Saturday, August 31, 2002

NEW on ONCOBLOG: More about preventing GYN cancers.

So, I am watching a documentary on Nostradamus, the French physician who made many predictions about the future. He describes the rise of three leaders that will cause terror. The first, many scholars believe, is Napoleon Bonaparte. The second is theorized to be Hitler. Nostradamus even called him by name, HISTER. Only one letter off. The third…the documentary, shot with Orson Wells, circa 1979, describes of a leader yet to come. A king who will come out of the east wearing a blue turban. The terror of mankind, who wages war against the west. He even names the date, 1999 and that the target in question would be destroyed by fire. The place: New York.

During the Gulf War, it was hypothesized that Saddam Hussein was the third king. I think scholars were also ruling out the Ayatollah during the whole uprising in Iran.
Now I think they’re looking at Bin Laden and Al Queda. It’s f*cking spooky how on the ball this guy was. He apparently predicted the assassinations of Lincoln and Kennedy, the French Revolution, and the Cold War. As for me, my skeptic side thinks of him as a brilliant early sociologist rather than a prophet. Plus, it’s all in the interpretation of the writings. Sort of like Shakespeare.

There are many images on the TV, since September begins tomorrow, and many are not looking forward to it this year. For me, I realize I have become a different person from a year ago. I was working on a psychiatric unit, and it took me a few months to realize that I wasn’t happy working with psychiatric patients, although my hat is off to those who find it rewarding and I respect mental health nurses as a vital part to nursing. We didn’t use IV therapy because needles and long tubing can be used by suicidal patients to harm themselves. Our patients had to not require any medical intervention on our unit. I was a new grad working in psych, so I realized I didn’t really have much medical management experience. Many colleagues reported valuable, deep relationships with their patients, something I really couldn’t accomplish in psych because many of our patients suffer from personality disorders, making it difficult to establish a functional relationship with them, because they have a tendency to manipulate those around them. I decided on oncology by talking to my then co-worker, Lucy, who was an oncology nurse for years, and told me it was still her first love, but it became difficult for her physically. But I figured it was a place of wonder, a place where I could work with patients with whom I could forge deep and meaningful relationships. So far, I have not been disappointed. Not to say that we don’t have the occasional bad seed who becomes verbally abusive or demanding or uncooperative, but for the most part, our patients rock, I am learning a lot, and I feel like I am in a better position to teach others about health education and nursing. Hence the start-up of OncoBlog.

Friday, August 30, 2002

I am very happy to report that the little boy taken in CA has been found, alive and safe and is on his way back home to his dad. Good work!

Today I got paid, so I decided to treat the Better Half to dinner at Angela's Ristorante, which is famous for their cannoli. I am so sleepy, having stayed out late last night going to the pub. We had a good time.

I feel like a jerk. Apparently, while the Better Half was walking around WYD trying to find the rest of our group, when I was in the aid station, he came across a second aid station. RUN ENTIRELY BY NURSES of all races, creeds and colors! When John told them that I was a nurse and spoke a bit of Spanish, they said, "where is she? Bring her here!" He told me he didn't want to tell me, in that he was afraid I would get up, dragging the IV pole behind me, and go to help them. He said that they had a special mass in which a Cardinal blessed them and said, "you're going to miss out on what WYD is. You won't get to see the Pope. But, you are going to help people when they are at their most vulnerable and sick. And that is your ministry as a nurse." Apparently, the Catholic Nurses Association, The Red Cross, The Red Star, The Red Cresent and the Sisters of Mercy have been setting up these aid stations since WYD in Denver, when people got sick left and right from drinking soda for dinner. They even had stickers saying, "I WAS HELPED BY AN ANGEL OF MERCY." The best part...they take volunteers, and help pay for nurses to come and help out. That would have really fulfilled me for WYD. And sheepishly I must say that I will not badmouth something that I didn't enjoy unless I explore all sides first. It certainly made WYD in Germany very appealing, thinking I could help out in that way.

Thursday, August 29, 2002

UPDATE TO ONCOBLOG featuring ovarian cancer. September is GYN cancer awareness month. Coming soon: info on cervical cancer.

Ahh, so nice working 4 days a week. Today is my day off, and I am loving it. I am deep into my fair project, and I must admit that it looks pretty good so far. I am now heating up a pizza and getting ready to eat lunch. Not much else going on, just been watching the news on this little boy who was kidnapped in California. Apparently, this little kid was taken at gunpoint from his dad's house by two men, who then beat up the dad. Apparently the kid's mom and her roommate are now missing. The CA police think that the mom may have taken the kid.

Apparently, Sharon Osborne is in the hospital. I will try to find out more about that. The media makes it sound grim. I hope not, for Ozzy and the kids' sake.

Well, my Yankee fan parents are getting nervous, as the baseball strike is getting down to crunch time. I really haven't been following much, as I am not a huge baseball fan. All I know is that Derek Jeter looks damn fine in those pinstripes.

Pizza is ready. More later.

Wednesday, August 28, 2002

This is a link to the story John Y. broke on his website. Hmm. Too bad there is no such thing as Soilent Green.

So, my theory is that we take all useless and crappy people in the world, you know, assholes like this, and former Real World castmembers, and use them for animal testing. Let the little bunnies run free, take one of those skinny bitches and jam some mascara in her eye to see if it causes a rash. I mean, it's not like they're useful human beings anyway. They're basically living off the fact that they once were on The Real World. Come on Puck, save a bunny, take one for the team. The only one I thought was even remotely useful was Pedro Zamora, the Latino cast member who brought a name and a face to AIDS. Unfortunately, Pedro is no longer with us.

Sorry if I seem crass, but I've had it with stupid people. Also, I am missing Dee Snider Radio big time. It's too cruel to just cut us off cold turkey. But anyway, back to stupid people. I wish that the phenomenon of spontaneous human combustion would occur with stupid people. Just think, you do something dumb or harmful, you're given three minutes to redeem yourself before you explode in flames. My friends in the burn unit wouldn't stop running!

Who's with me???

Monday, August 26, 2002

I have enterovirus, which is a stomach bug. The Better Half has come over to play nurse. We're watching Mystery Science Theatre 3000: The Shorts Vol. I, and the Better Half is being very silly. I am feeling a lot better, even though my doc says that it could affect my respiratory system and produce a minor cold. Yah!

Yesterday, the Better Half took me kiyacking on the James River. It was very relaxing, very peaceful. I hope to go again soon. The Better Half says we could go as late as October, before it gets way too cold.

Not much else going on.

Saturday, August 24, 2002

The Better Half and I went out on an all-day date. First we went to the Chesterfield County fair. It was fun, a primer for the State Fair. I checked out the knitting competition, and I could already feel the pressure. These works of art were incredible. I have a feeling a running theme this year will be red, white and blue, lots of flag afghans. The Better Half won me a kitty cat puppet.

In our travels today, we came across the Virginia Holocaust Museum. It is based on the personal experiences of a Luthuanian man who escaped from a ghetto with his family. The outside is very misleading, in that you think it will be a very small exhibit, but it turns out to be spread out in various rooms. After experiencing it, I believe that Nazis really did suck. In one room, there is this maniquin dressed as an S.S. guy. The Better Half and I took turns flipping him the bird, mooning him, and I pretended to knee him in the crotch (we were the only ones in the room at the time, don't worry). If you haven't yourself a favor. Its totally free and you learn so much.

We ate dinner at Kubuto, and that was the best meal we've had in a long time. We rented videos and opted to stay in for the night, since I worked 12 hours last night. We got Van Wilder (funny as hell) and When We Were Soldiers, which the Better Half is watching now. I am here.

