One Year

I just realized I haven't posted since January.

 
JANUARY!!!

That was THREE MONTHS AGO.

For the love, people. You all have to keep me on track!

A lot of things have happened since January.

High School baseball season started. Of course. That's why you haven't seen me and I haven't seen my husband.


And, per my last post, at the end of January, we did become the parents of our new husky, Kaia. She's not the missing-ear dog we thought we would get out of Orlando...that dog was more of a one-dog family (which, um, is definitely not us). Our new girl is a rescue from Tampa who had a pretty (and unfortunately, literally) beat-up life.

Now she has us, her bear, and her own spot on the sofa.


Heaven help you if you try to remove her from her spot on the sofa.


Or take her bear.


Seriously. This girl and her bear. It's an obsession.


I joined the local running club, my parents came to visit, my cousin spent spring break with us and Matt's parents will be here this weekend.
 
We finally saw Frozen, and now I'm the weird 33-year-old who runs to the soundtrack on her iPod.

Plus, it's still baseball season. Still.

Forever.

You know what else is still going on? My job.

I know, right? I'm still employed! I still love what I do! And because I'm still employed, I hope that means they still love me!

Tomorrow is my official one-year anniversary with Treasure Coast Hospice. I know you wouldn't think you could use the words "happy" and "hospice" in the same sentence, but that's how I am right now.

Hospice has taught me so many things. How to deal with sadness and grief and end-of-life issues, sure. It's hospice, for crying out loud. Those things are part of the obvious package.

Here's the part where I get dramatic and melancholy, just to warn you.

I've learned to appreciate my days more. Sure, I might be stressed out to the point of crying and screaming and chocolate and multiple Diet Cokes, but you know what? I was able to get out of bed this morning - on my own. I was able to dress myself this morning -on my own. Granted, scrubs and a ponytail aren't that difficult to achieve, but hey. I'll take it. I was able to think and talk and make my own decisions and order pizza for dinner. When the same-old becomes the same-old day after day, it's ok. I'll take it.

I've learned that compassion and a positive attitude and a listening ear goes a lot further with my patients than just shoving them full of another pill. By going into their homes and saying "Hey! I'm your nurse! Where are you from - since I know you're not from Florida because no one is actually from Florida!!" you set the tone of your meetings. My patients are happily surprised that I'm not there to remind them that they're dying visit after visit. I'm there to make sure they're comfortable and still be able to have a great time living out the remainder of whatever time they have left. We don't focus on dying. We focus on the present moment - something they don't think of when they hear the scary word "hospice." As our work mantra goes, we treasure life.

I've learned that my fellow nurses and co-workers are fantastic sounding boards and stress-relievers. To be 100% honest, we all have a rather weird, warped sense of humor when we're not on the clock. And even maybe when we're on the clock. Maybe. Maybe it's because I brought my weird, warped sense of humor to the job that only comes with growing up in a funeral home. Whatever the case, we can be dark and sarcastic around each other one minutes, and we can laugh and vent and cry on each other's shoulders the next. My co-workers are fabulous sources of information...we call each other daily just to run ideas and theories by each other. I'm never alone. If I have a patient who is freaking out and won't stop throwing up and I've gotten mucus all over my scrubs and I have to get the urine sample to the lab by 3:00 when they close and it's 2:45 and I'm on the other side of town, never fear. I mean, yes. Fear and trembling and speeding across town to get to the lab, sure. But at the end of the day we sit and talk and I find out that yay! I'm not the only one going through this. It's awesome.

I've learned it's ok to cry for my patients, for people I might have known this entire year or only an entire day. Sure, not to cry so much that my patient's family has to comfort me, but to cry in empathy and sadness for their loss. To acknowledge their own sadness and not just sit there filling out funeral home paperwork or staring at the charting on my computer screen. To pay tribute to a life. A person. A fellow human being. I had a family member tell me last week that it meant so much to them to see me tear up when their father died - that they knew their father had made an impact on my life in just the short time I knew him. They were grateful to know I cared.

I think I also had to go to the bathroom since I hadn't gone in 12 hours, but still.

KIDDING. Just KIDDING.

Sometimes.

I love my patients. I love to find out who they were before they became bedbound. I love when they want to tell me about their kids and grandkids, their dogs, their jobs, the places they've traveled. I love when they open up and tell me things they are scared to tell their family, but by sharing their thoughts and fears they gain the courage to make things right with their mother or daughter or son or dad. They like to know they're not just a patient in a hospital bed, that their dreams and fears and thoughts and feelings still matter.

So here's what I plan to do as I celebrate my one year with hospice.

  • Look people in the eye more often. Be an active listener. Make them know that they matter.
  • Laugh more. Give more. Realize we're not promised tomorrow, so we better make the most of each breath today.
  • Let things go. As my husband likes to remind me, "It is what it is." No matter how much energy I spend complaining and griping and wanting to pull my hair out, my circumstances are dictated by how I react to a situation. I can actually choose to be happy or upset, relaxed or stressed. Positive or negative. It is what it is!
  • Appreciate the little things that I used to find so insignificant. If I get bored with my work-sleep-work-sleep routine day in and day out, guess what? At least I have a work-sleep routine. I'm not bedbound. I don't have to have someone else talk for me. I can feed myself (Diet Coke, mostly). Some days, these are major accomplishments.
So that's that. How do you celebrate the days you've been given?

