A snapshot in my life…

Just thought I’d describe a snapshot of sitting at home… on the weekend… with my kids being bored… around me… all of the time… Will she not stop? My 10-year-old is singing at the top of her lungs… my oldest son is telling her to stop… and she’s wearing a helmet at the moment because she’s worried about him? He tells her to get away from her and she chases after him. The constant, never-ending noise!! And now we “don’t like” her singing… sigh… ten year old girls and the approaching hormones… we can say nothing right at the moment.

“She’s laughing at me,” he says.

“No one likes my singing,” she says as she pretends to cry.

“She’s drooling, her snot is running into her mouth because she is trying to cry.” She goes to wipe her nose then proceeds to chase her brother again.

“Now that you’ve wiped your nose, you’re going to get mad at me again?”

“I love you, I love you, I love you…” she chants over and over again.

“This is mildly extreme, no means no. I said no,” he says.

“I love you, I love you, I love you…”

“Mom, mom, mom… make her stop,” he says. I tell them both to go their rooms, I’m ignored.

“I love you, I love you, I love you.”

“If you don’t get off of me we’re going to have problems.” He attempts to brush her off and she falls to the floor as if she were shoved pretending to cry again. No one believes her and she gets back up continues her “I love you, I love you, I love you”…

and on and on and on… sigh. I told both of them to go to their rooms again. And of course they don’t. He splashed water at her and she goes to return the favor. “You can’t do that because of the computer,” he says.

“Uugh, why do you have to make so much sense?” she says.

The quiet returns for a few minutes… I eat a couple of cookies and relax for a few minutes before attacking the rest of the night. And then the dog begins to bark… quiet? What’s that?

thanks for reading,

me

 

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Bringing My Boat Home – 2nd Leg

This time I had ‘parked’ my boat in a marina near Coinjock, NC. What a lovely area! The people there were great and the entire atmosphere was beautiful. Someone asked me why I’m so far from home. “What brought a girl from inland out here?” he asked. “Simple, it’s not there and it’s not inland.” I answered. I smiled. Why wouldn’t I want to be on the coast or near it? Why would anyone want to live so far from the water? These questions seem trivial but they are so real for me. I breathe better when I’m away from people and chaos. I feel better when I can see and feel the water, oceans and rivers. Since I finally have a choice, why not choose for a life that I love?

My adventure this time began with my son dropping off myself and his two sisters at the boat. I was the captain this time and it was going to be a girl’s journey. I expected we’d be at our destination by the end of the day if we started bright and early in the morning. We said our good byes to him and made certain he knew where we planned on needing to be picked up. Inside we went and rested until morning. I love sleeping on the water. The gentle and constant movement of the boat makes sleeping easy. Morning came quickly.

In the morning I awoke and began breakfast. We ate and then set off for our destination. Problem number one arrived before we left the dock… we couldn’t get away from it! What on earth? All I had to do was go forward and all the boat wanted to do is sit there. The engine was working fine, the ropes were all stowed and we just couldn’t get away from the dock. I was beginning to question my sanity already and we hadn’t even moved! (I think the problem was we were at low tide and the current was working against us.) We did finally manage to push away from the dock enough to go forward and we were finally off. There was no wind and so we motored along the intracoastal waterway until we were out of Coinjock. Once we passed the bridge it felt there might be a little breeze so we set the sails…

Problem number two… setting the sails. Remember this is my first time on my boat as the sole captain. I know how to do this and I know what needs to happen and yet… the main didn’t want to go up. I double checked all of the lines, nothing was tied that needed to be loose, there was something else going on… Problem solving 101, use your eyes. One of the lines was wrapped around the sail wrong. Drop the sail… fix the line… raise the sail… It’s much easier this time, raising sails is supposed to be easy. Remember never to force it!  We were finally on our way. The wind helped push us along a little better, even though it wasn’t great. We were able to move along and able to save our engine battery longer. The girls and I were having a great time.

We made it through the ICW with very little problem, slowly but surely, using our sails as we were able and motoring when we weren’t. The only thing that was bothering me was that we weren’t going particularly fast. I kept hoping for a good breeze when we got to the Albemarle Sound. I was watching the winds and they were coming from the NE, which was perfect for when we would make our turn to the west on the Albemarle. Things were going to be fine. I am forever optimistic! Exactly what does ‘fine’ mean? Fine means, we’re in a good boat, we’re not going to sink and if anything goes wrong we can call for help and the weather is good.