Coming soon to my other blog, ONCOBLOG, myths and facts about GYN cancers. September is GYN Cancer Awareness Month.

Thursday, August 22, 2002

My new blog, Oncoblog, will be about cancer, nursing, and health education. I'll keep this blog to shoot the shit about my life, but I'm hoping to reach people with Oncoblog with pertinant and current health information. I've moved most of the health and nursing links there. Also, I've included on both sides my Yahoo profile, which has my email address. Please, don't email me forwards or ads, unless they are specific to nursing, health education or chronic illness. No HOT BABES NOW! emails, or else I'll report you to your URL for harrassment. Thanks!

The Better Half and I AGAIN went a couple of rounds about WYD. We don't see eye to eye. We have a hard time understand the other's viewpoint. But something came out last night that I never realized before. He asked me, frustrated, "What would you have done to make it a perfect WYD?" I'll tell you the same thing I type here:
a) During Days in The Diocese, I would have changed very little, except I would have requested and participated in a parish nursing program for most of the days there, and spend the days visiting the sick and helping with their spiritual needs.
b) In Toronto I would have either worked as part of the first aid station, or worked as a volunteer at St. Michael's Hospital. I realize I probably wouldn't have actually taken patients, but would try to interact with them as much as possible by filling water pitchers, playing games and cards, or just offering an ear. I felt I didn't do enough to serve God at WYD. I am a person who needs to do service work. Nursing is as a part of me as my highlighted blonde hair and my hazel eyes. Without it, I'd be lost, meaningless, useless. I respect people who not only talk about service work and how great it is, but also back it up by participating, volunteering, working. I once watched a documentary on Anne Frank, author of the famous diary chronicling the two years she and her family hid from the Nazis in her father's office attic. In the face of hopelessness, depression, and clausterphobia, Anne Frank wrote in her diary. She wrote, according to one historian, because as a writer, she needed to keep herself going, to find solace. I realize that I am the same way about nursing. It kept me going though September 11, even though I thought the world would come crashing down around me. Knowing I can help alleviate suffering in so many ways, both big and small, fills me with great pride. I need to do this work.

Tuesday, August 20, 2002

I am really looking forward to the State Fair this year, more so than previous years. This year, not only is UB playing a few sets, but I've decided to do something I've always wanted to do: enter the knitting competition. I'm excited...I've got a good idea of what I want to knit. I figure with UB there, I have a pretty awesome good-luck charm. Not that I really expect to win, it just feels neat to enter. I feel like I am finally at my point where something I make might appeal to others. As for now, I am keeping mum about what I am going to actually knit, as to not ruin the surprise. Hint: it will have something to do with babies. That is all I'm throwing at you.

When we were in Windsor, we had the pleasure of meeting Henry and Rosemary Schiller, a retired renaissance couple. Hank is a retired surgeon, Rosemary is an established author and humanitarian. Rosemary did beautiful works of needlepoint, and Hank's passion is woodcarving. He has practiced the craft just because, he says, he didn't want to get bored during his retirement. He showed us his woodcarvings, incredible lifelike sculptures of birds, horses, woodcarved portraits of the Pope and other friends, as well as my favorite, a pair of hands, one a large masculine hand, the other a small dainty woman's hand, with the engraved words "I love you [Rosemary]." For about an hour, Hank waxed philosophical on his craft, and encouraged us to just keep at our own hobbies in order to master them. But I have a feeling Hank has more natural talent than he lets on. If he's half the surgeon as he is a woodcarver, I'll have no objections with him in the operating room ( I don't have to worry- according to the people of Windsor, he was the best surgeon in Ontario.) I guess I've been thinking of them a lot since I got back, almost every time I pick up my knitting needles. I plan to send them pictures when I'm done, along with a note of thanks for the inspiration.

This was sent to me from Jim, the lead singer of UB, the band I mention frequently. If you can, and you're in the area, please try to make it. Two days after September 11 of last year, UB decided to go on with the show, to honor the dead, to celebrate and thank the living, and to bring comfort to those who were suffering around them. They donated their proceeds that night to the Red Cross, and raised close to $800, as I recall, which was significant, considering that the pub wasn't it's usual packed crowd. Since that time, they have always remembered, on numerous occasions, those who lost their lives that day. So without further adeux:
Members of our band, Uisce Beatha, are going to do a concert in the Commons at St. Paul's Church at 8:30 pm on September 10, 2002 on the eve of the anniversary of September 11. We are calling it "Songs of Courage & Faith," and it will be the songs we need to sing, and guess some people might like to hear and sing along with. It won't be our usual Irish American Pub Music show.
Admission is free, but St. Paul's will take up a collection for its poor and needy fund.

Jim Guy

So, if you're still pissed, sad, scared, searching for closure, as a result of that day, do yourself a favor and come.

Last night the Better Half and I took out my cousin Kristen to Outback Steakhouse for a dinner. It was pretty good.

I put a link up for the American Diabetes Association. I've taken care of so many patients who are missing fingers, toes, arms, legs from severe diabetic neuropathy. Educate yourself!

Today...another day off. Ahh.

Monday, August 19, 2002

Whadda great day. (I'm off you know, for two glorious days!) I went to breakfast, went shopping in Carytown, then bought Chessie a cat condo from PetSmart! She loves it, and is currently hanging out in it right now!

Today I went to Toys R Us in search of the Barb. I went to the Barbie section, which is easy to spot because it looks like it's been hosed down with Pepto Bismol and Barney The Dinosaur's puke. I instantly got a headache. I was Barbie bitch-slapped. There are seven hundred thousand varieties of Barbie out there. Unfortunately, they all look...the same. Same hair, same figure, same dopey smile on her face. The only thing that changes is her outfits. There was Beach Bingo Barbie, Pediatrician Barbie, N Sync Fan Barbie, McDonald's Drive Thru Window Barbie (no, I am not making this up.) and then there were $60 Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn Barbies. I wandered out of the Barbie section and came across a line of dolls known as The Bratz. The Bratz are a bit more ethnic looking, and their main catch is that they wear outragously fashionable clothing. They're a bit bigger than Barbies both in length and width, which is refreshing. I picked up the blonde one, who's name was Cloe, the same name as Marian's cat. She comes with a change of outfit, a brush and a free poster of her and her friends, Jasmine, Jade, Meygan, and Sasha. Very cool. The outfits look like stuff club kids would wear, but I think I could morph her into a knit lovin chick.

Well, pizza is here, my mouth is watering, so more later.

Saturday, August 17, 2002

In a nutshell, the saga of the Richmond Diocese continues. Wally Sullivan's an honery old fart when you piss him off. I got to hang out with him before we left for Canada. We had a small shindig with the other WYD pilgrims, and I had to come late because I was working. I came in scrubs and he noticed and asked me what I did. He gave me his trademark catchphrase, "Oh Wonderful." He's been bishop since I was a little little kid, like in first grade. I gotta give the man props because he wouldn't let teenagers come to WYD because he said they were too much liability. Everyone in our diocese had to be at least 18.

