Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Hello, is there anybody out there?

I haven't blogged in a while. Did you notice?

I haven't been in seclusion, like Syd, don't worry. It's just the job.

Truthfully, I've been a tad nervous to even talk about work. I learned at my last job that things like this don't stay anonymous for long.

Then, too, are my hours. I'm working 9-5(well, 8-4:30), but sometimes that translates to 8-5 or even 8-6. Plus the on-call. It's not as bad as taking call for an OPO, as in I don't have to leave my house at an ungodly hour and drive to Nowhereville Hospital. On the other hand, when my call is over, I'm still expected to show up at work at 8am, looking freshly pressed, pretty and ready to put in my 8 hours. When I get home, I act like a mom for a few hours and then put Pooter to bed. Often, I fall asleep with her. If I manage to stay awake, I have to share our (now)solo computer with the husband. Then, on the rare occassion I have the computer all to my self, I'm more likely to mindlessly surf than come up with some snarky post. Weekends, I'm doing the mom thing and/or cleaning.

We did have a tremendous Christmas-I love spending Christmas with a 4 year old. She got a new dress and gasped "Just what I always wanted!" Where does she get THAT from? Last night she watched "The Wizard of Oz" for the first time. We had already been reading the book, so she was a little familiar with the story. "When's that ole tomato going to get here?" As in "tornado". It was too cute to correct.

Work has been blessedly slow for the past few weeks. Only the newly transplanted schedule appointments on Christmas or New Year's eves, because they have no choice. Actually, on woman missed her first 2 post transplant appointments and we had to have a little talk because THAT CRAP don't fly. It's been brutal at work. We are busy enough that if I or the other post transplant coordinator are out for even a day, we get backed up. I was sick 2 weeks ago and then took off one day to go to Pooter's Christmas party at school and I'm still catching up. Then we had 2 patients die right before Christmas. It's been stressful all around. I'd have dozens of things to post about, but I fear I'll be canned if I write about any of it, so there you go.

Suffice it to say, we are building our program. That means everyone is working their fool heads off. The Pre transplant side has been working REALLY long hours, cleaning up the waiting list, bringing in new and re-evals and generally expanding our waiting list. This means that in a year or two, we are going to be hopping. We've already seen the results in post-a lot of people who were status 7 were reevaluated and made active and then got immediately transplanted. Sept and Oct were busy, busy. These folks are just coming up on their 90 day mark and most are doing great.

Anyhoo, if I can figure out where this blog is going, I'll post more. God knows, I need to vent, but that's not possible, again I'm afraid of being "outed" at work. Ah, well.

Happy New Year.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Friday, September 11, 2009

post script

I just finished "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." Ebert didn't like it, and I hold much stock in Ebert. Movies are watched or not watched, good money is spent or not spent, in my household, based on what Ebert has to say about a movie. But in this case, Ebert is wrong. Well, maybe not wrong. I don't think anything he said about the movie wasn't true. I think, probably, the movie offended him. Offended his sense of what is right and true and that's not either wrong or right. In any case, I thought it was grand. Of course, I cried like a baby for the last half hour. I'm not ashamed. That was because of me, not the movie. When Julia Ormond starts reading the post cards from the father she never knew, well, I was a mess, mostly because it reminded me of a valentine's I once received that was 36 years in the making, but that's a story for another day.

Anyway, what struck me most of all, was how common Benjamin was. The whole movie he works as a laborer (well, not at either end, but in the middle). He's just anybody. No one will remember him, he didn't do anything great and yet, the movie is a tale of greatness. It's not the story of an extraordinary man, it's the story of how all of us can have an extraordinary life, even those who seem quite common. To get even trippier, how would you know that many people don't age backward. No matter how many people we have in our lives, there are hundreds or thousands who pass through our lives for no more than a few seconds. If you were to pick out Benjamin at any one moment in time, he would appear quite ordinary, maybe even forgettable (OK, it's Brad Pitt, maybe not so forgettable). I'm not seriously proposing that people age backwards and end up as babies. My point is that the guy who parks your car, or mops the bathroom where you work may have the most amazing story. That's my point.

Another amazing movie I recently watched was Everything is Illuminated. I can't even tell you what it's about. It's about a Jewish guy who goes searching for his roots in the Ukraine. It's about the crazy absurd Ukrainian family that acts as his tour guide/translator. To say it's a Jewish movie is like saying Torch Song Trilogy is a Gay movie. Suffice it to say, Liev Schreiber does the most amazing direction his first time out. I can't believe I didn't hear of this movie earlier. Check out Gogol Bordello, too. Eugene Hutz plays the part of the narrator/tour guide in the movie and the band does some of the soundtrack, which you can check out on the new playlist over here-->

So, there you have it. Enough blogging for one month. I'm off to read reddit.

