails and insist they go back to the original TMS, and until they do, I am on STRIKE!
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Well, I was sitting there when a familiar face walked up in scrubs. I had to do a double take because I am used to seeing this same face in Army combat uniform (ACUs). "Ray" is a fellow soldier who happens to be in my National Guard Unit. He and I have hit it off as friends because not only are we in the same unit, but we also endured the torture of ROTC at Ohio State together. For those of you who are not familiar with the military jargon, ROTC is Officer training that you participate in while you are in college.
When I realized who I was looking at I was surprised and happy to see him. "Where did you come from?" Ray asked.
"I have been working here for almost 3 years, where did YOU come from?" I responded. Apparently he was recently hired while I was gone for my 6 week leave.
All of the sudden his smile dropped, and he started apologizing, "I am so sorry, I am so sorry."
To most, this would appear to be his way of showing his condolences, but what my other coworkers did not realize, is that Ray and I had had a really serious conversation the day before Rosie passed.
Sunday of my drill weekend, I was as big as a house and sitting on one of the chairs in the common room with my swollen feet elevated as high as I could get them. Ray sat down beside me, "Hey Finny," he greeted using my nickname amongst my fellow soldiers, "how are you feeling lately?"
"Pretty good," I replied, "Obviously a lot of swelling, but the baby and I are doing well, thanks."
"Will you do me a favor?" He asked, "Keep close track of your kicks and the baby's movement."
"Sure," I said, "But why the concern?"
"I just witnessed a 36 week baby pass in its mother's womb. She had noticed a decrease in movement, and when she came in they could not find the baby's heartbeat. It was heartbreaking, and it made me realize that even this far the baby is still not 'in the clear'," he explained.
"That is awful! I cannot even imagine," I exclaimed. "I don't know what I would do," I said as I rubbed my hand protectively over my belly.
Now he was apologizing for this conversation, as if he had jinxed me, "Oh hun! Don't be sorry. After our conversation, I was so attentive to all of Rosie's movements. If it had not been for your advice, I may not have realized as quickly as I did that something was wrong. Thank you." I tried to put him at ease.
"Thank you? Are you serious? Ever since I heard the news all I kept thinking about is that conversation, and have felt so bad," he said.
"Please don't. It is not your fault."
"I am so sorry for your loss," Ray said as he gave me a quick hug.
It is funny, because just like Ray, I have thought back to the talk we had many times, and kept thinking about how I never imagined that I would be going through the same pain that the mother he had mentioned is. I also wondered what I would do if I was that mother. Well, I now am that mother, and I am dealing. It is amazing how much strength God gives us, and it is true, he does not ever give us more than we can handel. This story is just another example of the ways I believe God was preparing me and warning me that something was going to happen. God sure does work in mysterious ways!
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
I am about ready to attend the wedding of a friend of mine who met her fiance on match.com thanks to me. I had just recently gotten out of a volatile relationship, and wanted to focus on myself. One tipsy night with my best friend JJ, she convinced me into creating a profile on match.com. They had just launched their now famous "buy six months, and if you don't find anyone, you get the next six months free." My question is, if you didn't find someone in that next six months, then what? Do they deem you "undatable"? For a whopping $64.99, I purchased my first six months. I figured the first six months I could date, get to know different people and figure out what I really wanted in a man. I would NOT get into a serious relationship, I would only have fun, and if by some miracle I found my "dream man", I would wait until I had officially been single for a year before jumping into a relationship with this guy. I had broken up with Brian September 2006 and refused to get into a new relationship until September 2007. I had to find myself and love myself before I could love someone else.
The second six months would be used seriously to find a "match". I would start weeding out the duds, and focusing on the studs (I know, corny). Match.com suggests you write a profile that is descriptive and honest, and have a screen name that would catch a guy's attention. Here is my profile, you judge for yourself.
I am a very outgoing and independent girl looking for a great, sweet, respectful guy. I have been in those long term relationships, I have dealt with the games, the "chase", and frankly all the bull. I am sick of meeting guys in bars and have decided to try a different route.
The one main complaint I get from guys is that I am "too" independent, and can fend for myself. But honestly, I just want a guy that will respect me, and have some fun! So, I am looking for a great guy that can handle being out with the boys when I want a girls night out, or tagging along with me and my family on a Friday night for dinner and a movie. I want someone who can make me smile, or make me laugh when I am bored.