I just ordered a book online, Knits for Barbie Doll. It's a limited edition how-to knitting book featuring all sorts of dud for The Barb. I'm stoked about the idea of knitting up fabulous pint-sized garments, but the only problem is, I don't own a Barbie now. When I was a kid, I had a bunch of em, but my favorite was my Country Western Barbie. She rocked. She had a while silk jumpsuit, one piece, with black fringe, long blonde hair that went down past her ass, and the kicker was, she had her own stamp that said, naturally, "BARBIE" in cursive with a heart for the dot in the "i" as well as a button on her back that you could push and she would wink at you. She drove around in the Barbiemobile, and lived in the dreamhouse mostly, but when she got vacation time she went to her Barbie Beach Bungalow and sat beside her king sized kidney shaped Barbie Swimming Pool watching Ken perform maitenance on it. C.W. Barbie couldn't commit to a relationship, so she strung poor Codependent Ken around and got him to do stuff for her. Unfortunately, Ken met a terrible fate one afternoon when I left him outside after he carried the picnic basket for Barbie and her friends as they went on a picnic. Courtesy of my dog Skippy, he lost an arm and half his face. Good thing he was anatomically incorrect or else he would have lost a lot more. Barbie ended up sleeping with my sister's Happy Family (you know, the mom, the dad, the two kids, and the "special dress" that could make Mommy look like she got another bun in the oven) Daddy Doll. Unfortunately his wife was pregnant at the time, so she cleaned up in the divorce settlement. C.W. had to be sent away, mostly because my sister threw a major tantrum about me taking her Daddy Doll (what a brat) and my mom didn't want us to be known as That Family that Lives in That House of Ill Doll Repute. At least, that's MY version of what happened. My mom says the Barb was in the attic for umpteen years before she ended up being sold at our yard sale when I was 12. Gosh those were the good olde days.

So now I think I have to go get a new Barbie. I am off on Monday and Tuesday. That should give me plenty of time to seek out the Barb Bonanza at Toys 'R Us. I am hoping the Barbs of today will be able to live up to the standards set by her foresisters. Of course I am certain I will not be able to find one as cool as C.W., but I will try my darndest.

Dear Friends and Family Members and Regular Corner Readers, whom I also consider to be friends (even though I may have never met you),

Please, please, pretty please, read the following words very carefully. I guess I consider it something like a living will. It is inspired by a patient I have worked with for the past few weeks.

I, now being of somewhat sound mind and body, do hereby request the following should, in an unlikely and damn sucky incident that causes me to lose my capabilities-due to accident, illness, harmful intent or enormous stupidity-be done on my behalf:

Don't put me on a ventalator. Don't put any tubes down my nose in hopes to feed me. Don't put any tubes in my stomach in hopes to feed me. Don't stick needles in my arms trying to find a decent vein to start an IV. I give permission to put in a Hickman catheter in my subclavian vein, and the nurses can use that til the cows come home. For God sakes, don't let me piss or shit on myself. Don't make me wear adult pampers. Get me the best gift you can, a patient controlled analgesic pump (PCA pump- ask the nurses, they'll get one for you) filled with morphine, and every six minutes or so, hit that little button that is attached to it. Just keep hitting that button. If I stop breathing or my heart stops beating, don't stress the nurses out by demanding that my dead ass be brought back to life. Let me go Home to meet my Maker. I ask that my beloved cat Chessie be allowed to snuggle with me in the few hours left of my life. Everyone else can leave.

In the event that my wishes aren't met, in the time of my death, I will make it my point to come back and haunt each and everyone of you.
Thank you for your time.

Friday, August 16, 2002

I ended up being very lazy and staying in last night. The Better Half has gone to the beach with his parents, so I am solo for another couple of days.
Today was my first day shift in about 3 weeks. My legs are throbbing...but really I didn't think I did that much. It didn't feel like I did. I only had 4 patients. In that time, I had to turn and change one ever so often, one needed a blood transfusion, one was obese and had some difficulty getting around, and the other just needed some TLC. Nothing major.

Two different times today, my coworkers said that I seemed "more subdued than usual." Our unit secretary, Tiffany, said, "you come in, do your work and go home. I've noticed it for the last couple of times you've worked." I'm wondering if it's from the heat exhaustion from WYD still lingering. Also, there's been a lot going on since we got back, what with debriefing from WYD, all the stuff with Father John, and the fact that the Better Half hasn't been around much. I'm trying to figure it out.

Thursday, August 15, 2002

Here's a news bit from the "This Sucks...Hey Asshole, I hope you drop your soap." File. This is a real blow to the profession I am proud of and try to promote. Please know that there are protocols in place to deal with "nurses" who deliberately cause harm to their patients. They are menaces to society, and in many cases, murderers. Know that you can contact the State of Virginia Nursing board and make complaints anonymously, and they will investigate. The board is not set up to protect the nurses. They are a governing body that protects the public from abusive health care workers, and can remove or revoke licenses of nurses through public proceedings.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - The Indiana Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the convictions of a nurse who was sentenced to 360 years in prison for killing six patients with lethal injections.
The high court rejected several claims of jury mismanagement and misconduct during the 1999 trial of Orville Lynn Majors.
Majors, 41, was found guilty of six counts of murder for giving lethal injections of heart-stopping drugs to ailing patients at Vermillion County Hospital in Clinton, about 15 miles north of Terre Haute.
In December 2001, lawyers for Majors asked the state Supreme Court to grant him a new trial.
They claimed that one juror drank two beers delivered to her hotel room by a bailiff after the third day of deliberations.
But the appeals court said a full night passed after the juror drank the beers, and Majors did not claim that she or any other juror ``showed any effects related to alcohol when deliberations resumed the next morning.'' Messages seeking comment from Majors' appeals attorneys weren't returned Wednesday.

Nine hours is a very long time to sit and have people lecture to you on different issues in oncology nursing. September is GYN Cancer Awareness Month. If you're female, you're at risk with a 1 in 20 chance of being diagnosed with a cancer of the reproductive organs. These include endometrial cancer, cervical cancer, vulvar cancer, or ovarian cancer. These cancers are serious, but prevention and early treatment usually produce good results. Annual exams are a must. Visit the website of the Gynecologic Cancer Foundation, and you can take a confidential risk assessment online that can give you some information on the kind of cancers you may be at risk for.

Okay, so I was wrong. Not all teens are bad. Hey, all you prepubescent twerps out there, take a lesson from this kid. Way to go, Junior!
(This is about the kidnapping of that baby from the parking lot of a store in Texas. The mom literally turned her back for about 10 seconds when her 1 month old was snatched from the car. The baby was found yesterday unharmed and is back with her parents.)
Margarita Chavez said she never doubted that she would get her daughter back because of the efforts of officers and one courageous bystander.
The bystander, Robert Gann, a 13-year-old eighth-grader, heard Margarita Chavez’s screams as she was being dragged more than 30 feet by the kidnapper’s car. He hit the passenger side with his fist but was not able to prevent the kidnapping.
Margarita Chavez repeatedly thanked Robert for trying. “He didn’t stop her, but he did so much,” Chavez said, choking back tears as she cradled Nancy in her arms. “I praise the Lord.”
Robert said he never thought about the potential danger.
“I saw the mom cry,” he said at the news conference. “It made me feel bad — made me see my mom go through all that pain. I went to help her just like I’d help my mom.”
Robert said he had been in trouble with the law and had just come out of juvenile detention in June with “a different perspective.”
“I did things dumb enough like take cars and stuff,” he said. “I’m still on probation. Now I can stand proud.”
Salvador Chavez hugged him for several moments as the news conference ended.

Tuesday, August 13, 2002

The Better Half and I had a nice debriefing session tonight. It's not been easy for us these past few days.

