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This week I matured, and hopefully evolved, a wee bit.

I am a nurse.  I went into nursing not for the “great pay and flexible hours” (Really?  Are we trying to convince people that those exist? SMH…), but for more altruistic reasons.  Ken had a serious ATV accident back in 2007, and spent a week in the trauma unit at the hospital where I now work.  As I was helping him wash up one day, it hit me how vulnerable people are when they are sick, hurt.  I know, “Duh – what did you expect?” But the way I looked at it at that moment was, I wanted to be there for others during those moments – to aid, to comfort, to help heal.  In my mind if a relatively healthy 37 year old male with a good support system was struggling, think of the needs of those with far less.

So, throwing caution to the wind as I often do with my BEST decisions, I started nursing school.  There were many obstacles and roadblocks thrown in my path – many of them in my own mind;  some related to being a full time mother, and then of course, there was my crappy thyroid who decided to go all cancerous on me during my last semester.  Amazingly, I got past all of these.  Amazing – because by nature, I am a quitter.  Yep, I am.  I have very little stick-to-it-tiveness.

(Bear with me, I’ll get to the point of this blog post eventually.)

I’m coming up on my two year anniversary of being a nurse at my first choice hospital.  It has caused me many sleepless nights, weight gain due to post shift stress eating (“Hoovering” is more like it), tears on the drive home, and endless self doubt.  Most recently, it has made me start thinking “Phht – what does it matter.  No one seems to appreciate what I do.”  We’re talking major pity party here.

In whining to Ken about “None of my patients fill out WOW cards for me.  What more do they want?  My blood?  They’ve already got my sweat, sanity, and poor neglected bladder”, he just looked at me and said “What does it matter?  You know what you do.  God sees what you do.  That’s all that matters.”

Hearing that from my spouse who doesn’t always put things in a spiritual framework (as he is a man driven by science and logic), slapped me right upside the head.  What a self centered idiot I am.  It’s not about me and how I appear to co-workers and management.  It is about what goes on in that room between me and another human being.

“People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. 
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway. 
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”

― Mother Teresa

I in no way liken myself to Mother Teresa.  Trust me – I am prone to more than occasional selfishness, cattiness, sloth, and bitchiness.  But maybe, just maybe –  if I can keep my focus on this 99.9% of the time, I just might start getting things right.

 

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I grew up in a house that believed in God, but not organized religion. Because of that, I will always be grateful for Linus Van Pelt. If it weren’t for that lisping, thumb sucking, blanket toting, young philosopher, I would have had a very empty, shallow existence.

As a child, Linus planted that seed of the magic of Christmas. While Charlie Brown cried out “Doesn’t anybody know the real meaning of Christmas?”, Linus popped that thumb out of his mouth and came forward with Luke 2:10-14. There was a hush, and a spotlight shone on this little cartoon boy telling of the birth Jesus. Linus had my full attention – I hung on every word. It still, to this day, stops me in my tracks when I hear it.

What a gamble Charles Schulz (a hero of mine) took – even back then. Imagine – a cartoon special with a message – and a Biblical one at that. Would that fly on today’s networks? Sure, they show it every year (and may I say, I miss the Dolly Madison commercials of my youth that used to air with all Peanut’s specials), but you’ve got to wonder if some network execs inwardly cringe at Linus’ big moment.

I say “Thanks Linus…” – thanks for showing me, Sally, Lucy, and Schroeder that there is more to Christmas than Barbie Dreamhouses, “tens and twenties”, real estate, Christmas cards, and pretty girls. There is love, and wonder, and hope.

“And that’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”

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Those who know our family, call us the Griswolds.  “Aw c’mon…don’t flatter yourselves…” you might be thinking, but, no, it’s true.  Holidays have found us without water due to DIY plumbing repair, or eating Christmas dinner with winter jackets on, due to an HVAC unit that took the day off. My fave – Ken out in the front yard in his pj’s Christmas morning with a chainsaw “trimming” our tree down (fully decorated) where it had split up the trunk.  Nothing says “Yuletide” like wood chips flying and the rip of a chainsaw.  Take that while you eat your Christmas morning breakfast casserole.