I love my sister and best friend, so they have to like the guy. I want a guy who loves his family, and understands that no matter who comes and goes in your life, your family will always be there in the end. I would like an animal lover considering I grew up on a farm. I am a city/country girl. I have lived in LA, but then on a 90 acre farm, and now in Columbus, Ohio. You could say I am the best of two worlds. I am outgoing, and love to have fun, whether it be skiing in the winter (even though I can't do it well), horseback riding in the rain, or dancing my butt off in a club, I like to make the best of every situation, and try and keep a positive attitude. I want a guy that can make light of any situation and keep a positive attitude like me (no negative nellies as my roomie would say.) I socially drink and would like a guy who does the same. I don't like to argue, and although I am a very passionate person, I despise drama!! I have been in two long term relationships, and am trying to date and have fun, but if I find the right guy, I would settle down and try again. You know what they say, third time is a charm. Heck, it is worth a shot. :)
The first six months were a blast! I met so many different personalities and was really able to figure out what I could and could not live with for the rest of my life in a mate. The best advice my father ever gave me about dating was "If you find a trait in a person that you could not live with forever, end it right then and there. You cannot change people, they can only change themselves, so it is a waste of your time and theirs if you drag the relationship out." So that is what I would do. I would go on a date with someone, and if I found a trait that I did not like, I would not accept a second date. Here are just a few of the guys I met:
1. The brother/guy friend: He was the really sweet country boy. He was gentlemanly, laid back, and actually got along really well with my friends. He took me to a really nice seafood restaurant for our first date and pulled out all the stops. The one thing that I could not get over was his age. He was four years younger than me. I know, four years is not that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things, but at that time it mattered. Also, I had that "friend" feeling with him. I tried to have other feelings because Mr. JJ kept telling me what a great guy he was, but unfortunately he reminded me of a brother or a good friend instead of a romance opportunity. However, we did keep in contact and still talk from time to time on facebook. He is one of those guys that I am glad I met because he made me laugh, and was so sweet , and I wish him the best!
2. The pear shaped man: I have never been one to be caught up on physical appearance. I don't mind if a guy has a little cushion around the midsection, or has a few extra pounds on him. I am not even too hung up if the guy is shorter than me, but I did find one physical attribute I could never learn to live with: Hips bigger than mine. This particular guy was pear shaped like a woman. On his profile, I had only seen pictures of him from the waist up, and now I know why. Although his stomach, chest and face were well proportioned and fairly fit, his hips were bigger than mine. As I drove up to meet him, it was the first and only time I debated driving past and not stopping. However, I am too nice to do this to someone, so I stopped and we had lunch. This is actually the only time I insisted on paying for lunch because I knew there was no hope for a second date and I felt bad that he had driven an hour and a half to meet me.
3. The older man: A very attractive, 39 year old man started communicating with me and we decided to meet for lunch. He was actually really nice, but a little intimidating. Some women actively look for men with money, and he definitely had money. He was an investment banker, before the economy started to turn south and took me to a very upscale resturaunt for lunch. I was very out of my element. I would have thought that the age difference would have bothered me, but it was the money. Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with the idea of having money, or having a man who makes ALOT more than me, but I felt like he was showing off, and I like my men a little more humble.
4. The divorced, OCD pilot: I understand that pilots tend to be, actually NEED to be, a little OCD, but this particular man was over the top. Foster has some OCD tendencies, he likes to number his socks, but the pilot had a very stark, minimalistic apartment and everything had a place. If one thing was out of order he would freak out. He also folded and packed his clothes into his carry on as if he was in the military, and trust me, as someone who is in the military, no one WANTS to fold their clothes like this. He was newly divorced and he had major trust issues. I think secretly he just wanted to get back with his wife and it quickly became apparent to me that he was only looking for one thing. Needless to say, I stopped seeing him too.
5. The nerd in disguise: As I became the expert at Match.com, the only thing that really ticked me off was when someone would misrepresent themselves. I was very upfront and posted recent pictures of myself. This guy I was excited about meeting because we really hit it off through e-mail and on the phone, and he seemed really sweet. His pictures online portrayed him as an attractive guy. Imagine my surprise when I opened the door and saw what looked like a different person standing before me. As I mentioned before, I am not superficial and looks was not my first priority, but what I cannot stand is liars. If he had just posted a picture of his TRUE self, I probably would have still gone out with him, he was not that bad looking, but because he portrayed something entirely different, he didn't get a second date.
A few months into my dating experience, I was rehashing some of my stories with my friend "Joe". It peaked her interest, and after a few glasses of wine I had her convinced into signing up for one month and trying it out for herself. Joe did not need a whole year, or even a whole six months. She only needed a few short weeks to meet her future husband "Joe". Yes, they share the same name in real life too. She is slightly embarassed over the fact that they met this way, but it is more accepted today than it would have been ten years ago.
Although Joe met her mate, Match.com did not produce the perfect match for me. Sure enough, I met my future husband in a bar, but that is a story for another time.