But now I want to address my topic-du-jour, and this time, I want it to be for the last time. WYD.
My very wise friend Marian sent me an email today. I just re-read it, and, giving what the Better Half and I talked about, I feel one statement in particular is most relevant for me to have a sense of closure.
She writes: If I were you, I think I'd be asking myself how much the behaviors of the Church and my fellow worshippers really mattered concerning my own relationship with

I was at the Opening Ceremony in Toronto. It was mobbed. People were constantly moving, trying to get up close to the front towards the stage, in attempts to get close to the Pope. I can only describe it as a giant mosh pit without the music. The boys wanted to get closer, and mainly I was just trying to stay with them and not get trampled.
Suddenly, John said, "Hey Jenn, that girl doesn't look so good."
She was small, couldn't have been more than 15 years old. She was lying on the ground, surrounded by members of her group. She was pale, shaking, and she looked like she was in a lot of pain. At first I thought it was heat stroke. I knelt down and took her temperature. It was normal. Her pulse was fine. I noticed her group had a sign that said that they were from Lausanne, Switzerland. One of the girls in the group spoke English. She told me that this little girl had been sitting down, shielding herself with an umbrella from the sun, as everyone tromped around her. She was kicked in the head by a passerby. The person's foot had gone through the fabric of the umbrella. One of the metal rods of the umbrella had also struck her head. The translator showed me the gaping hole in the umbrella and the bent rod. The child had no blood, but a lump the size of a quarter on the side of her head. At that point, I took out an ice pack from my first aid kit. All that was going though my mind was, "potential head injury." At first the group resisted, and the little girl started to cry because she didn't want to go to the hospital and risk missing the Pope's entrance. Her friends calmed her, and David told me it was either this child stays where she was, or we call 911. I realized I couldn't let this go with just my okay. She needed better medical attention than I could give her with a ziplocked first aid kit. "Call them," I said.

All the while this was going on, people continued to step over this girl. Finally at one point, members of her group had to say, in broken English, "this girl is injured. Please, step back. Please, don't come further. Please walk around." The child ended up being lifted over a fence by John and some of the boys in the child's Swiss group, to safety of awaiting EMTs. I don't know what happened to her. One of the members in her group thanked me and said, "it is better this way. No one will step on her."

There were over 500,000 at that ceremony that day. At least 200 people were standing nearby, and at least that many had walked past this child, saw her lying on the ground, probably saw me adminstering first aid. Out of all that crowd, only one person offered assistance to me and this child. One person. I've carried the frustration of that fact for too long.

My Better Half told me tonight, "You lived the Gospel through your actions that day, and everyday that you help someone." He and Marian help me realize that as far as what really matters was that special thing between me and The Big Man Upstairs was okay. It never wasn't okay. I didn't have anything to worry about. Seeing the Pope was nice, but it did not make me whole or fulfilled. Helping that child made me feel whole and fulfilled. I am damn lucky because I get that feeling of wholeness and fulfillment on a daily basis, through my nursing. I can't control what other people do. I don't want to, because it's frustrating and pointless. I realize I can only focus on myself, and strive for that feeling.

Hey Marian...thanks. :)
Johnny, I love you too!

Today was the first of four classes I am taking on oncology nursing. It is fascinating, and totally relevant to my practice. I can go from class to work, and actually use the information I've learned. A lot of times, that doesn't happen. I found that my learning enhanced because I brought my knitting with me. At first I thought people would be offended that I knit during their lectures, but I sat in the back and one lady actually complimented the scarf. The knitting occupies one side of my brain, it keeps me from being antsy, and I catch more out of the lectures because I am listening harder.

Today the highlight had to been the lecture given by Pat Coyne, our nurse practitioner and pain management guru. Pat has worked his ass off trying to implement a decent pain management education program for the staff at MCV. His 8 hour class on the subject is now required for all nurses and most MDs at MCV to take. Pat's very very passionate about his pain management beliefs and offers some staggering facts about how much better we can make pain management. One of those ways is through patient and family education. So...I figure I'll use The Corner for good use now and tell you what I learned:
Staggering facts:
Percentage of family members of a deceased patient who believed that their loved one died in excrutiating pain: 68%
Specialities of physicians who are required to take pain management to pass their medical boards: 2- oncologists and anesthesiologists.
Percentage of nurses and doctors who cannot calculate correct and adequate opiate doses, thus prohibiting their patient's chances of adequate pain management: 70-80%
Percentage that nurses and doctors underestimate their patient's pain: 50%
Number of pharmacies in the area that do not fill perscriptions for opiates out of fear that they are targets for robbery: 2 in 5.
Number of different types or locations of pain on an average cancer patient: 3 sites

Pain can lead to:
anxiety and depression
decreased REM cycle sleep, which makes patients more tired
slower wound healing and a weaker immune system

What will a good nurse do for a patient in pain?

1) Pain scale. Nurses should review the pain scale with the patient at least once a shift (usually every 8-12 hours). The pain scale usually involves rating the pain on a 0-10 scale. 0 means no pain. 10 means the most excrutiating pain imaginable. A good nurse understands that pain is different for different people. The nurse will take the patient's pain scale rating and based on it, does an intervention.
2) Pain meds...usually the most common intervention. Opiates are used for pain in oncology. Opiates include morphine, percocet, oxycontin, vicodan. A lot of these drugs have come under fire recently because they have addictive properties. A lot of patients fear that if they use these drugs for pain, they will become addicted. The latest research states that, chances are, if you use these drugs for pain, you run a very very very low risk of becoming addicted. Most nurses who want to control pain are not concerned with addiction. They want you to have the medicine that can make you feel better.
3) Other bits of TLC...Relaxation techniques, massage, ice packs, warm compresses, distraction, and prayer have been proven effective in reducing pain.

Also, a good nurse will follow up with her patient within an hour after intervention.

So, any questions? :)

Monday, August 12, 2002

Today was my Grandmother's birthday, and the fam went out for lunch at a seafood restaurant. Good food, but I was absolutely exhausted. I ordered a glass of wine to help numb the headache I had listening to my mom and uncle go round for round about the Yankees and the Braves and the baseball strike, yadda, yadda, yadda. I went home and fell into a coma. The Better Half's parents are in town, so I went over there for a little while. They look great, but his mom's a bit under the weather. It was such a hot day for traveling, I am sure I would feel the same way.

I've felt so many emotions as of late, I want to choose my words carefully here, as not to offend anyone. Things aren't so good for me faith-wise right now. Spiritually, I think I'm in a crisis. First, I was disappointed with WYD. Now, as of yesterday, my priest, and dear friend, Father John Leonard, is the subject of a criminal investigation of some very serious sexual abuse charges. I continue to support Father Leonard as he maintains his innocence. Father Leonard helped me through a rough patch in my life. He forgave me and hugged me and told me to call him if I needed anything. Now is my opportunity to return the favor, despite the outcome of the investigation, I still consider Father Leonard my friend, and I will love him despite his sins. I continue to watch and wait with knots in my stomach in hopes that this ends in a timely manner, and everyone involved finds peace with the final decisions.

