Sunday, February 24, 2008


That's how many steps it is to the top of the Hancock Building. At least according to my stairmates. 94 stories. As promised, there were firemen, but I managed to make it to the top under my own steam.

The firemen, some of them, anyway, wore full gear for the climb. And if that's not challenging enough, I'm told that they will take turns carrying each other up the stairs. Show offs.

No, really, I love fire fighters. That's what it takes to make them strong enough to carry my ass out of a burning building. There were a gazillion people there and it seems like most of them climbed for Team Kari. 85 folks were on the team. Everyone knew Steve. If you came in late and want to know why we're doing this, check out Revive Hope which has a link to Kari's story on the Mid-Iowa news website.

I also got to meet a lot of great folks. Laura, for one, Steve's lovely wife, and their neighbors, Joan and MJ. Steve's sisters Karen and Nancy and his mom, Debbie. My peeps, Jenn from Loyola and Eve from Iowa Donor Network. And, let's see, Dave and his wife and kids AND, last but not least, the girls from Iowa, Kari's friends and teammates from her volleyball team who are still laughing and telling tales about Kari like she still lives down the street. It's a sure bet that when Kari told her family she wanted to be an organ donor, she had no idea of how many people would come to know her name and her story. Like ripples in a stream, her story has spread to so many people and has helped, not just the people who received her organs, but untold numbers who continue to be inspired by it. That is a legacy to be proud of.

And now some pictures:

You're going where? For how long?

WTF, Momma, WTF?

Some of the girls from Iowa

Steve, workin' the media

We did it!

I'm leaving, on a jet plane

Well, I got a late start but I’m in the air. I was on the plane to the train and had just gotten on the second train when Love Monkey called and said come home. I thought the worst at first, of course. I thought something had happened to one of the kids or my parents, but no. It turns out that there was some weather or something at the airport. So I got off train #2, got back onto train #1 and went home. It was the quickest trip to the city ever.

On the flip side, I got to see Pooter (she was sleeping when I left) and we had lunch and took a nap together, so that was nice. Got up around 5ish, checked the airport website and decided it was safe to venture out again. It turns out I had to take the train to the train to the airtrain to a security checkpoint to a shuttle bus to the plane. Sheesh. Then I had a snack.

As for airport security, everytime I go through, I wonder why people put up with this. I saw some guy, who looked like my dad, get frisked-and I mean frisky, lets-see-what-you’re-hiding-under-your-testicles frisked, right in front of me. Because he forgot to remove his belt. Fortunately for me, I left my TSA-Totally Sucks Ass shirt at home or else they’d be tasering me still.

Anyway, now that I got the conservatives all riled up and sending me emails, I totally missed pizza and beer due to the delay. Ah, well. The delay also gave my flying phobia several more hours to marinate. Seriously, I’m totally scared to fly. I’ve tried Xanax, alcohol, meditation, prayer and hypnosis. The hypnosis worked. Now, I’m only mildly terrified. Actually, it’s really only the takeoff that gets me. It’s so, unnatural, getting all that weight off the ground. Once we’re at cruising altitude I’m ok and I figure I’ll take my chances on the landing. I take my seat, say a prayer, do a little guided imagery and tell myself that it’s ok, I’ve live a good life. I’ve learned a little, loved a lot and laughed often. Then, prepared to go into the great beyond, I buckle in. The great thing about Jetblue is that the TV stays on during takeoff. I got to watch Chris Rock make fun of white people. I figured if I died, at least I’d die laughing.

Arrived at O’Hare a little before 11pm. Steve not only picked my up but let me sleep on his couch. Muchas Gracias to him and Laura for their hospitality and the comfiest couch ever.

Friday, February 22, 2008

I'm off!

Tomorrow at this time I'll be awaiting my flight to Chicago. Hopefully, I'll make it to the top, but I hear there's going to be firefighters, so maybe if my legs give out, one will carry me the rest of the way. I can dream, can't I?

I can't thank all those who donated enough. I didn't think anyone would give money, truthfully, certainly not my "imaginary" internet friends. Certainly not my wonderful niece and nephew-in-law all the way in Korea. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Check back next week for pics of the grand event.

Today I gotta get it all together in order to be at JFK on time. I think the train to JFK is actually longer than the flight itself. I could have left from Newark, but it would have meant a layover in, I think, Kuala Lumpur. I can't spend that much time in an airport, I get hives. Also, I have to make sure my travel bag is devoid of such stuff as nail clippers and unmarked containers, lest I get tasered by the TSA. (Sorry, I really love the TSA. Please don't put me on the no-fly list.)

Anyhoo, after all that train to the plane to the train to my destination, there's a promise of deep dish pizza and beer. I can't wait.

Oh, yeah...Change of Shift is up!!! Now with video!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

a whole week off

I don't even know what to do with myself. Hmmmm.

Well, not exactly, but I will be doing this:

and this:

And BTW, I can't thank all of you enough for donating to my Hustle up the Hancock. You know who you are and this week I'll even have time to thank you all individually.