Nothing ominous here.....

Ominous. I think I spelled that right. In fact, I've just been working, taking care of the family and trying to get 5 or 6 hours of sleep a night. Here's an example of my time shortage. I started watching "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" on Sunday night. It's Friday morning and I still haven't seen the end of it. When I do get on the innernets, I tend to find mindless stuff like this to take up my time:

"It's a Lie!"

Oh, those crazy Republicans! When they're not creating hideous monsters, they're busy disrupting our President with their rude shenanigans. BTW, hope you didn't go to school this week, if you did, you might have heard our President tell you to buckle down, work hard and stay in school. If Nancy Reagan had said it, a thousand comedians would make jokes about it. If our first black President says it, well, you might as well move to Cuba cuz we're all Communists now.

So, that's part of the reason I'm not blogging. Too much of what I want to write about is political and I don't think this is the place for it. I don't want folks to think that you have to be liberal to donate you organs or some such. I didn't think people were that stupid, but then I started watching these town hall meetings and my respect for my fellow Americans dropped into the cellar. I mean, I understand if people are acting like that in Bumble Hills, Arkansas (no offense), but in New Jersey! I can't believe that the people I live with, work with and curse at in traffic would heckle a woman in a wheel chair.

That being said, I LOVE Medicare. I LERV it, even. I had no idea, working on the floor or in the ER, how mindlessly irritating, utterly idiotic and possibly dangerous insurance companies can be. That was before I spent half my life getting prior auth's on meds that MY PATIENTS CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT. Not tomorrow, not next month, not EVAH. And yet, once a year I must continue to justify their use to a beaurocrat. Medicaid, on the other hand, can kiss my ass. I was on medicaid, for a few years when I was young and poor. Medicaid doesn't get you anything except a doctor's scorn. And don't think that the new Medicaid HMO's are any better. You still can't find a doctor that takes it and then they wonder why you show up in the ER at 2am with an earache. Recently, NJ wanted to make medicaid recipients pay copays. Because when you make $11,000 a year, what's $5? Nothing, except maybe a Happy Meal for your kid. But I digress.

So, I've been thinking of starting another blog, but I just haven't had the time. Work is sucking me dry and not in a good way, for those of you with dirty minds. It's not the work, per say, but the office politics. The old boss had run the program into the ground and then lo-and-behold CMS came and everybody had to sit up straight and look smart. Finally, management could no longer deny that everything wasn't happy scrappy. Then came regime change. Tears were shed, heads rolled and now we have a new boss. Who I actually like. Lord knows, she's making changes and I have yet to see a work place respond well to new changes, no matter how much they're needed. I've also been laying low because this blog would NOT be tolerated if it was found out and as I found out at the OPO, it's easily found out. So, I've just been keeping my head down and doing my job and trying to fly under the radar. Then I come home, play with Pooter, eat dinner, yell at the teenager, walk the dog (when I remember, honey) and fall asleep by 9. Until the occassional night when, after a 5 hour nap, I awake at 2am and surf the internet for a while.

So, imaginary internet friends, there you have it. My life or something like it. And now, I'm going to finish "Benjamin Button."

But first, I share with you this:

Monday, June 29, 2009

Tonight I put a ninja to bed

I'm Mulan! Aiyah!

No, it's not a euphamism. Lil Poot has been giving us a hell of a time going to bed lately. She's learned to play us like a xylophone, but I'm on to her tricks. And so we have the 5 stages of bedtime:

Denial: No, it's not bedtime. It's still morning time. (that means it's daylight out)
Bargaining: One more minute.
Anger: No! I don't WANT to brush my teeth!
Depression, actually Despair: "Waaaaahhhhh!!!!!" (Imagine crying with a doppler effect as I walk with said kid under arm down the hall)
Exhaustion: But I'm not sleepzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.....

So, back to Ninja Kid. The Poot has the most amazing imagination I've ever encountered. It's not just active, it's actually elastic and pliable and can stretch around corners and into crevices.

True story:On Mother's Day the Sunday school people had the kids make little plastic stained-glass thingies for the kids to paint. I come to pick Poot up and she's crying her eyes out and I can't really get at what's bothering her. I think she's telling me that she didn't get to make one and now they don't have any left and she's upset. Except that, while I'm sitting in the hallway of church trying to console her, another mom, who's in the hallway also with a crying kid, says, "I know she made one." And then, "Hey, what's her name?"

Little side note: We just discovered Monsters, Inc. Of course, we have to act out EVERY part. "You be Sully and I'll be Boo." "You be Mike and I'll be Sully." "You be Smoochy Poo and I'll be Mike." Ad infinitum. Except that she got bored being the good guys and started pretending to be Randall, the scary monster and so we became accustomed to her flinging herself at us and growling and we'd have to act scared and she'd be screaming, "I'm RAndall! I'm RAndall!"