I just heard on the news that an all-day tribute is being planned for September 11. I realize that this will probably be a day of reflection, fear, anxiety for many people. My September 11th story is really unremarkable. Like millions of Americans, I watched the news unfold on TV at work. I remember being terrified. I never really wrote about September 11th before now. I got anxious, then depressed, then active again, and never seemed to find the time. I remember that I was driving to work that morning going to a dreaded day shift, and the news on the radio was uneventful—I think Bob Dole’s wife was going to run for Senate---that was the big story. When I got to work and started group therapy, I saw the Tower on fire, but I turned off the TV and did group with the male patients. Afterwards, I turned it back on, thinking that maybe the restaurant on top of the tower caught fire. I don’t know how the ideas formed in my brain as I watched something go very very wrong. I just kept seeing this plane run into the other tower. It was confusing. Then the NBC guy that works the Pentagon told the anchor that “the Pentagon just shook.” Then they cut to this smoky big building.
Lucy said, “Oh Jesus God, that’s the Pentagon.”
“No, that’s New York.” I said. But Lucy was right—right after that, "THE PENTAGON" popped up on the TV screen.
“Oh Jesus God. Nick’s in Washington!” Lucy’s eyes teared up.
I walked out of the TV room. Maybe an escape??? I passed Cathy in the hall.
“They hit the Pentagon now. This is big.” I told her.
She had just come back from taking a patient to the clinic. “Don’t say anything, don’t freak, but when I was at the clinic, someone said Williamsburg was hit.”
My stomach churned—inside, I felt trapped inside the building. Richmond had to be next…but for what??? Were these airplanes going to pull an Independence Day and hit all major cities??? In the nurse’s station, Lucy was crying on the phone to her daughter, Marion.
“Marion, when you get ahold of Daddy tell him he needs to get out of Washington now.”
I called Mom. “Are you watching the news?”
“I know. Shannon called. What’s going on?”
“I don’t know. The Pentagon’s been hit now. I gotta go. I’m watching.”
“Call me back if anything else happens.” We hung up. Security was up on the floor, I think for a patient.
”Are you guys on alert??” I asked.
The female guard said, “Yeah. We’ve got the command center set up with VCU police. Classes are cancelled. They’re starting to clear out the buildings near here, possible targets. The hospital is on external disaster protocol.”
“Be careful.” I remember telling her.
I tried to concentrate on work but I couldn’t. Karen sat down.
“There’s going to be a meeting around 12 for all the big-wigs and the charge nurses of each unit. So far, I've gathered that we’re going on external disaster. The staff go on 12 hour shifts. I think we’re under attack.”
”Maureen’s [my daughter] four blocks away from the tower.” Cathy told me.
“How are you so calm?” I asked.
“I can go crazy, but that’s a waste of effort to worry. I know there is nothing I can do.” Cathy has 8 kids. She acts like it too, nothing ever really freaks her out. I was freaking out. I thought about John’s parents in NJ.
Vanessia, our unit secretary, came up to me and handed me something. “Call John now.” A phone message from the Better Half. I went into the med room.
“Hey—what is going on?” He sounded worried. “They’re evacuating all of the federal buildings downtown. I only just saw the news. Dad’s supposed to be downtown in Manhattan today.”
“He’s okay.” I told him, wanting to believe I wasn’t lying to him.
“Yeah. I love you.” I wanted to tell him to start praying. What else was there to do?
I didn’t want to stay til 7. I wanted to just go home . I remember thinking how I'd thought I would act in a situation like this. In my mind, I’d be heroic—the perfect nurse, like that chick in Pearl Harbor. In reality I was shit scared. I just wanted to go home. I wanted to get away. I had recently thought about the Navy. How could I be in the Navy, in a war, when I couldn’t even do this?
Back in the TV room, the first tower crumbled.
“Oh God. Those fireman just went inside!!!” Lucy said.
Mary Neddo, a nurse on our sister unit, called from downstairs. “ Hey, Rob’s not getting his ECT tomorrow because the hospital’s on external disaster protocol. All scheduled operations are cancelled because they want the anesthesia teams to be on call for possible victims.”
“Isn’t this scary Mary?” We’d grown closer since her husband Bill died unexpectedly.
“You guys call if you need us.”
Karen reiterated for us the proceedings after she came back from the meeting.
We were told to expect 500, possibly more, from NY and DC. They would probably be walking wounded or anyone who could survive an ambulance ride the two hours from DC or the five hours from NY. As you remember, all of the national airspace had shut down, and no mediflights could be granted clearance. Even psychiatry would be expected to have open beds, and usually we didn't take patients who were medically unstable, because of liability issues of mixing them with potentially violent patients. Regular psych admissions would be diverted, and anyone who was appropriate for discharge would meet up with a social worker in the cafeteria, where they’d be triaged and sent wherever. We would start taking 12 hour shifts at 7 pm. Those going home at 3 could opt to stay. I didn’t opt. I suddenly didn't want to be heroic or strong. I wanted to go home and fall apart, without worrying about someone else's well-being in my fragile hands. As Darling Paul, my rock just told me, “Just take good care of your patients. That’s all you need to do.” Later he would cry as he told us about the meeting. The chaplain said a prayer. What was so incredible was that some people still hadn’t heard the news when they entered the meeting, and were wondering what was going on.
I called Mom back. “Genie’s on external disaster too.” (My aunt who works in postpartum at another area hospital)
“Yeah, but we’re the magnet hospital because we’re Level one trauma.”
“Sounds like you’re the place to be. Did you ever think you’d be a part of something like this in your career?”
“No. But Mom, I’ll tell you something. I’m fired up now, because my adrenaline’s kicked in, but this isn’t fun. Not exciting either.”
“Of course not.”
“Mom, those buildings are gone.” The news showed the second tower crumbling. It still makes me sick. The whole building crumbled down. First the radio tower, then the huge rectangle that I had climbed up myself. I owned a poster of a cartoon of New Yorkers that I had bought on the top of the observation deck. I had a picture of myself standing with New York behind me. The last time I’d seen the World Trade Center was from the window of my Amtrak sleeper on my trip home from Canada that previous June. It was controversial, but I now don’t regret giving into my fears and not flying home, instead opting for the train. It was the last time I would see the towers.

To our generation, the "Where were you when..." question is about that day. For our parents, it was the Kennedy assassination. For our grandparents, it was Pearl Harbor. For us, it's 9/11.

I guess I will chime in to the ongoing Bahead Girl debate on Scummy Guys. Yes, some are scum. Some are boils on the asses of scum. And some are less so. While others, but only a scant percent of the male population, are livable, loveable, born-to-be-hubbies and dads. Being off the market for two years has made me a bit rusty as to the current mating rituals, but I see my friends and single fam members who struggle. I watch Sex and The City, and I think I have a pretty good idea what is out there, and it makes me appreciate The Better Half even more. I figure whatever crap we're going through, it's better to try to work it out rather than call it quits, and so far we've been lucky. The only things I don't think I could forgive would be infidelity or if he poisoned a family member/ beloved pet, and so far, he's done neither.

I've noticed something in watching my Better Half, especially when he does something to piss me off. Almost all of the times he has, it wasn't deliberate. He was just bopping along, cluelessly, and suddenly, BAM! A situation occurs where suddenly, he notices I've gone quiet, or am rolling my eyes and sighing a most exasperating sigh. And he is surprised, because he didn't realize that when he was dancing in a circle with girls who were running up to him and grinding with him would offend his grilfriend of two years. Men are basic creatures. You have to s-p-e-l-l t-h-i-n-g-s o-u-t for them. I have a feeling had I just said, "please don't ride the pony with those teenage cuddle-bunnies; it will irritate me. I trust you, but one of my flaws is that I get jealous easily," in Canada, I could have probably saved myself a lot of unnecessary misery. Unfrotuately ladies, a lot of times, we don't follow through with an explanation. We're headed out the door, with the belief that this once noble prince has turned into a toad. Not to say that it's women who are the problem, and that some guys deserve to get dumped because they're assholes, but sometimes even the good guys need to be called on their actions and helped to see the light. Chances are, if they're decent, and they're into you, they won't do it again...for a while.