Tonight was my last day at work for 7 days, oh glory be! I'm not sure when I last had 7 whole days off in a row. Also, I broke my streak in which my last day before a break means some disaster happens. Like a bunch of hemophiliacs in a glass bus crashes into a nun convention. Or something. Anyway, quiet day at work. Took care of one awefully cute lil baby and even got to rock her and feed her and possibly sing to her, real low so no one would hear. Possibly the 2nd cutest baby on the planet, but much smaller than the Pooter. Like, 75% smaller. Cute little nugget.

Anyway, I'll be spending the next few days cleaning and spending quality time with the family before I jets off to sunny Chicago. (It's sunny this time of year? Right, Steve?) And I promise to have lots of pictures to post and maybe some actual writing content when I get back. Wish me and my quadricepts luck. We're going to need it.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Thursday Reading

Change of Shift is up at Nursing Voices, a forum for nurses from around the world.

Tuesday, if you missed it, Grand Rounds was done by Amy at Diabetes Mine. As I know from experience, hosting Grand Rounds is no picnic. Great job, Amy.

If you want to read something shorter, I was inspired to write this by David Bale at Very Short Novels. Hope you like it.

Our Boy

Your room was starting to have a well-lived in look; Pictures on the wall, stuffed animals, snacks, balloons. There was a huge, shaggy blanket that your mom brought in for you but usually she wrapped it around herself, just for the comfort in it. Then, the week before Super Bowl Sunday, your favorite nurse had brought in Giant’s pennants to put up around your room, because she knew it was your favorite team. Whether you even knew if what Super Bowl, or January for that matter, was besides the point. That was the same Sunday they brought the priest in to have you confirmed.

I didn’t really know you at all, sometimes when I saw your dad in the elevator, I’d ask him, “How’s our boy doing?” and he’d give me an encouraging nod. Meanwhile, your body just became smaller and thinner, until you were just a bump under the blankets. Your parents had been hopefully waiting for you to recover. Then they made you a DNR and a different kind of waiting was started.

I came back after three days off and the significance of the empty room didn’t hit me immediately, but in the lounge I saw a bag full of blue and red Giant’s gear with a piece of tape, “for Nurse Dawn.” That’s when I knew. The room had been swept bare and there wasn’t a sign left of the Giant’s or anything else that was yours. Even your specialty air mattress bed was gone.

A few hours later, the room had a new occupant, an annoyed looking teenager getting a respiratory treatment. She had no idea that you had ever been there.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Let the fun-draising begin!!

I already made $25 bucks-donated by my awesome niece and soon to be nephew-in-law, Annie and Doug, all the way from South Korea! Thanks guys! That's like 2 whole galbi dinners and a bottle of soju.

Also, my friend Tennessee Don from Underdog put up a post about my efforts, so the pressure's on. I must climb that tower or let down every democrat in the 9th district! Thanks, Don!

Monday, February 04, 2008

I'll be Climbin' for Kari!

Somehow, someway, some time ago, I decided that I was going to Chicago this February to

  1. Meet my friend Steve

  2. Climb the Hancock Tower

Did I mention I'm going there in February. Because I've been to Chicago when it's been sunny and warm, but February? Who goes there deep inna heart of Winter. Me, of course.

Also, so as not to confuse y'all, like I confused my mom, I'll be climbing the stairs(as opposed to climbing the outside with ropes and carrabiners and such, which is waaay beyond my super powers). All 96ish stories of stairs. How bad can that be. After all, Katie Holmes ran the damn NY Marathon and was later seen sporting heels. I'm a hell of a lot tougher than Katie Holmes, I'll tell you right now. I could totally take her in a fight.

Anyhoo, I'll be in the, umm, what do they call Chicago, anyway? The Big Breezy? The Big Cheesey? Well, I'll be there February 23-25, for climbin' and all kinds of socialness, that I have to go half-way across the country to get, because my friends in NJ(The Big Stinky) can't even CALL ME! (and you know who you are, too).

But enough about me. Why am I doing it? Because of Steve, of course, the one man hurricane who started Kari's Climbers in honor of his lung donor Kari. Steve has a beautiful page all about how he came to know and meet Kari's family and friends, many of whom climb with him every year. Read all about it here and bring the tissues. Steve also writes for Revive Hope, an awesome blog with inspirational stories about how organ donation touches people's lives. If you haven't already, check it out, if only for the adorable picture of wittle Stevie.

Did I mention that this is a fundraiser? Give, give, give people. Give til it hurts. See how many seconds you can hold your breath and than give that many dollars! Than thank the deity of your choice that you have healthy, pink, shiny lungs that breath on their own without any help from oxygen and machines and such. For your added convenience, GIVE HERE. Look at my lonely, little thermometer: it's at zero. Please help it out, won't you?

Meanwhile, in anticipation of the climb, I'll be putting a StairMaster in a walk-in freezer for training purposes.

If you're in the Chi-town area and want to see TC in the huffing, wheezing flesh, email me. If you're strong enough, maybe you can carry me to the airport Monday when my legs no longer work.