See where this is going?

When I dropped her off in Sunday school, she told everyone her name was RAndall. And the person who took her craft and wrote her name on it, wrote Randall. Mystery solved, I found my Mommy gift and the waterworks were shut down.

So tonight, on the 3 attempt to get her into bed, she wangled into her red Ninja costume and brandished her sword at me. Fortunately I pulled some fast Tommy Wu moves, disarmed her and carried her off to bed. Sad to see a ninja cry, really. Finally, I put her into her little bed that we've been transitioning to. Got the pillow just so, put a pad under her(still toilet training), pulled the covers up and kissed her. I climbed into my bed. A few minutes later, from the dark, I hear, "But Mama, I miiiiiisssss youuuuuu." How can you even be mad at such cuteness. She's a scamp and a rascal and I love her to pieces.

Quote of the day is from an old post on Revive Hope, from a young man named Nate who became an organ donor:

"A little girl hugged me today. I think maybe I’m on the right path. I’m not sure if I like where the path might lead, but it is a really nice path. Is it possible that we, as a culture, focus too much on the light at the end of the tunnel, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Isn’t it enough to realize you’re standing on a goddamn rainbow."

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Zen and the Art of Teenager Maintenance

(with apologies to Robert M. Pirsig)


Teen daughter calls me not too long ago.

"I got a new piercing!" She says.

"Where?" I ask, more than a little afraid of the answer.

"I got an 'Industrial.'" She says, skirting the answer.

I sigh. "WHAT part of your body is that in?"

"My ear." I sigh again, this time with relief. "Your ear is fine. Be home before midnight."

Seventeen years ago I thought that parenting just entailed a good manual and a lot of love. My older sister gave me her copy of "Your Baby and Child: from birth to age 5" by Penelope Leach. I figured I was set. And believe me, Penelope didn't steer me wrong. It's just that over the years circumstances came up that weren't easily solved by a book. What to do when your choice is between working nights or working a day job but taking a $15,000 a year pay cut? And how do you find a baby sitter when you're working the overnight shift, anyway? How do you date with a small child? And most important: how to explain to small child why the guy she calls "Daddy" isn't really available when she needs him most.

I'm sure someone, somewhere has covered these problems in a book, but that's not really the point. The point is that no matter how prepared you think you are, mistakes are going to be made, stuff's going to happen. I look back on my 20's and wonder how someone (me) could be so clueless and still be entrusted with the care of a child. I compare with how I'm raising a child in my 40's. I have more patience, less energy. I can stick to a routine better. I certainly have more money, although outside of dire poverty or extravagant wealth, children don't really notice, I think.

I had a coworker once tell me that she wasn't going to breastfeed her second child because she couldn't breastfeed the first and she didn't want to give one an advantage the other didn't get. As bizarre as I found her reasoning, I can empathize. I worry that teen daughter will be scarred for life if the toddler has something she didn't have: listening to classical music, trips to the Met, an appreciation of sushi at an early age. I don't know what all, just that Mommy Guilt is alive and well and a terrible thing. Coupled with it is the strong suspicion that anything bad she does is the result of the time I came to pick her up from daycare late. She was the last kid there and every emergency contact had already been called and my daughter cried when anyone was late picking her up ever again.

This past year, said daughter(now the teen with the piercings) worked on an independent project for school. On her own she found a mentor, kept a journal, worked for a year on her chosen subject and then presented her project to a group of invited friends and relatives. She even made her own programs for the presentation. Her subject-Fiber Arts-spinning, weaving, knitting and felting. Her mentor owns a Saori weaving business on the Upper East Side. Saori embodies the principles of Zen, there are no teachers, only practitioners. Every Saturday, she ventured forth to the Isle of Manhattan and learned how to set up and work a loom. In exchange for free lessons, she helped around the shop, including helping the students who came in for lessons. One Saturday, I came in to film her on the loom for her presentation. Yukako, her mentor told me how helpful she was, how good she was at spinning and weaving. Jen even had a piece she made exhibited at an art show. It was amazing to hear someone else describe my daughter to me. I know she's helpful and kind and talented, but too often that gets lost in the worry that my teenager is too obnoxious, too moody, too unmotivated. I worry that her inability to keep her room clean with translate into a later inability to find and keep gainful employment. Her mentor told me that Jen had helped teach a class of disabled children and was very good at it. Several worries popped all at once, like the soap bubbles we used to blow when she was little.