Monday, June 14, 2010
When Foster and I joined our church, they constantly talk about ministry. There are a ton of ministries we can join in our church: choir, grounds crew, St. Vincent de Paul charity foundation, Eucharistic Minister, the list is endless. When I was pregnant with Rosie, I was sure that the ministry I would be best at was the choir since I love to sing, and was in choir for years. I was determined to join as soon as Foster finished RCIA. Well, three weeks later, we lost our daughter. Now singing is a very emotional thing for me, especially in church because every time I would sing, Rosie would flip, kick and roll, as if she were dancing to my song. Now, it saddens me to sing, because she has to enjoy the music from heaven. So I started praying for God to show me what ministry I should focus on now.
About 4 weeks ago I went to my favorite salon to get my hair done. The last time my hair stylist saw me, I was 6 months pregnant, so she was devastated when she heard our story. She was completely inspired by how strong I was and how well Foster and I were dealing with the situation. I left the salon with a beautiful new hairstyle, and a new bounce in my step. As I was leaving, another client walked in. As my stylist, Sara, talked with this woman, she started to tell the new client my story. This woman happens to be a founder of a non-profit organization that helps families who are suffering similar circumstances as Foster and I. Sara thought it was a sign from God that she walked in moments after I walked out, so she got contact information, and passed it on to me.
I called "Kami", and have been inspired. I feel as if God answered my prayers, and has shown me what my ministry is supposed to be. Kami mentioned my uniqueness also. Although they have many people on their board and involved with this group, I am unique in the fact that I have a late term loss, and according to her, I am coping better than most mommies she has worked with. She is "amazed at my strength", and feels I can help future families that will feel this pain. I explained to her, just like everyone else, that I do not feel strong, I just feel like this happened to me for a reason, and even if I will never know the reason, I am bound and determined to make a positive reason our of this experience.
For those of you who know me, you know I have been a little scatter brained through life. I have changed schools three times, changed majors about seven time, moved over 13 times in ten years, and held numerous jobs. In the past year, I have grounded myself, gotten married, moved into a house, and am 2 quarters from finishing my degree. I was researching my options for the future when all of this happened. Although nothing is set in stone yet, for the first time in a long time, I feel like I have a purpose, that I have a direction, and this path was paved by Rosie. If I can help just one mother through the pain I have endured, help one family through this journey, I will feel like Rosie's life and my pain has purpose.
I have to admit, I am a little scared. If you remember, I have mentioned how I feel the Devil is, unsuccessfully, trying to destroy Foster and I and our family. Kami said something that hit close to home. She warned me that since she started her ministry, the Devil has been very prominent. He has tried over the past 5 years to destroy her family, her faith, her ministry, and now her health. She claims that since she started this organization, her life has become more difficult because Satan hates it when people try to do God's work. However, no matter how hard Satan tries, he has been unsuccessful in ruining her goals, and God has stepped in to protect her when things have gotten too bad. I KNOW that this is what I am supposed to get involved in, and I just pray that God keeps me strong, and I do not get discouraged if life throws me obstacles in the months and years to come.
So, am I "unique"? Am I "abnormal" (in a good way)? I don't think so. I think that I am just a grieving mother trying her hardest to give meaning to her daughter's death.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
1. NO TRESPASSING: Don't ride your horse in woods and fields if you do not know the people who live there, because you could soon find yourself being chased by an armed man on a four wheeler.
2. NO SKINNY DIPPING: I learned this lesson through my sister. While horseback riding, she came across a pond on a local property. Her friend and her decided since it was hot, they would go swimming. They grounded their horses, took off all but their skivvies, and went for a dip. While they were swimming, the horses decided to take off. Bug and her friend took off full speed after their horses with only their underwear on, leaving their clothes back by the pond. A highway patrolman noticed the clothes by the pond, picked them up, and brought them to my parent's house after finding Bug's ID in her pocket. Imagine the horror that went through my mind when I opened the door to find a patrolman on the front stoop with noting but my sister's clothes in his hand. Every horror story ran through my head, I thought for sure that she had been raped and kidnapped.
About two hours later, Bug came clip clopping up the driveway on her horse with no clothes on. When they had caught the horses, the girls had gone back to the pond to collect their things and head home, only to find their clothes missing. So, they had to ride 5 miles almost naked. I have never been so relieved in my life, but all I could do was crack up. It was the funniest scene, or a scene out of a men's magazine, to see my scantily clad sister riding horseback.
3. VIDEO GAMES AND TV ARE OVERRATED: We never had to be entertained by TV or video games, because there was so much to do. Horses, hide and go seek in the dark, dogs, cats, friends, you get the idea.