Today I love: Warm, spring-like temps with a nice ocean breeze and sitting outside while I blog. And drink Diet Coke.

I also love my niece, who I'm currently molding to become part of the next great generation of nurses.

Exam gloves on the feet? Nailed it.


January

Ok, January.

Holidays are over, traveling is over, taking care of my two nieces is over.

We're home for awhile.

Whew.

Except, well, baseball starts on Monday.

Thanks, Florida!

So while Matt is busy filling our garage up with baseball crap equipment, I'm doing what I do this time every year.

Trying to figure out how I'm going to fill my time from now until May, when I'll see my beloved again.

Except, well, for summer ball. Then fall ball. Then...

You get the idea.

Several things are happening:

1. My parents are coming to visit! The last time they were here was in 2012, because someone just had to have two adorably cute babies and my parents magically turned into SuperGrandpeople overnight and choose to use all their time driving back and forth between Missouri and Georgia. Further proving my point that the baby of the family - in this case my little sister - is always the favorite. Sick.

Just kidding. I know they love me. It's not their fault we moved seven million miles away into the depths of Florida.

So yay! They'll be here in February. Matt's parents will be here in March. I have a cousin who might also spend her spring break down here in March. No matter who comes between Monday and May, you won't see Matt at all, which everyone has been told and warned of ahead of time. But on the other hand...

2. They might get to meet a new addition to the family! We're currently in the process of adopting another husky. The Siberian Husky Rescue out of Tampa has a six-year-old girl available, and we're interested. The group takes adoptions very seriously...our references and vet check checked out, so today was our home visit. A volunteer came here to make sure our house is safe and pet-friendly.




Um, do you think there will be a problem? Bunch of lazy dogs...

We kind of have a special-needs dog home going on over here anyway. Suka has been blind with cataracts since he was six months old (unfortunately common in huskies), and Knuke is somewhat neurotic and scared of EVERYTHING. This new girl is six and is missing an ear from trying to fight off something from taking her babies...the babies, of course, got adopted quickly but not many people like an older, damaged dog. We do! We do! Plus she's already housebroken. Bonus.

If we pass the home inspection, we'll get to drive up to Orlando to meet her. I keep calling her "her" and "she" because the rescue has currently listed her name as "Precious," which will not stay with her if she becomes a part of our family.

Matt probably wants a name like Shaq or Dirt or Cleat or something. I'm thinking something more like Loki or Juneau.

3. New Year, New Me - back in October I quit CrossFit. It was my addiction of choice at the time, and if you haven't read my post about why I quit, it's probably for not what you think. And I miss it. I think about CrossFit a LOT. A LOT A LOT. But I'm getting back to what's tried and true for me - running. My first love. This girl has three marathons and four half-marathons under her belt, and it's been years since I've seriously ran. The pounds have snuck back on and it's a struggle to get 3-5 miles done.

Who am I kidding? 2-3 miles is a struggle. For shame. 


This is the face of a hard three miles this morning. We shared some ice cubes post-run.

My neighbor is an avid (and I mean avid) runner - she's in her 60's and runs multiple marathons a year - and mentioned to me that the Runners Depot here in Vero has training sessions that go on a couple times each year.

Today I signed up for the spring group - we start January 28 and train through April. I'm very excited about this. I'll get matched with people who run my own pace, we get custom workouts and create goals, nutrition coaching, running coaching...just like when I started training back in 2004 with Team in Training. I'm looking forward to seriously hitting the pavement again and getting back in shape.

4. My friend Marilyn took me to the coolest place today. I love little local gems like this.

The White Rabbit Organic Farm.

It's a family-owned farm that has a co-op of other local farmers, all organic produce and other such items.


Their store is on the honor system - you go in, find what you want, measure it out or weigh it, fill out your ticket, put your money in an envelope, and drop it in the drop box. 


I picked out some heirloom tomatoes and some local raw honey. 


It's a place my mother-in-law would love.




We also went down the road to Schacht Groves, another local, family owned place that is, obviously, local citrus groves.

Marilyn introduced me to one of the owners, who I was happy to discover is originally from Clayton, Missouri. Yay STL! She liked my Cardinals iPhone case.

I ended up getting some grapefruit, and Marilyn traded me one for some honeybells, which are apparently the equivalent of crack down here this time of year. They're pretty much deep orange oranges that taste like candy.

I'm ok with that. 


Have I mentioned how much I love Florida in the Spring? Wait. I mean January.

Same thing.

And seriously. Lots of baseball stuff in the garage. True story.


Today I love: Discovering funky local places and free samples of orange juice straight from the grove in the backyard.

AW

My Photo
Baseball coach's wife. RN. Former Midwestern girl living in southern Florida. Jesus freak. Lover of all things puppy.