Later on, I let her direct me on the subway. "No, Mom, we go THIS way." She made her way through Manhattan like a native. I let her guide me, proud that she was coming into her own and I was just "Mom". Earlier in the day my taxi driver had asked why I was in the city and I said, "I'm visiting my daughter." The words seemed grand coming out of my mouth, but very right. The feeling won't last forever, but for right now I'm sure she'll make her way in the world just fine.

That night I left her in the city to shop for a prom dress. A few hours later I get a text from her. With a picture. "Is that ANOTHER PIERCING!" I yell to my husband. "IN HER MOUTH!" Sigh.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Some Stuff

Work has been a drag, for the most part. I feel like I spend 8 hours day making phone calls. Or worse, getting phone calls. "I'm peeing a lot, is that ok?" "Can you fax my test results to my cardiologist, my nephrologist, my endocrinologist, my primary MD and my garbage man?"

I'm still not completely caught up from February. Seriously. My partner and I could really use our own personal assistant, not the least of which is I would have someone to fetch me coffee. Well, I can dream, can't I?

In other news, the first US face transplant has spoken out. I used to think that I would draw the line at donating my face. I mean: come on. It's. My. Face. But at AOPO a couple years back I attended a session on face transplant and saw pics of people who needed a face transplant. One woman hadn't seen her grandchildren, EVER, because her visage would scare them too much. That's about as sad an existence as I can imagine. So, all right. You can take my face, too. If you want to see how beautiful I am, you're just going to have to see my mug in person while I'm still alive. Speaking of beauty, Connie Culp has shown all of us her true beauty and courage by speaking out.

My hubbie sent me an email a few weeks ago, saying, "What's this all about?" Apparently, someone's gone ahead and invented a outside-the-body lung pump. In my neck of the woods, we pump kidneys, which seems pretty straight-forward: you attach the vessels to plastic tubing and keep the thing flushed with an iced solution. But some clever chap has invented a machine to not only circulate but ventilate the lungs for a period of time outside the donor body prior to transplant. According to the article, in addition to testing how the lungs function, doctors can actually repair problems in the donor lungs before putting them in the recipient. Watch the video, it's totally cool.

I had a blue funk in work after lunch today. And no, it wasn't the Cinco de Mayo tacos. I was reading "Family Fun" magazine while I ate and all the sudden I thought, "I should be home doing arts and crafts with the Pooter, not working 9-5." Short of hitting the Mega Millions, I don't think it's going to happen, although I did peruse the nursing help wanteds and entertained the notion of going back to work for 3 12's a week. My horoscope said that my whole life is going to change by July, so we'll see. Naturally, I take the pessimistic view and think that means I'll be in a body cast or something, but I'm still playing the lottery, just in case.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

It is so nice to be off. I used to hate working a 9-5 job, but I'm enjoying it pretty well right now. Another sign that I'm getting old. It stinks not to have off during the week, but it makes sleeping late on Saturday so much sweeter. Actually, I don't usually sleep late ANY day, but last night we were at church til late, so the Poot slept til 9:30. Huzzah.

Godspell went GREAT!! I didn't suck, or forget my lines or anything and I got a couple big laughs. I'd rather make people laugh than impress them with my singing anyway, although I think I can carry a tune. My new motto is: "There's a lotta notes, I'm bound to hit some of them."

Work is coming around, now that I have my new, awesome partner. She's so sweet that she actually makes me be nicer. Cause you know, I can be downright cranky sometimes. I'm almost caught up on my phone calls and BK virus results. What? You've never heard of the BK virus-don't worry, neither has anyone else. I'm going to write a post about it soon, but I want to try my hand at a funny graphic to go with it.

Anyhoo, Happy Easter, Merry Passover and have a Spectacular Spring! We have Spring Things planned for the next, several weekends and I can't wait for it not by cold and damp anymore.

Monday, April 06, 2009

See what happens when the baby finally falls asleep...

I can blog! However, I've been up since before breakfast, so I may no longer be coherent.

I'm in a production of Godspell at my church and the free time that I don't have has all been given over to that. Hopefully, after this week, what with the play being over and a slow work week, I can get my act together and catch up on other stuff. Who'm I kidding, I've been trying to get my act together since Kindergarten. But I can dream.

As I may or may not have mentioned, April is National Donate Life Month. With soundtrack, here at donorcycle. Also, for no extra charge, I have a cool video from the folks over at Donate Life Illinois.

Included are a couple of folks I heart a lot, too.

Over at youtube are some video responses to it.

I was trying to think of why I became so passionate about organ donation. I only ever knew one person who needed a transplant: he was a neighbor who died waiting for a heart transplant. However, being young and not veru close, I don't think that played any role. I do remember the first time I heard someone talk about being a transplant coordinator. It sounded terribly exciting-running off at all hours to save lifes, leap tall buildings, dodge bullets and so forth. That was when I was a young, bright-eyed nurse who still stopped at traffic accidents and signed up at every opportunity to be on the hospital's Code Blue team. I have since stopped looking for excitement like that, but occassionally it still finds me.