4.If you throw a party, DON"T GET CAUGHT: I have thrown a few parties at my parent's house, but have not gotten caught. My sister, on the other hand, made one big mistake after one of her parties. I helped throw the party, and gave her advice on how to hide the evidence. I helped her clean up the mess the next morning, and told her to make sure to get rid of all the trash. She found a dumpster in the local town and decided to throw the trash bags in there. Unfortunately, and disgustingly, the owner of the dumpster noticed the extra trash, opened the bags, and came across some mail with my parent's name and address on them. The lady called my parents and demanded they pay the fifty dollar disposal fee since they decided to put their trash in her dumpster. Needless to say, Bug was busted, and as her punishment, she had to pay the fifty dollar dumpster fee.
5. BE CAREFUL WITH FIREWORKS AND EXPLOSIVES: New Years Eve 2008 Foster was ecstatic about setting off the fireworks at midnight. We had picked up a whole arsenal on our way back from a New York ski vacation. After everyone kissed in the new year, Foster, my dad, Ky and myself went out into the field and set up the fireworks. The first one Foster set off flew into the air and was a big beautiful pompom of color. However, when he went to set off the second one, he noticed the base of the firing tube had broken off. He thought he could solve the problem by shoving the tube into the ground. He placed a firework with two booms into the tube, and lit the fuse. The first of the two went off, but only went about ten feet in the air. When it exploded, the sparks made an umbrella that encircled Ky, my dad, Foster and me. The force of the firework knocked the tube out of the ground. Foster realized the tube was aiming right towards Ky, so kicked it. Instead of shooting into the air, the firework zoomed into the field and set something on fire. Foster sprinted out into the field to put out the fire, and in the process, tripped over the electric fence that was unnoticeable in the dark, and shocked himself.
6. ALWAYS ALWAYS DOUBLE CHECK THE TIGHTNESS OF A HORSES SADDLE: Three days before Foster deployed, we decided to go horseback riding. He had only been riding twice. I saddled up the horses, and we headed out into the fields. Foster wanted to race the horses, so he and our friend decided to race through the field. I was on my sister's schitzo horse, so I decided just to watch. They took off full speed, and as I was watching, I saw Foster slowly leaning to the right. His saddle was slowly slipping off, and there was nothing I could do about it. When he realized he was inevitably going to fall, he decided to give in, and fell off into a decent patch of grass.
I was terrified, because he could have gotten in big trouble if he hurt himself right before a deployment, and I felt completely responsible because I was the one who did not check the saddle girth one more time before heading out. Luckily, the only thing that was damaged in Foster's fall was his cell phone, and maybe a little bit of his pride.
These are just a few lessons Bug and I have learned living on a farm. Now as we are older, we enjoy our time horseback riding, lounging on the patio with cocktails, and napping on my mom's amazing leather couch.
The farm has quickly become one of Foster's favorite places to visit also. His favorite past time is hunting groundhogs. When he first visited my parent's place with me, we went target shooting, and Ky and Foster quickly built their own shooting range. Slowly but surely they started taking their passion to the fields. Rabbits and groundhogs don't stand a chance against these sharpshooters. Foster gets a rush each time he kills a groundhog, almost as if it proves he is a real man. If he is having a bad day, is stressed out, or just needs a pick-me-up, his day is fulfilled as soon as he gets his first kill.
When spending the night in paradise, we can lay out in the middle of the yard and see every star in the sky. It is amazing how clear and big the sky looks. I took it for granted for so many years, and now that I live in the city, I can't see the stars every night. When falling asleep, I leave the window open, because all of the spring peepers, crickets, frogs, owls, and raccoons make an amazing lullaby. And if the window is still open in the morning, I wake up to the musical talents of every bird in the state. It sounds like an aviary. I literally cannot sleep past 7 am because they are so loud.
I know some of you are wondering how the high risk doctor appointment went. I was referred to one of the top maternal fetal medicine doctors in Ohio, and quite possibly the US. He is the only doctor in the surrounding five states that can do a blood transfusion to a baby still in utero. To top it off, he has an amazing bed side manner. I was terrified that he would be cocky and cold because of his skills. Luckily, I was proven wrong. He is bound and determine to make sure Foster and I have happy healthy babies. In my last blog I informed you that my low risk OBGYN said she wanted us to wait until July to try and conceive again, but Dr. C told us it is no big deal to start now. He claims that since he will be my primary doctor for the next pregnancy, he will be monitoring me so closely, that the only thing we really have to worry about with a c-section is pre-term labor, and they plan on taking the next baby early anyway by c-section again. he says if we have to do weekly ultrasounds and non-stress tests and nightly phone calls to put my mind at ease, then he is willing to do it. He is most concerned about my anxiety, and will do all he can to soothe it.
I have a MRI scheduled for Thursday to check out the shape of my uterus. We were told when I had the c-section I have a bicorinated uterus, in other words, it is heart-shaped. There are different levels of this condition, and Dr. C wants to know what he is dealing with, because it could change our plan of action through the pregnancy.