On that note, I have to say something about women. I know I am treading into some rough territory here, but I have to say that men aren't to blame all the time. I have noticed when women hit on my boyfriend. I don't even wanna think about it when I am not around, and he is out. I totally trust my Better Half, but some women, especially after imbibing, can be the most disrespectful. They grow claws and fangs. John once had an encounter with a woman who asked him to go home with her. He told her he had a girlfriend, to which the woman replied, "I don't care. I want to have fun." A college co-ed gave him her phone number in the supermarket, with a simple, "Call me, we'll have fun," while I was standing right there. (He did tear up the phone number.) I have no sympathy for women who date married men. To me, that's not empowering or bold, it's stupid, and demeaning to everyone. Okay. End of rant. :)

Tonight isn't too bad, yet. I have 4 patients, one of which was an admission who came at about 2AM. She proclaimed me the best nurse in the hospital. Apparently she had a rough time in the ER. The nurse I took report from sounded tired and civil enough, but not much else. I've realized that most of the time, most of the patients respond to courtesy and kindness the most, rather than excellent clinical skills. I was surprised how few nurses outside of psych really thought of themselves as people persons, with good communication and people skills. Some are, some aren't. I know that people who work hard to put me at ease with kind words or a jovial demeanor are the people I feel very comfortable with. My preceptor, Paul, in psychiatry, was like that. My preceptor, Lorraine, in oncology is like that as well, so I am lucky to have such good role models.

Today I started knitting again for the first time in a while. I was knitting a bit in Canada, mainly bracelets featuring the WYD colors of red gold and blue. Thank God for WalMart. I had wanted to knit a bit during the Papal Mass, but heat exhaustion took care of that. My favorite knitting mag, Family Circle Easy Knitting, has some very cute patterns in the Fall issue. I am so far behind on my projects I will probably alter some of them, in order to get rid of the yarn. I was supposed to make a sweater coat out of this great tweed yarn, but I will probably instead opt for a pullover. Also, there is a cute sweater vest that I can make out of some of the colored yarn I wanted to use for a multi-colored pullover, and use the rest for a scarf or something. Tonight I started making a scarf out of the teal wool yarn Cathy Wilson brought me back from Ireland. I plan to make a hat if I have any yarn left over.

I'm excited because Fall is coming. I always liked Fall. It's really pretty here. The trees turn brown yellow and red, and the air becomes crisp when the temps drop. My favorite thing to do is walk outside on a Fall morning, preferably in the city. The state fair comes in September, usually the last week, while it's still hot. By the end of October, it's chilly. I remember that the Celtic Festival and Highland Games happen the last week of October, and it was really cold. UB played outside. My alma mater has it's Annual Alumni Conference the first week of November, and this year, working in oncology, I get to go free of charge! Also, my favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. I adore Thanksgiving, because you can eat as much as you want and you don't have to stress out about buying presents. Also, Thanksgiving is a time where our fam gets together. Last year, my Grandfather made a little speech in which he described how happy he felt a few days prior, when our fam did yard work together. There were 9 people helping, he said, and he watched, and realized how lucky he was. I couldn't agree more. It's also my favorite time to travel, because it's not too hot to walk.
Well, gotta do some work around here. More later.

Sunday, August 11, 2002

It was nice spending time with the Better Half. We opted for a low-key night in, as both of us are whipped from working so much. The Better Half made pasta with sausage and marinana sauce as well as garlic bread. We got a bottle of wine from Williamsburg and we talked a bit about WYD. John said that we'd be filling out evaluations soon, and that I needed to tell them how I felt. I have less issue with the actual organization than with the pilgrims that attended the WYD. I mean, I know I have no control over other people's actions, but I have to say, probably for not the first time here, that I was not impressed with the caliber of people who attended. I know there is tons of room for improvement, but if WYD attracts that kind of audience, I don't want to be a part of it.

I know I really bashed the Better Half in my last post, so here I wanna make it up to him. I know how lucky I am. I compare myself to other girls I know who are of similar age, or in relationships, and I realize that my guy is one of the best guys I know. He always treats me with the highest amount of respect, is kind and loving and my fam thinks he could walk on water. He works so hard, and despite how hard life has been on him, he's never whined or been bitter about how life has treated him. His faith just amazes me sometimes- sometimes it's all he has in a situation. Sometimes I look at him when we're with friends, or when we're alone and I can't figure out how he landed in my life and the thought that he loves me as much as I love him just fills me with a great feeling I can't describe.
So are you sick yet?? :)

Gotta point out my friend Chris' sites. Snoopidancing is his blog, and Broken Hallelujah is his poetry site. His stuff is damn smart, funny, bittersweet and articulate.

Saturday, August 10, 2002

I'm looking forward to this evening, spending some time with my Better Half. Things have been kind of tense with us since we got back from Canada. I know it's been hard for me to understand how he had such a great time. I think it's hard for him to understand that my experience was vastly different from his. I told Marian about the Ride That Pony incident, which involved some people standing in a circle, and the object of the game was to run up to a person, most of the time it was of the opposite gender, and bump and grind them while chanting a song about riding a pony. I wasn't in a grand mood to begin with that night, so I hung back, but John, Dave and Jeff jumped in. After about 10 minutes of watching girls run up to John bumping and grinding with him, I had to walk away. I admit I was jealous and resentful because he seemed to think it was fun. I wandered away and managed to pull myself together. After 10 more minutes, it stopped. It wasn't until we got back that I told him how I felt, and he was suprised and said he was really sorry, and that he wouldn't have done it if he'd known it had bothered me. I believe him, and I know he wouldn't do something like that to deliberately hurt me.

Another incident I'm not so proud of was this time we were on the bus and he was stoked because he met people from the last WYD, and one of the girls had a button that said WAWA on it, named for the Canadian city in Ontario as well as one of my Better Half's favorite NJ based convienence stores. He offered to trade the bracelet I knitted for him for the pin. I admit it was late and I was tired and cranky and my self esteem issues were at their peak. I was also very very very pissed. When we were getting off the bus, I turned to him and asked him, "You don't like your bracelet honey?" and when he told me "Oh no, I love it!" I told him rather nastily, "Well, if you had given it to her, you wouldn't have gotten another one." To which he was totally taken aback and I realized I was being a megabitch and immediately apologized.

Needless to say, I wasn't doing much for girl power. I was in an awkward position, being the girlfriend of the troop leader, as well as the only girl in the group. It's a role I am not interested in playing again, as I felt I constantly had to keep myself in check so as not to appear as a psycho hosebeast and thus disturb the cohesion of the group, because we really needed each other and we didn't need excessive drama or tension. I think our group was really good about being respectful of each other and putting the needs of the group ahead of our own interests. I was really glad that David and Jeff got to see the Papal Mass.

I am starting to think exhaustion is getting to me. Gotta go now. Very tired.

Hey! Here's one for the "WHAT A DUMB ASS!" File.

U.S. doctor left surgery patient to visit bank

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Aug 8 (Reuters) - A Massachusetts doctor has been suspended for leaving a patient on the operating table midway through spinal surgery so he could deposit a check at his local bank, authorities said on Thursday. The state board of medicine said David Arndt, an orthopedic surgeon, posed "an immediate threat to the public health, safety and welfare" after he left the patient last month with an open incision in his back. Arndt left behind a surgeon who was not qualified to complete the surgery, according to board documents. After his 35-minute trip to the bank, Arndt returned to the operating room and finished the surgery within a few hours. The patient, who was anesthetized during the procedure to restabilize his spine, apparently did not suffer any harm from Arndt's absence and was able to recover in the intensive care unit of Mount Auburn Hospital. The board on Wednesday suspended Arndt's license to practice medicine in Massachusetts, but he will have a chance to appeal the decision. According to a board investigator, Arndt acknowledged he had "exercised remarkably horrible judgment." Arndt explained to the investigator he had been waiting for his paycheck because he had to pay some overdue bills, and had been hoping to finish the surgery before his bank closed for the day. The procedure took longer than he expected, however, and Arndt decided to make a break for the bank midway through surgery.