It took about 8 more years before I got my dream job as an organ procurement coordinator. Stay awake for days at a time-check. Console grieving families-no problem. Deal with difficult doctors-bring 'em on. My motto was, " A 12 hour shift is only a half-day." Humility has always been a challenge for me. In fact, I own a button that says, "No. My powers can only be used for good."

Working for the NJ Sharing Network was different from being a trauma nurse or responding to codes. Resuscitating someone who rolls through the doors of an ER is pretty impersonal. Bringing them back is more about personal pride than selfless assistance. Working with donor families changed the way I thought about the end of life. I had always been afraid to die. Working in a trauma ER only cemented that: now I was afraid of dying in graphic detail. Or afraid of how my loved one's could die. It was only when I started to work with donor families that I lost my fear of death. The more personal it got with them, the less it was about me. The more I understood how to savor every day.

I always considered myself good with grieving families, although I never let down my composure in the ER. As a transplant coordinator, I have cried with so many family members. Before, I logically knew that different grief reactions were normal. With donor families I was a part of their anger, their disbelief, their guilt, their hope. So many times I had my heart stretched out so that I thought it would burst, then it would expand some more. And so many times making the decision to donate opened the door to their healing. It usually came during the "med-soc" AKA the medical/social history. If you've ever donated blood, you've done an abbreviated form of one: it asks about your medical history, including any risky behavior. Ours lasted about 20 minutes, ranging from questions about recent vaccinations to Chagas' disease. When we got to the "risky behavior" questions, I'd preface it by saying, "Now some of these questions are very general and some are, well, personal."

I tell you, there's no ice breaker like asking if Grandpa had sex with men for money.

Seriously, you'd think they'd want to slug you right then and there, but these are people who had been throught the most agonizing days of their life. This was small change. Almost always they'd start laughing. "Oh, if Henry was here he'd be so mad that you asked that." It was like giving them permission to break the tension. Then they'd start talking about the person who died. What they liked and didn't like. What cracked them up. They turned a corner. What had been "how could this happen" now became "how are we going to move on from this?" Organ donation helped. These families wanted to know that somewhere, somehow their loved one's heart still beat, their eyes could still see. I know there are people who regret donating. The law of averages says there must be. Let me know if you find any.

Working with donor families made me believe in the kindness of our species again. Go work in an ER for 5 or 6 years and you may come away with a dim view of humanity. It's not fair, of course, you don't get to see people in their best light. But as a TC, I would walk away after a case, over and over again amazed at how people in the worst moments of their lives could find it in their hearts to help another, a stranger they would most likely never meet. It touches me still.

Today at my hospital we had a table for National Donate Life month. Next to it was one of our donor quilts. I looked at the names and recognized several. "Oh, that's the kid who was killed trying to break up a fight. He had just gotten engaged. There's so-and-so's son, his only son. His parents were just devastated when he died. There's Mr. T-, I remember I had to get consent from all 8 of his brothers and sisters." My friend Pam was amazed I could remember so many. How could I possibly forget? Their names are written on my heart. If I never do anything else again in my life I know that, for a short time, I helped do some good.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Here's the playlist, as promised!

Hope you like it. It does include My Heart Will Go On. `It's inclusion, STEVE, shows the depth and breadth of my affection for you. The fact that it's an instrumental means I am more in line, musically, with Laura. It's not too late for suggestions, if time and project playlist allow. I did want to put in Dancer to the Drum by Beth Nielson Chapman, but couldn't find it on the ole playlist site.

It's eclectic. Boogey Woogie. Enjoy.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

We need more monkeys!

It's been quite a coupla weeks. Two Thursdays ago the Hubby and I went off our diets and ate some Chinese food. Tasted good when we ate it. I spent the night throwing up and yet somehow I found the fortitude to go to work. I had to go to work because my co-worker, the only other post transplant coordinator, was canned last month. Oh, if only I could fill you in on that drama, but I'm still trying to stay on the QT when it comes to work specifics. Let's just say that the regime change is complete. Everyone has been chipping in to help me, which allowed me to stay on vacation and only come back a day early. Nonetheless, nobody else really knows the patients and we are not set up with a system that involves someone to step over my cold carcass and take over instantly, should that need ever arise. In fact our technology involves, I think, punch cards and a computer that looks like it should say, in a tinny voice, "Would you like to play a game?"