Keep Foster and me and our families in your prayers, and pray that we have a healthy bundle of joy in the future!
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
We had had some issues through the pregnancy. Around week eleven I started to have some significant bleeding. I thought I might be miscarrying, but the absence of clots and cramping said otherwise. Upon further examination, I had a blood pocket between my placenta and uterus. Dr. P sent me to the high risk doctor in order to monitor the bleed, and make sure it did not get bigger and cause the placenta to completely detach, resulting in the loss of my baby. By week 22, the bleeding had completely stopped, and the pocket had resolved itself. I was relieved. I finally started to feel like I could breath easier, and started enjoying the pregnancy. Foster and I ordered baby furniture, my mother and I hung a unique wall mural, and I ordered linens and horse lamps. I was bound and determined to make the nicest horse-themed nursery ever. Rosie's room was inspired by the passing of our beloved pony Sunny. I had waited so long to buy a single baby item because although the doctor said the baby was healthy despite the bleeding, I wanted to make sure I was safely past the danger.
Dr. P is referring me to the high risk specialist, and we will get a little more information to what caused the infarct. They ruled out Pre-eclampsia at the hospital. Many people were worried that I had Pre-e because of the SEVERE swelling in my legs and feet, 3+ pitting edema in medical terms. However, with all the labs they drew on me, they ruled out any possibility that pre-e was the problem. All of the chromosomal tests came back fine, our baby Rosie was perfect. Dr. P says because of the lack of answers, she highly recommends that I be monitored by a high risk specialist through the next pregnancy. She explained that what would probably happen next time is that they would do and amnio (they put a big needle in the amniotic fluid and take a sample) around 34 weeks gestation. If the test results show the lungs are developed, they will take the baby by c-section. If the lungs are not developed enough, they would monitor me in the hospital, administer steroids, and take the baby at 35 weeks gestation. It scares me a little, but I would rather have a live baby in the NICU, where my sister can take care of it for a little bit, than have to bury another child.
We did get some good news, however. Foster and I can officially start trying again in July, and we have been given the thumbs up to start practicing again now(sorry mom and dad for too much info). Most women who just had their baby love the rule of no sex for 6 weeks. It gives them a time to sleep, and not worry about their husband's needs for a while. In my situation, however, you realize very quickly how love making is a form of comfort. When grieving, there is no better feeling than the closeness that is obtained by making love to the one person who means the world to you. (I am sorry if this is too much information for some of you, but this is my blog and I use it as an outlet, so at times it will get a little personal.)
I also got the thumbs up to go back to work, slowly. I worked my first eight hour shift last night. I look back and read my last blog and wonder what I was so anxious about. I know I work with great people, and I should not have expected anything less than sympathy, support, and smiles when I walked through the door. Some came up with tears in their eyes as they hugged me. Others voiced their condolences while explaining how much Rosie and I have inspired them. I found out there are a lot more people following this blog than I thought. This has been beneficial because it means I don't have to explain the situation to many people because they have been following along as I have taken everyone through my journey.
The pregnant coworkers are not an issue. I am actually happy for all of them. The doctor I was referring to in the last blog has popped out and is noticeably pregnant now. She is expecting a boy, and I could not be happier.
I am currently working on the desk, and have been reminded numerous times why I am not ready to go back on the floor. I have watched numerous charts come across the desk that relate to pregnancy. I get really choked up when I see women coming in with bleeding or cramping who has a positive pregnancy test. I can't help it, all I can remember is the pain and knot in my stomach that appeared when I found out I had lost my daughter, and I realize at that moment, someone is feeling the same sense of loss and pain.
Pray that my appointment with the high risk doctor goes well this Friday, and I will make sure to update you as we find out more information.
If you were to enter her home, she has a nursery full of books and toys, diapers and clothes. She has stuffed animals throughout her house. She has pictures of her child on her desk and in her purse. She has her child's birthstone on her bracelet, and her mother's day gift on her ears.
She loves her child more than anyone could imagine. She thinks of her child every moment of every day. She overflows with pride for her child. She enjoys talking about her child, sharing stories of her child, and dreaming about her child. However, she is no typical mother. She is stronger than most, for unlike other mothers, she must parent her child from a far. She must live the rest of her life here on Earth without her child, because the difference between her and most mothers, is her child lives in Heaven.
Please do not feel sorry for this woman, because it does not make her any less of a mother. She carried her child, gave birth to her child, and loves her child today. Her nursery may be empty, but her heart is full. Please do not feel uncomfortable when she talks about her child, for this makes her feel better, and keeps her child alive in her memory. Please do not be offended if she sheds a tear or two; this does not make her weak. She will smile from ear to ear the moment she arrives in heaven and is finally able to wrap her arms around her child and spend the rest of eternity with her child. Until then, do not forget the pain that this woman has endured, because she will never forget her child and hopes you never will either.