 

Vacations are no better.  We have survived jellyfish stings, car fires, speeding tickets,  fish in bikini bottoms (don’t ask), multiple trips to the ED along the NC coast, and apparently, I am the Pied Piper of roaches.  They seem to like to watch me sleep, shower, eat cereal  – flattered, I am not.

 

So this morning, I’m making breakfast for the kids, and Ken calls me into the living room.  “Honey – the tree fell.”

 

“Yeah, whatever…ha ha…” I say as I pop in some toaster waffles.

 

“No really, come look.”

 

I’ll be damned – there was the tree passed out across the couch.  Apparently, the weight of the ornaments only hung on the front of the tree that people “see” was too much to bear.  The tree and I must share some OCD qualities, as I was gritting my teeth while watching the kids neglect the rear the night before.  Those same kids, who nagged us mercilessly to procure and decorate said tree, were no where to be found when Ol’ Tannenbaum needed a lift.  After much grunting and wrangling, the tree is back in the stand, for now, quietly mouthing “Help me!”

 

So, now I give to you, the Yar-wold Family Christmas tree (drumroll please) – complete with copies of “ATV World” and “Simple and Delicious” magazines propping it up in the stand.  

Fa la la la la la la la la….

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Hearken back to my very first post…

So, I’m recuperating from surgery #2 – residual thyroid tissue removed, and lymph node removal. My surgeon was ah-mazing…used my old scar line, old drain site. I am very, very grateful for the wonderful care that I’ve received from Baptist (however, the insurance coverage leaves something to be desired). I am scared to think of what my future may have been had I just stayed with my original doctor.

I’m out of work for at least three weeks – which is great – except I am a bit of a shut-in. Being a shut-in isn’t so bad if you don’t have a lot of clutter and crap staring you down from every corner, as I do. I can almost hear the pile of papers on my desk “Oh, yeah, go ahead and read your Nook…we’re fine. We’ll just hang out here. I think the kids are going to bring us more friends when they empty out their bookbags this afternoon. And don’t forget the mailman…we can always count on him to swell our ranks. No worries…you just relax with that Nicholas Sparks book…we’re not going ANYWHERE!”

Hmmm…maybe it’s time to go for a walk…

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Well, this has been a good two weeks of wallowing in some self pity. Poor me – nursing license is being held up; poor me – can’t get an interview for a job; poor me – got fooled again. I had a marvelous mommy meltdown over a bag of Lays Salt & Vinegar chips. Sean and Hayden were fighting over the bag – screeching at the top of their lungs – and I marched into the kitchen, snatched up the bag, and crushed every bleepin’ chip and dumped the bag in the trash. That got their attention. Stable Mabel, I am not…

One thing that has kept me a wee bit sane, is cooking. Tried a new recipe for Jalepeno Poppers:

1 tube Crescent Roll dough
4 jalepenos, seeded and sliced into quarters lengthwise
8 slices of bacon sliced in half
1 tub of Philly Cream cheese (I used Light Chive and Onion)

Preheat oven to 350

Unroll crescent dough, and cut each triangle into identical halves. Place a teaspoon of cream cheese on the jalepeno slice, and wrap with bacon. Wrap the whole stuffed pepper with a crescent roll. Place on cookie sheet, and back for 12-15 minutes.

Yummy – and finally getting a chance to use all the jalepenos that I’ve grown this year.

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Well, Day Two of radioactive iodine isolation. It’s funny how for so long I’ve wanted time to myself, and no responsibilities, but now that I have it, I don’t know what to do with it. Went upstairs to get some of Sean’s laundry so he’ll have clean clothes for soccer tryouts, and saw Dorian’s stuffed rabbit, Cookie on her bed. It really hit me then how isolated I feel from the everyday life of my family. I’m not feeling sorry for myself, as I know other people with cancer have it much worse. I just think this will be a learning experience for me.

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…I was “under the knife” having my thyroid removed due to papillary thyroid cancer.  Wow.  Who knew?

Thankfully, all went well, and I’m almost afraid to say it out loud, but I feel really good.  Could this have been just what I needed to change my priorities and way of thinking?  Maybe.  I guess we’ll see what enfolds here…

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