So here's the rundown of last week:

Sunday night: I feel fine before bed. Wake up with tummy upset a few times, think maybe it's something I ate again and wake up feeling like I've hardly slept. Go to work and an hour into clinic think that I'm going to heave. No, I'm not pregnant. People tell me I look pale. I go home at noon and blessedly the husband and little one are out. I eat what will be my last solid food for 2 days: soup and ginger ale, and go to sleep.

Tuesday: I think I can go to work. I am wrong. Dr. L. the nephrologist comes into my room and says, "Oh my God, are you okay?" I leave again at 12 noon to go home and moan.

Wed'day: feeling better, I eat some yoghurt and tea. Make it through a whole day of work. Go home and eat a big, hearty dinner. Big mistake.

Thursday: I feel odd again, but still manage to make it through a day of work. I don't actually DO much, but I'm present. Eat hospital salisbury steak for lunch. BIG MISTAKE.

I'll spare you the gory details, but let's just say that Thursday overnight I got very well acquainted with my bathroom. Let's also say that I'll never take anyone's cellcept-induced diarrhea lightly ever again. I have to go in to work. I'm 3 days behind on phone calls. My favorite patients think I don't love them anymore. My unfavorite patients think I'm a slacker. I crawl into work around 11:30.

Somewhere in all this, I came home to find parts of Pooter's Curious George puzzle in amongst the rubber tree. It looked like a cartoon crime scene. With dirt everywhere, natch. I asked the hubster what gives. "She planted them. She's trying to grow more monkeys."

Because what this house needs is more monkeys.

This week I have been on the mend. However, Monday morning I had 45 phone messages and a full clinic. Fortunately, I have A. New. Coordinator. She is six shades of awesome. She's friendly, competent, experienced, diligent and she knows everyone in the hospital. She's already covered my ass. And she reminds me of Doggett. In case I haven't mentioned it, I LERV the X-files. I've seen every episode and every movie. I didn't think anyone could replace Mulder. And then they brought on Robert Patrick, who's also 6 shades of awesome. Did you see him in "Walk the Line"? Anyhoo, I digress, but she's a female Doggett and I'm happy as a clam at high tide. And she feeds me. Those in the know know that I have a special affection for anyone who provides me with nourishment. I think it's a childhood issue, whatever. Anyways, hopefully after next week we'll be all caught up again and I can stop stressing.

We said goodbye this week to our pharmacist, who's pretty, smart and works like 3 people. God knows how we'll replace her. They've already hired 1 1/2 people to fill her spot. At the farewell my other coworker had me desperate with laughter. See, we have this thing at work were one person picks the "Friday Colors" and we all try and wear those colors on Friday. It is, in a word, gay (no offense). I do my best to fit in, although I'm not really a good fitter-inner. I mentioned to him that when it's my turn, I'm going to pick chartreuse and apricot. He countered by saying he would pick "clear". This devolved into more ridiculous combos: slate, eggplant, stone, salmon.

"I know" he said, "everyone wear a red quilted vest over burnt umber pants with a skirt in the O'Malley family plaid." By now I was helpless with laughter, hoping no one would notice that I'd lost track of my senses without even liquor to blame it on. "I got it! Forget colors! Everyone dress like a rodeo clown." Tears streaming down my face, I try to hold it in but I have 2 weeks of sickness and stress pent up inside. I wonder if anyone will notice if I pee my pants or if I can leave gracefully before that happens. I try thinking of sad things: war, famine, the NY Islanders. It's no use. I'm weak with the silliness of it. It feels great. Bring on the monkeys.

Monday, February 23, 2009

One step at a time....

So, I made it up all those damn stairs again. Yesterday I did the Hustle up the Hancock with my pal Steve from Revive Hope to raise money for the Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago. Big, big Muchas Gracias to everyone who contributed to the fund raising. There's still time to send in a few bucks if you'd like to help out the cause.

Chicago is pretty cold but not much colder than NJ, which isn't really saying much. I woke up Saturday at 4am to catch an 8:40 flight out of JFK which was delayed for 40 minutes anyway. It has not been a weekend for sleep but that's ok. I did again meet the girls(and one guy) from Iowa.
Everyone in this picture is named Ryan

We got to the Hancock around 7am Sunday morning. The streets of Chicago are pretty quite at that hour, so it feels like you're getting there really early. Then you walk into the building and see this:

It's quite a melee

Gear check was especially painful. I got up to the front of the line and all I could see was a wall of plastic garbage bags with hands reaching out the grab people's stuff. Getting it back was no picnic either, but we managed.

I did also get to meet Melissa, a heart transplant recipient who blogs at revivehope with Steve. The neat thing about hanging out with Melissa and Steve, for me, and I hope this doesn't sound stupid, is that it's interesting to hear their stories, talk to them about what it's like to live with a transplant, how they got their organ, stories of their donor families, etc. EXCEPT that it's as a friend, not as a nurse and a patient. That's really nice for me.