Monday, June 7, 2010
Today marks the day I return to work. For those of you who do not already know, I work as an Emergency Room Tech. This sounds like, and is, a very exciting job. I love the people I work with, and love the job I do. So why am I so nervous about returning?
Lets just say that the last seven weeks of my life have drastically changed me. Some friends and family would say that I am strong, that I seem like I am coping well. This is semi-true. I am doing everything I know to cope with the multiple losses I have endured in the past 7 weeks. I have joined support groups, set up a scholarship in Rosie's name, and am getting involved with a group dedicated to helping women going through the loss of their child. I have written blogs to express my emotions, and when I have needed to, I have cried in private. Foster expressed it this way, "Today marks the day that our lives officially start to go back to normal." I don't know if this is entirely true. I don't think my life will ever go back to "normal". My world was rocked on April 20th 2010, and highly doubt it will ever be the same again. There was my life before that date, and my life after, and that will always be the pivotal moment.
I remember one particular moment while working I will never forget. I was working on the desk, and a woman was wheeled in seven and a half months pregnant. She was having major pains and the baby seemed to be in distress. The staff was working to get her transferred to the main branch of our hospital that is more capable of dealing with OB medicine. I was so nervous for her. I found out her due date was only a week before mine. I thought and prayed for her the rest of the night. I prayed that she and her baby would be healthy and safe. This nameless patient jerked me back into reality, that that could be me. Little did I know that it WOULD be me, only when they checked my baby, she would not be in distress, she had already gone up to heaven.
Going back to work scares me for a number of reasons. When I step onto that floor, it is eight to twelve hours surrounded by people the entire time. Eight to twelve hours of not being able to nap when I want to, get away and cry if I want to, and eight to twelve hours away from my husband and the comfort of my own home. For those of you who have known me at all prior to April 20th may be confused, because this does not sound like the old Erin. The new Erin likes the comfort of her home, the feeling of safety I get from being around Foster. I feel that if anything happens, as long as he is there, I will be okay. Obviously he can't go to work with me, so I will have to go it alone. The privacy at work is non existent. Unlike my home, I can't hide away and cry when I want to. I will have to keep my emotions in check for eight to twelve hours.
I may be completely overreacting. I could just be working myself up, and I will be just fine at work tonight. Maybe it will be a great distraction, and allow me to focus on something else. However, a small part of me feels like this is abandoning my child. I feel like if I am moving on, that I will be moving away from her. Once again, I know this is ridiculous, but these are the thoughts that go through my head. There is nothing that can happen, short of a total brain injury, that will cause me to forget Rosie. Life has to move on. Life has been moving on without me for the last seven weeks, and now is the time for me to jump back in and join the world again.
I am nervous about are all the questions. Working in the medical world, everyone wants to know the how's and why's of the situation. Prior to this weekend, I think I was emotionally stable enough to deal with all of the questions. However, with the passing of Mama JJ, more wounds are wide open and my emotions are on edge once again. I also know there will be numerous questions about Mama JJ, because so many of the nurses and staff were praying for her and her family. I just pray that I can be strong and explain what happened without breaking out into tears.
The last thing I am afraid of is all the babies. We have a pregnant Doctor, two nurses who gave birth to their daughters shortly before I lost Rosie, and one woman in x-ray that not only had her baby right before mine, but was a patient with my doctor and I saw her in the office numerous times. I am not looking forward to the pregnant women that come in to be checked. A lot of them do not take care of themselves. They drink, are on drugs, and have no prenatal care. It angers me to see women put their children at risk. Some of them come in and admit they do not want their children. I am afraid I may have problems keeping my mouth shut. those of you who know me in real life, know I can have a mouth on me, and I don't always think before I speak.
I have one consolation, my coworkers. They are a diverse assortment of personalities. There are ones who make me laugh and the ones who inspire me. We all care about each other, and are like one dysfunctional family. I have grown so much over the past few years with this amazing group of people. They helped keep me positive while Foster was deployed, they prayed for my family while we have gone through numerous tragedies this year, and I am sure they will help me ease back into the world that seems so overwhelming to me right now. I am sure there will be hugs, and tears, but I am sure, there will be smiles and laughter too. Look out ER, here I come!
Sunday, June 6, 2010
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
I am sure this is a prayer that all of you have heard at one time or another. However, to some people this prayer has a lot of meaning. Alcoholics Anonymous members use this prayer with their twelve step program. When I was about 13 years old, my father recited this prayer to me. At the time, it didn't mean much to me, but over the next 15 years it would pop up at the most challenging times in my life.