We did make it to the Albemarle and the wind was fantastic for a while. Life was so good! This is what sailing is all about. The wind rushing around us, the boat going forward on its own. The land flying by, the waves perfect. Peace, ultimate peace. And then? Problem number three…

Problem, the wind dies down some… and some more… we angle a little different and keep going.  There are absolutely no marina’s between where we are and where we want to end our trip. None. So, we keep going forward, but slowly. We take advantage of the wind as much as we can, saving our battery for our motor. The day is speeding by and we aren’t. We see our destination ahead of us, we know where we need to go but it never seems to get closer. This is November… days are shorter… the sun begins to set. I’ve not yet sailed in the dark, I worry some. But, I’m the captain of this ship and no one is going to get hurt and I am going to get to our destination tonight. My determination makes no difference on the speed of my boat. We turn the lights on. We are the only boat within site for miles. It’s a chilly day and there’s no wind and we’re not on the ICW any more because we’re taking a stop at another’s personal dock where I can keep the boat for a couple of weeks until I can bring her the rest of the way home.

The big problem… number four… we stop. Not just stop moving forward, but suddenly stop. Hit bottom, stop… grounded, stop… now what. Optimism? Yes. I still know we will be fine, safety is my first concern and so long as we are safe I don’t care what time it is or where we are. My youngest freaks out and I’m forced into a different part of my brain. We aren’t hard stopped but we did stop. Motoring backward doesn’t help. Drop the sails, stow them quickly so what little breeze doesn’t get us more stuck. Take a breath and take charge so everyone knows that we are going to be fine, still are fine. Tell my youngest not to worry, the worst that could happen is we sleep here tonight. We’re fine. (Fine… I’m getting tired of that word. I’m not fine! I’m frustrated, I’m sorry for putting them into this situation, I’m tired, I’m cold, I want to get to land as much as they do. But I promise them we’re fine and I keep going… praying… hoping.)

I call for a tow, the tow driver that answers me is the same one we met last time. “You’re not anywhere near me. Why did we get sent to you?” I ask. There’s only two in the vicinity and so he took my call since he knows me already. “Why are you over that way? I thought you were heading toward Washington?” He asks. I explain what we had decided and what happened. He’s not able to help us until morning and suggests we throw an anchor and settle down for the night. I’m not ready to give up yet. He’s worried we’ll get stuck on crab pots or get stuck worse. I notice the depth meter and that we’re not stuck any longer. The waves had moved us off of the sandbar we happened upon. Still, I’m scared, there’s a lot of shallows around me. What on earth do I do?? Play it safe and anchor? Or move forward a little at a time…

See that circle? That was me trying to find a way through the shallows…

Problems solved… it’s about 9 o’clock at night and we finally, carefully, approach the dock where we will leave the boat for the next couple of weeks. The boat is fine, we are all fine. It took us about three hours to get there and we had to turn ourselves around more than once to avoid grounding again. I spoke with the people who lived there and they helped me to navigate the area better. We docked, we packed up, we thanked everyone and we began to drive home… (I called the tow driver and told him we made it and were safe, he was glad to hear it and told me to touch base if ever in the area again.) After driving for about an hour I began to fade and convinced my son to continue the trip for us. I laid down in the backseat and passed out until we were home. Exhaustion, peace, accomplishment all overwhelmed me. We had done it, we had made it. I had successfully brought my boat closer to home and learned even more about sailing. I still love it all, the getting stuck, the getting unstuck… the land being so close and yet so far away… the night-time air, the chilly breeze, the wind and the stillness… loved it all. I had faced my fears and won, again. Life is good.

thanks for reading,

me

ps. last leg of bringing my boat home coming up…

 

Living MY Life

I woke up early this morning having remembered another dream. I try to write them down before I forget them. I find it interesting how my subconscious works and whenever I get to see a picture of it after a dream I grasp at it in order to learn more about myself. It seems I’ve been on this long trail of discovering who I am since I am no longer being held back by my past… The weirdest thing of all is that when I put my past behind me is that my future became a giant possibility. I literally could become anything or anyone I want to become and it’s weird. I like the word weird… not quite scary, not quite fun… different, weird.

The part of my dream that I was able to capture was like being in a 3D movie as if I was flying a plane off of a cliff and then dipping down and finally leveling off safely ahead. My first impression when I woke up was that I was scared of my future. But I don’t worry about being scared anymore. Fear is healthy, it helps me plan and tests me. Fear is something I follow now so that I can understand me. I’ve discovered that as I follow my fears that I am able to grow and that life on the other side can be amazing.

Last night was the first night I spoke to another person about my intentions of moving, the first time I verbally said that I am going to relocate after I graduate. Up until now I’d say I was thinking about it, not that I actually am going to do it. Words have power. When I said I am moving it became real for me and so fear set in. It’s like jumping off of a cliff and then learning to fly and finally soar.