I used to think, even when I was recovering organs, that I wouldn't want a transplant if, God forbid, I ever needed one. I mean, maybe if my kids were small, so I could stick around for them. I didn't really know any post transplant people and the regimen seemed so hard and it seemed like, to me, that maybe the cure was worse than the illness. Now that I'm on the other side of it, working with recipients, I see that that's not true. I have patients that have complications, a small few who died, but the majority of them are like Steve and Melissa-vibrant, healthy people who you'd never know had a transplant unless they told you. It is truly amazing how people get their lives back, or in some cases, get a better life than they ever had in the first place.

Of course I didn't get a picture of the three of us together. Because. I. Am. A. Doofus. (Smacks forehead). Well, we'll all just have to get together again next year.

Anyway, I think I did a few minutes better than last year, although my legs are tired today.

You take the stairs. I'll leap up to the top in a single bound.
Up, up and away!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Still time to give me your money!!

Hey, y'all. As I mentioned in the last post, I am climbing the Hancock building (the stairs, not the outside) this Sunday with my friend Steve from Revive Hope. If you 'd like to contribute, click on the link at the right that says "Kari's Klimbers". Thanks and wish me luck! This year I'm skinnier and more in shape, so I should do it with only minor wheezing and moaning. Here's the post and pics from last year's climb, including a pic of me and my brother from anotha motha.

Also, I'm thinking of revamping the site and I'd like to hear your opinions of some of the other free or for-fee hosting sites. I'm leaning toward Wordpress. Anyone?

Monday, February 16, 2009

3 Day Weekend

I got President's Day off. Ka-ching! I don't think I've ever had President's Day off, not since I was a bank teller (yes, a bank teller) and that was many years ago. Last week my office mate was off skiing, so I had the office to myself. Unfortunately, I had all the work to myself, also. To help, they gave me the new person on Monday, a nursing student on Tuesday and Wednesday and, the best of all, the pharmacist on Thursday. I say the best because, while she's perpetually stressed, she easily does the work of 3 people. While I put out fires and returned the 900 phone calls I had accumulated since Monday, she made all my post clinic phone calls AND called in Rx's. I love her.

I guess I'd write more about the job if there was more to write about. Seriously, I mostly make phone calls. I make rounds at 8am with the team, have clinic 2 days a week, eat lunch at my desk and make more phone calls. People who call in because they have a cold, because they only have 2 days left of prograf, because their urologist started them on a new drug and they want to know if it's ok to take. I have people who call me with their gynecologic and psychiatric problems. Remember how when you started nursing or med school, or possibly even veterinary school, and suddenly every relative you ever had would start asking you for medical advice for their various ailments? Multiply that by 600 patients and you have my job.

Saturday I was in a frantic state of I-can't-relax. I'd be playing with the Pooter and thinking of cleaning the house or what I needed at the store until my husband told me to cut it out. Actually, he said I need to stay in the moment more. Thanks, honey. We did start off the day with Valentine's "perprises" for everyone. Teen got flowers from a "Secret Admirer". Pooter got a Beauty and the Beast DVD and a Belle doll. I finally managed to surprise my husband-I got him a Johnny Cupcakes T-shirt. My surprise was that Friday night Hubby and I went out to dinner. At a nice restaurant. Alone. Oh, somebody pinch me.

Sunday, Pooter and I went to church, then visited the thrift shop where I bought a Columbia ski hat and 2 Berenstain Bears books, which both the Pooter and I have been enjoying. I recently discovered that the Bears are Baptist, but that's another post. Then Pooter comes over carrying an armful of stuffed Powerpuff Girls. You remember them-sure you do. So I bought Buttercup. She's the cranky one. (Insert your own joke here).Sunday evening Poot and I walked to the grocery store and when I returned I made a pork tenderloin stuffed with mushrooms, spinach and parmesan cheese and brussel sprout with bacon. Mmmm. Have I mentioned I've lost 12 pounds on my diet. Thank you, Mr. Atkins. Hubby introduced Pooter to the Powerpuff Girls on video.

It was a big hit. She's carried Buttercup around all weekend. Buttercup was even there WHEN SHE WENT ON THE POTTY FOR THE FIRST REAL TIME!! We called everyone with the good news and celebrated with marshmallows.

So today, my big day off, I was full of Monday energy and OFF! We took the bus to Gymboree. With Buttercup in toe. Buttercup shares her food, goes potty with her, helped us cook dinner and went into the bathtub. When we got to Gymboree, every one was SO SURPRISED to see Pooter's mother. Maybe they were hoping her dad was single. Anyhoo, during open gym she karate chopped her way over to a grown woman who was holding the Jimbo doll, grabbed it out of her hands and yelled, "I want to fight Jimbo! I want to fight Jimbo!" After I cleared up the fracas I looked at my husband and said that perhaps we should cut back on the Power Puff videos. He just laughed. "She's 30% feral." "Just 30%?" I asked back.