Arndt, a graduate of Harvard Medical School, was not available for comment on his suspension.
8/08/02 10:49 ET
Copyright 2002 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. All active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.

Tonight we had a Code Blue. It's different from the Code Blues you see on medical shows, like ER, where everything is wonderfully choreographed and the hot hunky doctor ends up saving the day. It's intense, but rather, it's more people standing around a bed monitoring and watching more than anything else. The patient usually has a tiny room, and about 12 people are trying to move about, ventilating, intubating (where they stick that tube down the throat), and sometimes defibrilating (that whole thing where someone holds the paddles [usually the hot, hunky doctor who ends up saving the day] and yelling, "CLEAR!!" then shocking the patient). The patient's nurse stays with the patient all the time, and the other floor nurses run back and forth and do things for the other patients and the nurse involved in the code. One nurse usually monitors vital signs every 2-5 minutes, and records everything that happens, and what time it happens. The code team consists of a couple of respiratory techs, who usually do the ventilating, the medical-respiratory resident, a couple of med students, and an anesthesiologist, who is usually a God send at this point in time, because he's the one who usually knows exactly what the hell is going on. The other docs main job is to form a big pow-wow and decide which ICU the patient will go. Sometimes if there aren't ICU beds, the pow-wow turns into heap big pissing contest. But we were lucky last night and the patient had her pick of ICU beds in a variety of ICUs.

I know I sound crass, but I really really hate codes.

Friday, August 09, 2002

Nothing new. Still bummed. Having a big olde One-Woman-Pity-Party.

Had an incident in Canada that really rattled me. Unfortunately, since I am feeling miserable right now, it has jarred its way back into my memory. I've kept mum about it and how much it really bothered me. We were walking in the field going to the Papal Mass when Jeff accidently stepped on another party's tarp, leaving a muddy footprint. This guy started bitching, and I offered to clean off the spot with some of my baby wipes. He pulled out a collared priest's shirt out of his knapsack, called me Miss Baby Wipes and told me he'd take my confession whenever I was ready. Then he said I'd better watch myself, and watch who I talked to.
Needless to say, being verbally threatened by a priest really was the icing on the cake for my WYD experience. Even though Jim and Judy are convinced he wasn't a priest when they heard the story, it was a pretty shitty thing to have happen.

Sometimes I wonder, like I told John Y. this morning, if my desire to help people is going to contribute to my inevitable downfall. Is it really worth it?

Ugh. I screwed up big time late in the shift. It escalated when the panicked patient called his wife saying he wasn't coming home, he would die in the hospital. He's okay now, and never was, according the doctor on-call, in any danger whatsoever because of my error. Both the wife and the son called to talk to me. They were nice enough on the phone, and they both know I take full responsibility for it. I feel terrible. I was crying at the end of the shift, and Sheryl, our unit educator, comforted me, and told me that in the scale of things, it was a pretty minor incident and if it was the worst mistake I'd ever make, I'd be in pretty good shape. I still feel majorly bummed. I filled out an incident report and handed it in to my manager. Sheryl offered to talk to our manager about it, if it became a major issue, which she believed it wouldn't.

More later...hopefully it will be okay. If not, I am wondering if ROT needs a waitress. :* )

Tonight...the pub. Unfortunately, I had to skip out before things got interesting. We talked with Jim and Judy about WYD. They went to Denver in 97. Judy ended up with heat exhaustion, like me. The Better Half walked me to my car, and told me he was sorry I had such a lousy time. He said he felt partially responsible...he said he talked it up so much that he may have made it sound misleading. I disagree. For one, he didn't force me at gunpoint to go to WYD. I went. I didn't really know what to expect, but that was par for the course. I don't blame the Better Half for anything. I am glad he was able to get so much out of it, and doesn't resent me because he missed the Papal Mass. He still plans to go to Germany in 2005. As I said before, I will support him in any way I can, but from my couch, with my cat.

Trying not to listen to coworkers around me. There's a lot of negativity recently. Morale is low. Heather, one of my coworkers tonight, is getting ready to transfer to another unit to work, and she can't wait. She really hates working here, and makes it known. It bugs me when people are negative. It brings me down. I always try to keep a positive attitude and focus on giving the best care as I can, despite the circumstances. Unfortunately, the hospitals are so short staffed right now that anywhere you go you will probably run into the same thing. It's been hard being a nurse in these times. I love the work I do. I am very proud to be a nurse, and the profession has been very good to me. I will be glad when I start working 12 hour shifts, and work less days during the week. I get to help orient Marion, a new grad, tomorrow night, then on Saturday, the Better Half and I want to go out on a date. Sunday night I work, and then I don't work on the unit again until Friday, as I have classes during the week.

Thursday, August 08, 2002

Today I got invited to breakfast by two of my coworkers, Shar and Nichelle. It was fun, we ate good food, gossiped and laughed. It's the first time I've felt a part of something at work, like the social scene. Also, I can take my Better Half to this place. He misses the diners of NJ and often gripes that we don't have decent diners down here, and I am constantly trying to prove him wrong.

Yesterday I went over the Better Half's pad to crash for a bit. As I went to get my keys when I was ready to leave, I noticed that sitting next to my keys was a small wallet-sized card that said "I love you" about twenty times on it. It was from my Better Half, to me. I keep wondering what I did to deserve someone so great.

Zzz. Falling asleep. Tonight, hang out a bit at ROT before work. Don't worry, I never drink on the nights I go to work from there. Your friends and fam are safe with me.

Tuesday, August 06, 2002

Short entry. I had a patient who needed to be intubated and sent to the ICU at change of shift. It really sucked. I felt horrible, retracing my steps trying to see if there was anything I could do to prevent it. My coworkers told me that there wasn't, and that I did good. I had 6 patients last night.

On Sunday John Y. and I went to the Big Flea Market where I found a Nurse Nancy book, a stuffed Nermal from the Garfield cartoon, and some buttons. John got some Star Wars glasses. After that we watched Drop Dead Gorgeous and then went to the train station to pick up the Better Half. I was so happy to see him. I no longer feel out of sorts, the way I do when he goes out of town. I realize how lucky I am to have someone so wonderful, someone who supports me all the way. He was amazing in Canada, despite all of the snags. He stayed with me the entire time, and went back to Windsor with me, missing the Papal mass. I was so upset, I told him, "this is supposed to be your World Youth Day, and I'm ruining it." To which he replied, "This is OUR World Youth Day. I want to spend it with you. Make sure you're okay." See, that's why I call him The Better Half.

Sunday, August 04, 2002

Okay, this may sting a bit...but please keep in mind, this is just the rantings of one person, not to be taken seriously. Please, no hate mail. I respect our differences. Let's just agree to disagree.

1) Too many teens. At one point, I was thinking they'd be hocking World Youth Day Barbie dolls. Most of the kids we met were cool enough, but I missed hanging out with grown-ups, especially when I was yearning for deep philosophical dogmatic conversations. I missed Marian, Karelle, John Y, Angela and Gratham especially at these times. The promoters of WYD were obviously catering to a younger crowd, and I felt a lot of WYD was dumbed down. I also got the impression that a lot of the kiddies weren't there by choice. I didn't need to be spoonfed Catholicism, nor did anyone have to make it fun or hip for me. I know what kind of person I want to be, and I am comfortable with my faith. You don't have to hook me in, I'm already hooked.