Basic training was pretty easy for me. The physical aspect was a little challenging, but as the days went on, it became second nature to run three to five miles in the morning, get very little sleep at night, and see through the psychological games the drill sergeants tried to play with us. I was 26 when I joined, so I was mentally stronger than the younger members, and was completely prepared for anything the Drill Sergeants could throw my way, or so I thought.
One evening, as we were all getting ready for bed, one of the Drill Sergeants decided to do an inspection of our lockers. He opened one girl's locker and found a dirty band-aid on one of her shelves. Instead of punishing just this one soldier, he decided to make all of us pay for her mistake. The Drill Sergeant ordered us to all pack up our lockers, haul our gear down three flights of stairs, and be on the drill floor in formation in five minutes. If we were unable to do this, there would be consequences. He knew very well that it would be virtually impossible to pack up all our equipment and uniforms and be on the drill floor in five minutes. Sure enough, five minutes pass, and most of us are still packing up our lockers. I happened to be halfway out the door when he stopped us, and made us all get down and start doing push ups with all of the gear on our back. When he was done punishing us, we formed up downstairs, and he then started his stopwatch again after telling us we had seven minutes to unpack all of our gear and put it perfectly back into our lockers. If we were unable to do this, we would have to repeat the process all over again.
No one was able to put their lockers back in order, so of course we had to pack everything back up, and head back downstairs. This continued for at least five cycles. The Drill Sergeant even threatened to make us sleep outside if we were unable to follow these simple instructions in the amount of time given. This is the first time I ever got frustrated at Basic training. I was so upset, I started to cry on the fourth trip back up the stairs. It was going on eleven PM, and we got up every morning at four AM. I wanted to go to sleep, I wanted to be left alone, and at this point, I wanted to perform violent actions on the girl who left the used band-aid in her locker. Now that I look back, I understand that it was not that girl's fault. If the band-aid had not been there, the Drill Sergeant would have found some other excuse to use this form of punishment on us that night.
As I was packing up my locker in fast forward speed, crying and trying not to beat someone up, a book fell out of my duffel bag. It was the prayer book my mom had given me before I left for basic. It fell open, and the prayer that was looking up at me from the page was the Serenity Prayer. I immediately stopped crying, calmed down, and just went along for the ride. I realized at that moment, that no matter what I did, I had no control over the situation, could not change it, and must accept it. Eventually, when the Drill Sergeant tired of his entertainment for the evening, he let us all go back upstairs and go to bed.
A few months later, I was again training for the military. I was in San Antonio studying to be a medic. My bunk mate, Flea, and I made a pact at the beginning of the school cycle that we were going to help each other out. I wanted to graduate valedictorian of our class of four hundred, and she wanted to graduate with the highest physical training score. If I accomplished my goal, I would earn a medal, if she accomplished her goal, she would earn a patch and recognition of being the strongest in the company. We both were well on our way to attaining our goals until one fateful night.
Flea and I had just finished our last test in EMT training. I had gotten the highest score on the test, and she had just gotten her best score on the physical training test. We decided we wanted to go out and celebrate by shopping and eating wings and watching Ohio State football. We left the bar in plenty of time to make curfew, but our driver took a wrong turn. When we pulled up to our barracks, we had three minutes to make it to our bunks. As we bolted across the drill floor, heading to the door to our barracks, a female sergeant who hated both of us made us stop and start doing push-ups. Although our phones said we had three minutes, she decided that we were late, and needed to be made an example of. Up until this point, neither one of us had gotten in trouble. We were both known as the goody-two-shoes in the company, and this sergeant was ecstatic to ruin this reputation.
After an hour of getting "smoked", she promised us there would be more punishment to come. The problem with this, is that I would not be able to receive my medal if I had any negative activity on my record. I dreaded what would happen all week. She decided that our punishment would be that the following Saturday we would have to stay in the barracks as opposed to going off base like all the other soldiers. We would have to surrender our civilian clothes, wear our uniforms, and sign in the office every hour on the hour. We also had to sign negative counseling statements that would go into our record, and ultimately prevent me from graduating "Distinguished Honor Grad", and prevent Flea from getting the recognition she deserved, "High Female PT".
While we were carrying out our punishment, we popped in a movie titled "Mr. Brooks". The opening scene starts with this man reciting the Serenity Prayer. I was once again reminded that I had no control over the situation, and I needed to accept that. However, I did have control over how well I would do the rest of the school cycle. It was at that moment that I decided I would not allow this sergeant to get me down or destroy my goal, even if I would not get the recognition. The rest of the term, I studied hard, dealt with more harassment from this woman, and kept my spirits up. The day they announced who would be leading our class in graduation, to my surprise, they announced my name! I was confused. The negative counseling I had received should have prevented me from obtaining this title. I inquired with my platoon sergeant, and he explained that the statements for all of the people involved with that punishment had mysteriously gone missing.