I’m excited, I’m scared. I’m beginning to create my life as I would have it look and it’s an amazing feeling. Now that I’ve said “I am moving,” I will take action, real action. Whenever I make a final decision followed by action, my results are guaranteed. I sometimes take forever to come to a decision, but once made, things move quickly. And I’m certain things will move quickly now… I graduate in May, pharmacy boards after, and job… I’m less than 6 months from when I plan on moving. Wow! scary… exciting.

Do something scary today, let yourself grow.

thanks for reading,

me

Another Week in my Pediatric Rotation

This past week has been hard. We’ve lost two little ones (ages 2 and 8), told bad news to another set of parents, and tried hard to prove nothing was wrong with yet another. Every time I see these kids I see my own and wonder if I am being helpful or just in the way. My heart breaks seeing their parents’ hearts being torn in two. I hate sickness and death. I want to take away their pain and take it on myself. But I can’t, I’m not strong enough. When I see them hurt or crying it’s as if I am the one hurt or crying. The emotions I feel are so intense. I’m trying to learn how to protect myself. I asked another pharmacist how she does it every day. “I learn to compartmentalize.” I understand it, but I’m not very good at it. I can feel all of the emotions all at once and it’s overwhelming! How can I even think clearly when I care so much? How do I be the best pharmacist I can possibly be? How can I continue on my path without giving up?

Yesterday I was allowed to be present at a delivery. This one gave me hope. The baby was delivered via cesarean and was a healthy 8 pounds 1 ounce (about 4 kg), screaming, gorgeous baby girl. I wanted to cry for joy along with the parents. When I left the operating room I went directly back to my team to find them in a room with a baby born at 23 weeks and only now weighing 0.7 kg. So tiny! All the other babies I saw on my shift were premies or high risk infants. I was in the neonatal ICU all day. One baby was discharged home and the mother broke down in tears, a great day for one mother. And yet another was still wondering if her’s was ever going to go home.

I have the heart for these children. I am a fantastic, caring person, but in order to survive these emotions I have to get away. I’m grateful that I bought the boat I bought. My timing may be a little off, money-wise, but exactly when I need it time-wise. I come home every day and hug my kids tight. I’m more aware of them and how much they mean to me than I’ve ever been. Life is too short for pettiness.

Life is short, don’t let it slide by unnoticed.

thank you for reading,

me

Bringing my boat home – the first leg

Previously… At the beginning of November, on Thursday evening the 2nd, I drove myself up to Virginia in order to begin a trip to bring my boat home. I began my new life, my new way of living, my new hope in an amazing future. I became a boat owner, one that I can live in if I choose to do so. That first night I went onto my boat for the first time as mine and the first time by myself. I brought my things aboard and then sat down in the cockpit and ate a Wendy’s baked potato with cheese, bacon and sour cream. I just sat there and wondered at the newness and the craziness of what I had done. After eating, I made my bed and went fast to sleep. My life had begun a new trajectory, one that had never been attempted so far.

4 Degrees – Mine now, renaming later

About three in the morning I had to pee. I wasn’t quite sure how to use the toilet on board yet so I went to the marina house and relieved myself there. The night was so bright, a full moon, I didn’t need a flashlight. The peace and the calm of the mid night air, with the freshness of the unknown, was riveting. Back to bed, back to sleep, the morning comes quickly and it’s time to arise. I sit up and smile. I’ve made the right decision. I don’t know much about sailboats yet, but I have a hunger to learn. I place my things as best I can and go back onshore to take a shower.

A little while later the previous owner arrives, brings her things aboard, and we begin to prepare to sail. She has graciously offered to help me take the boat home and to teach me as much sailing as possible along the way. She’s patient and cautious. She never shows frustration nor gives up. I have a hard time at first realizing it’s my boat, and keep asking her if I could do something. She finally tells me, “It’s your boat now,” and laughs. Over the next three days we work together and I begin to gain confidence in my abilities. We stayed at a marina on Friday night and are off to a great start in the morning. I’m anxious to get on our way because our first stop was short of what we had hoped to reach. I really wanted to get her to her final destination for this trip where I could dock her for free for a week. Money is tight, I did just buy a boat after all.

Beautiful day but not much wind…

Saturday looks good but then when we enter the Portsmouth area the winds die down. We travel along the intracoastal waterway (ICW) and are at the mercy of our electric engine. We had fully charged it and it was fine but we wanted to use it carefully to maximize how far we could go. Night comes and we anchor in the middle of the canal, set the generator on and go to sleep, hoping for her to charge well over night. The battery is low but not too bad, not yet. When the generator goes off in the middle of the night, about 4:30 that morning, I get up and check the batteries. Nothing. It didn’t charge. Problem. We can’t sleep anymore and fix us some breakfast. The sun rises beautifully, removing the night and showing us the grandeur of our surroundings. Peace. God is here somewhere. His presence is in everything I see. The wonders of his creation are all around us.