2) Clapping and hand motions during Mass hymns. As I said above, it was a kiddie crowd, so every friggin song was upbeat and bubble-gummy. John, Dave and Jeff were into it, so it was probably just me being an old fart, but I don't wanna go to Mass and do the Hokey-Pokey. I don't sing. I mediate on the words. The lowest point for me: a song entitled, "Our God is an Awesome God." Pass me the barf bucket, Dawson.

3) Protests. I don't care what you think about abortion, sex, etc. I felt that this was not a place to protest. This was supposed to be a gathering celebrating diversity, peace and love of your fellow man. Don't abuse it by soapboxing your issues. If the Palestinians and the Israelis can put aside their differences for 10 days in Toronto, you can too.

4) On that theme...those people who formed human chains and got mad when their precious Pope seats were walked on during the vigil for the Papal Mass. I was disgusted when groups of people stood in packs like goons and thugs and wouldn't let other people pass. The people who one day prior and then the very next day sang about love and brotherhood were very ugly and rude to their brothers and sisters as people were trying to find seats to the Papal Mass. I lost a lot of respect for a lot of pilgrims that day. I got sick and missed the Mass, but in a way, I was glad. I'd rather hang out in the hospital building with the cool hospital staff than to hang out with hypocrates. Shame on you.

5) The Chicken Dance and Ride That Pony. How old are we gang? Yeah, the Pope is pretty hip, but even he would say that he would have to draw the line at these circle dance games that cause 7-year-olds to wet their pants in excitement. But, again, John, Dave and Jeff were into it, so I guess I was being an old fart again. What bugged me the most was the fact that my boyfriend got bumped and grinded by prepubescent Britney Spears fans. I just wanted to get lost in the crowds when John came running up to me screaming, "I freaked a nun! I freaked a nun!" It's just plain wrong.

Question and Answer Session:
Did you have a good time? As you can see, some things were better than others.

What's with all the teen-bashing? I'm not a fan of adolescents. I like a select few: Brendan, Jeff, Meghan, Justin. I'm an old fart. I don't apologize. I didn't even like myself when I was an adolescent.

Did you see the Pope? Yes. On the Jumbotron. And it was wonderful. Unlike a lot of people there, I tried to be realistic. I knew I wasn't gonna get anywhere near the Pope. I found it pointless to push my way to the front. I thought it was stupid to try and I was afraid someone would get hurt in the mobs. I had to really put my foot down a couple of times and convey to the menfolk in our group that I was afraid for my safety. The guys were trying to convey a machismo so I'd calm down, but they failed miserably. Don't go to WYD thinking you'll pose with the Pope. Take a pair of binoculars, bring a small radio and consider yourself blessed and lucky.

Would you do it again? No.

Really? Yes. But the Better Half wants to go to WYD 2005 in Cologne, Germany. Chessie and I have made plans to support him...from our couch in front of CNN.

Would you recommend going to WYD to anyone? I recommend it to anyone who is interested in going. You'll meet people, get in touch with your faith and you may find out something special about yourself. Not just Catholics went. I saw Muslims in a corner of an exhibit hall facing Mecca for daily prayers. I met a group of Presbyterians from Scotland who were delighted to be a part of the festivities. I found interacting with these groups to be refreshing and fascinating.

Did you consider yourself a good pilgrim? I was the worst kind of pilgrim. I realized I am not about camping out in a field, not bathing, going to the bathroom in port-a-potties, and fighting for space with a huge mob. I would have been content to watch the entire thing on CNN with Chessie snuggled on my lap.

Did you have DEEP AND MEANINGFUL EXPERIENCES, like people said you would? Please see the section, WHAT WAS COOL. Those were my deep and meaningful experiences.

If you have any questions, send them to me. Please don't send hate mail, or tell me how much I suck because I said this or that. Entitle your email WYD Questions, and tell me whether or not you want your questions on the blog. I'll try to answer them as best I can.

World Youth Day 2002. Toronto Canada. Please keep in mind that this is ONE PERSON'S PERSPECTIVE, and doesn't reflect any on the Catholic Church or the City of Toronto. Please forgive me if I spelled your names wrong; I was never that great with English Comp.

Instead of a day-by-day, blow-by-blow account of EVERYTHING that happened, I opted for a condensed version.

1) Windsor as a whole. Father Jim took us to the Casino, and we took in a production of Songs for A New World. Sister Barb gave us pilgrim pins that had visited holy sites around the world. A couple of the parishners hosted us in a pool party. The Quennvilles took such great care of me. The Schillers took us to the art museum and to the ending place of the Underground Railroad, but I especially loved just hanging out with them and listening to their stories. The Frateax family when above and beyond in helping me get back to Windsor when I got sick. I can't describe how dear I hold these people to my hearts. I will always speak so highly of Windsor Ontario because of how great they were to us, and I never will forget their kindness.

2) Catachesis sessions. For three morning we were treated to lectures on church law and dogma, known as Catachesis sessions. I should explain that these catachesis sessions tied into the theme of WYD, which is taken from the gospel of Matthew: "You are the Light of The World, You are the salt of the Earth." Bishop George of Chicago spoke about salt. Bishop Lobo of Pakistan spoke about being the light of the world, the future of the church. Finally, Bishop Ramirez spoke about Catholicism and culture as well as our need to respect the elders of our various cultures, as his lecture fell on the Feast Day of Joaquim and Anne, Christ's grandparents.

3) Way of The Cross. The Stations of the Cross was reinacted on the streets of Toronto featuring live actors. The guy who played Jesus was amazing.

4) The Malaysians. This fun group stayed at a parish nearby to us in Windsor. They were always happy and helpful and fun to hang around with. Also, what a set of pipes! These kids could sing the hell out of anything!

5) The welcoming ceremony of Pope John Paul II. The Pope looked great, I got to see a little bit of the Popemobile, and was overcome emotionally after he blessed us. It was awesome, you could feel good vibes all over.

6) St. Nicholas Ukraninan Church and St. Michael's Cathedral. After a few days of sugar-coated Cathoicism, excursions to these beautiful architectural marvels were very refreshing. At St. Nicks, we attended a fascinating lecture on The Eastern Catholic Church and it's martyrs. At St. Mike's we saw a replica of La Pieta sculpture and attended a lovely, simple Mass.

7) Jeff. Jeff was our Canadian whom got to go with us because we had an extra spot. Jeff was such a trooper. He was the youngest of all of us. He was never cross, he never complained, and I must say he put a hell of a lot of trust in us, in that he didn't know us very well, and we didn't know where the hell we were going.

8) David. Dave was our navigator. He was good. I was glad he was along, as John had to oversee all the group, and I have the sense of direction of dirt. Dave also kept John entertained, which gave me a bit of a break. :)

9) The doctors and nurses of St. Michaels Hosptial. You guys really are gifts from God. Your patients are lucky to have you. Thanks for taking such good care of me and my friends!

10) The Better Half. I've already said this, but he was amazing. He made an incredible leader.

That's about it for now. Coming soon...WHAT WASN'T SO COOL.

Thursday, August 01, 2002

Hey there gang,
I realize I am behind with's taking longer than expected to go through my tapes. Plus, I am working a bunch of night shifts in a row, which has slowed me down. So, thanks for your patience, it will come with some time.

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