The day of graduation, the female sergeant came up to me and asked, "Who did you bribe to get this honor?"
"You, sergeant. Didn't you get the check in your mailbox?" I responded with a slight smile on my face.
"Well done Finneran! You deserve it," she said as she patted my back and walked off with a grin on her face. I found out that she had done all of this to see if I would give up. She wanted to see if I would still try my hardest knowing I would not get the reward in the end. Because I heard the Serenity Prayer, I did NOT give up, and continued to try my hardest even though I thought I would not get the medal.
This weekend my family endured another tragedy. JJ's mom, Mama JJ, passed away. She has been battling with pancreatic cancer for months, and decided to give up the fight and go home to our Father. She is one of the most amazing and giving women I know. She was vibrant, always laughing and smiling, and close to Jesus. She had grace and beauty up until the very end. Mama JJ took care of everyone, and put everyone before herself. She was so too young. I have to admit that I was slowly becoming angry for the first time since losing Rosalynn. They say that a miracle happens following the death of a child, and I was praying that since my child did not have the chance to live, that God would grant Mama JJ an additional 25 years with her family and friends here on Earth. I know it is up to God to make these decisions, and miracles do not always come in the form we ask for, but I could not help but hope this prayer would be answered.
As I was walking into the church for Mama JJ's memorial service, I was asking the question "Why?" I was actually getting a bit angry. The night before I had watched Papa JJ sob and become weak with sorrow. I had watched my best friend cry and mourn the death of her mother. This did not have to happen! If God had just granted us a miracle, we would not have to say goodbye to this loving, amazing woman. I signed the guest book at the entrance of the church, and picked up the prayer card. The blessed mother Mary was on the front, and on the back was, as you guessed, the Serenity Prayer. I started to cry. As I read it, I realized there was no reason to be mad at God. I realized that no matter how much I prayed or hoped, I have no control over this situation, that it is all in God's hands. That I have to take this world as it is, and not as I would have it. I have to trust that He will make all things right, and He will bring peace to our hearts in this difficult time.
I do have control over how I proceed from here. I will be the best friend I can be for JJ. I can keep my promise to Mama JJ to help look after JJ and help her through this grief. I will be an ear to listen, a shoulder to lean on, and even a punching bag to hit if she needs it. I love JJ and her family as my own, and will do anything they need. I just pray that this is the end, that there is no more tragedy from here on out. Instead, we need some hope and a little light in this family. However, if this is not the end, I know I can't change anything, but will continue to remain strong in my faith and close to my family.
I love you Mama JJ. You will be dearly missed.
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
I am powerless over this addiction. I LOVE Foster's kisses, and want them as often as I can get them. I want them any where, any time I can get them. I was in front of my dad, and all of the sudden I find myself leaning in, making THE noise, wanting a kiss, "Honey! Your father is watching!" he exclaimed. But I didn't care who was around. Before meeting Foster, I was the poster child for anti-PDA, but now I can't help myself. Those perfect lips call me, and mine respond back with THAT noise.
Step two, I do believe there is a higher power that can restore me to sanity. Now HE just has to help me overcome this addiction. I vow to pray every night that He heals my lips and helps me find the strength to stop the "kissy noise."
At this point, I think I will jump to step seven. Don't judge, I like to do things MY way. I will humbly ask God to remove my shortcomings. I don't think I am a bad kisser, I have never had complaints, but my shortcoming is I am an annoying kisser.
Step eight, make a list of all the people I have wronged and make amends. Well, this will be a little difficult. I am not sure if I still have all of my ex boyfriend's numbers. I could call them, and apologize for all of the annoying kissing they had to put up with, but how will I make amends? I highly doubt Foster would approve of me kissing old boyfriends without the "kissy noise" in order to make amends. Maybe I could send a kissing telegram. Do they have those?
Whew! Step nine says not to make amends if it will harm someone else. So since it would hurt my husband's feelings, I guess I am in the clear of kissing my ex boyfriends. Guess I will just send those telegrams.
Step ten, when you are wrong, admit it. Well, I am sure if I don't catch myself in the act, Foster will promptly remind me, and that is when I will promptly admit my mistake, and go in for a silent kiss.
Step 12, yes, I am skipping another step, mainly because I have nothing witty to say about step eleven. Step twelve, carry this message to other addicts. This blog is my way of reaching out to other annoying kissers. If you think you have a problem, just message me and I will help you through the twelve step program. I will gladly be your sponsor and help you stay on the wagon.
Now that I have mastered the twelve (minus a few) step program, I am well on my way to being the perfect kisser! Hopefully my husband will appreciate this, and kiss me when ever and where ever I want, even if my father is watching.