The beauty of the ICW at dawn.

Sunday we make way and head toward Coinjock. We’re getting closer, hoping for winds enough to get us there. The engine is down to its last three percent and there’s no way to charge it. I’m counting the markers and the wind is dying down. It’s time to call for a tow. Always safety before comfort, we continue sailing in slow motion getting as close to our destination as we possibly can. We are being passed by yachts more than twice our size and finally I see a boat speeding towards us, coming to pull us in the rest of the way. The waters in the channel are plenty high but just to each side it drops to as little as 2-3 feet and without our engine and so little wind it’s all I can do to keep us from grounding.

Attached to the side of the tow boat… Relief!

Seeing him pull along side of us was a huge relief. We dropped our sails quickly and stayed I stayed as close to the center of the channel as I could. Once we were tied up, I could finally breathe. I’m not certain how it must feel for him to pull another boat but on my side it gave me a chance to rest. Being towed is interesting. He pulled us to our docking and our adventure for the weekend was over. We’re picked up by her husband, drive back to Norfolk and I drive myself back home… Home by midnight isn’t bad. I’ve accomplished more than I could imagine and there’s more to come.

Pediatric Rotations

Many think that pharmacy isn’t like the rest. We, as pharmacists, are often thought of as lesser, unnecessary individuals, at least until they need us. When they need us though, they love the knowledge that we have. I’m in the midst of one of my rotations and this one is with pediatrics at a large hospital. Yes, pharmacists are necessary and needed here. Below is what I wrote after the first day there.

“Day one of peds rotation and its after 10 at night and I’m crying already. The patients I have today are sick, really sick. I was assured earlier that most of our patients aren’t like these because these are in a special ward. But these are still these. I’ve never known DiGeorge syndrome and I’m grateful that I haven’t. Three of the 8 kids on my list are DNAR and they’re just babies. DNAR means “do not attempt resuscitation”. How do people do this day in and day out? How can I? So many medicines! Such little bodies! The slightest error on a med could cause serious damage, permanent damage or even cause them to die. And yet, many of these will die early anyway. I don’t question God, not tonight, but I feel for the parents and the kids who have never known not getting poked or prodded. Who’ve never had a chance to fly. But I am not one to know that they don’t fly somehow. Each person has their place, even these. Life is short but for them? So much shorter and yet it feels so long when they suffer.

I’m going to get my boat tomorrow night. I’ll drive up there and spend the night and then we will set sail on Friday morning, early. I’m excited, scared, and wanting to wait but I NEED this now. I NEED to get out there and recharge for next week. I’ve gotta take care of me or I’m not going to make this. Time for bed.”

I did go and get my boat. I love it. I stayed on it for three nights and three days as I learned from the previous owner how to sail. We sailed it down a little closer than it was, yet it’s not yet to its home… I have to take care of myself when life gets hard and I’m glad to have the boat to do that. I’ll be writing more about her later.

Today, though, was another hard day on rotation. Today we learned that one of the babies, really she’s two, will be removed from her life supporting ventilator in the near future. She has no hope for recovery and her parents have been holding on for a glimpse, a sign, anything they can. They’ve decided it’s time and despite what you think, they may be right. It’s not my place to judge them. I have not lived in their shoes and God am I grateful! I nearly cried when I heard the news but I held it in. Then when it was time to go home the tears began to flow on my drive. Even now they threaten to fall.

All of these children! It’s different when you get to grow old and die after having lived a long and fruitful life. That’s different, that’s the way it’s supposed to be. But when you’ve just barely had a chance and that chance was never one out of the hospital? What is life for? What is their purpose for being here? What can we learn? What can they show us?

There’s really a lot we can learn. We can be reminded that life is indeed short, whether you die at two or at 102. Life races by. We can learn to live our lives to the best of our abilities. We can learn to be grateful for our own problems. I’ve heard that if we were given a chance to trade problems with another we’d beg to have our old ones back.

We can also learn that when we have a chance to make a decision that many of our decisions don’t affect only ourselves. We might, and often are, affecting others. Some of these children wouldn’t be in the hospital if their parents had taken charge of their health. Some of the children are recovering from addictions that their parents have. Some of them are suffering from malnutrition and abuse. Some of them are there because of a genetic malfunction. There are so many things to learn!

Even our genetics are things we have some control over. Have you heard of epigenetics? What you do, whether you exercise or not, what you eat, what your mother ate, whether your father smoked? These all change how OUR genes are expressed. So even some of these can be better controlled and prevented. We are barely learning the tip of the iceberg.

Do me a favor. Go love on your babies, your mothers and fathers. Go hug your friends and kiss your spouses. Life is what we make of it. I vote we make it good!

thanks for reading,

me