We managed to leave without casualties. Then we met my parents for dinner. All in all, a nice weekend. Even better, I have 2 days of work and I'm off for a week and a half! I'll be climbing the Hancock this weekend and will have more to post then, I'm sure.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

So, I didn't realize that you can't read the Nursing 2009 article unless you can log into google. I'll work on that if I have some time tonight. Maybe I'll just post the full article on here.

In the meantime, I'm working on a playlist of songs that have to do with donation for Nat'l Donate Life month in April (or maybe sooner). Does anyone have any suggestions? So far I've got Mariah Carey's Hero, You've got a friend by Carol King, Devotion by Indigo Girls, and a few others. Let me know your ideas and I'll see if I can find them on project playlist.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

So, anyway....

I haven't posted in some time, in case you didn't notice. I blame it on the winter. All I feel like doing is coming home, eating, snuggling the baby and going to sleep. Throw in the occassional vapid TV show. When I do go online, it's usually to surf Reddit and read my horoscopes-I am THAT apathetic. I certainly don't feel like writing. In fact, I feel like curling up under a blanket and not coming out until May. Love Monkey has said for the 987th time that we are MOVING TO ARIZONA, RIGHT NOW, I REALLY MEAN IT!

In my neglectful state, I have failed to mention that my friend Steve was on the Donate Life Float in the Tournament of Roses parade. He even video blogged (vlogged?) it for Revive Hope-just keep scrolling down, there's lots of pics and videos. Despite my silence, I've been showing them to everyone at work. Furthermore, Dear Husband has provided me with an airline tic to go out to Chicago in a few weeks and climb the Hancock with Steve again this year to raise money for the Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago. If you'd like to help us raise $$ for this amazing event, go here.

If you'd like to see what I look like after climbing 1632 steps, go here. Scroll to the last pic, that's me with Steve-my brudda from anudda mudda.

Also on my mind has been the fact that I really want to do something different. Some of yall may be aware that I have 2 other blogs: P is for Pooter and Laughing Baby. I didn't mean to have THREE blogs, but I started Pooter to keep my family, especially the ones living in S. Korea, updated on the (then) new baby and Laughing is basically the monthly articles I write for the local food coop on parenting and anything that comes to mind. I always wanted to keep my politics and personal stuff out of the donorcycle blog because I didn't want to cloud any donation issues with my other, sometimes quite, opinionated stuff. Yet, it's a little schizophrenic and too much to keep up with and I still harbor the dream of having a $$-making blog. So I'm trying to come up with one blog to encapture all the various and amazing parts of my life while getting enough readership to allow me to put my daughters through college. The Universal Theory of blogs, as it were. If I expand on that dream, I think that I could eventually quit my job and work full time as a writer, working at home with occassional trips to exotic locales. Don't ever say I don' t dream big.

Finally, several folks have commented on old posts and I feel bad that I haven't replied in any way. One really nasty reply came in a few posts ago, and that, I glad to say, I haven't responded to, but I will say that some people only go by "Anonymous" because they don't want the world to know their name is Sissy McGirlypants. (And of course I mean that only for the person who left the ignorant post. Not the other 2 "Anonymouses" who left me really lovely comments. Thank you. )

Anonymous wanted to know about Horseshoe kidneys. Melissa'sleft me a lovely comment under There are no Coincidences. I have a special place in my heart for the little ones that need an organ and I'm glad your little one is doing well. You should go over the Falling Down is Also a Gift.

So, there you have it. Throw in a regime change at work(my old boss resigned), Christmas, trying to get the Teen into college and our car dying, that's been my last 8 weeks or so. As they said at that Ford Theater, "So other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?"

I leave you with cuteness:

Friday, January 23, 2009

Out of hibernation

So, I was going to wait until February 2nd to post. Then, if I saw my shadow, it'd be 6 more weeks of silence. Then this happened: the January '09 issue of Nursing 2009. I tried linking it-I can't. Then I remembered Google Documents. Thank you, Google. It's basically why this nurse now thinks organ donation is a bad thing. I'm composing a letter in retort. Here's the response from AOPO (Association of Organ Procurement Organizations).

Here is how you get in touch with Nursing 2009 magazine:

# Editorial office location: Nursing2009, 323 Norristown Rd., Suite 200, Ambler, PA 19002
# Editorial office phone: 1-800-346-7844
# Editorial office fax: 215-367-2155
# Editorial office e-mail:

Ok, People of the Internets.... I think you know what to do.