Relieved

Relieved as I finally find the bottle of ibuprofen buried deep in my cabinet.  Total focus is needed here, and there is no way that will happen with the blossoming migraine threatening my head.  

I continue working on the skirt portion of the uniform, attempting to live up to the pattern.  It was crisp and natty appearing in the photos. It seemed like a distant reach, with all the tapering seams and my unpolished sewing skills. As I pushed the fabric through the feeder, the hum of the machine lulled my mind into deep thoughts despite the other noises in the room. Not paying attention, my finger slipped beneath the needle. The puncture was fast, but painful. Taking a momentary break, I must decrease my distractions. 

Creating a brassy clang, she beats on the pots and pans like drums with wooden spoons.  I tenderly pick up my daughter out of the floor and remove the spoons from her hands.  Nap time, I say to her, as I lay her down in her crib.  I turn the soothing music on in her room, volume turned down low. 

Back to work, though the deadline seems distant, time has a way of passing by quickly.  The costume is for a play highlighting historical women figures, and my oldest daughter is to play Florence Nightingale.  She was the paragon of modern nursing development. That my daughter, who just last year had imaginary friends, chose such an astounding figure to represent means the world to me.  I am going to triumph over this project. 

After days of sewing, measuring, ironing… I’m almost ready for the revelation of a beautiful costume. 

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Handwritten Letters

The amount of completed work that was brought home by the girls during the last week of school was astounding. There were  beautiful pieces of art finger-painted in bright primary colors, contrasting against a black background as well as pages of spelling, arithmetic, reading comprehension, and letters. 

Yes, letters…actual letters, handwritten in proper format on paper by my second-grader.  The letters were addressed to various family members and were all so sweet.  But one letter stood out from the others. It was addressed to her friend Wade.  They were in kindergarten and first grade together.  This year they were not in the same classroom, but were able to have some play time together in the after school program. She obviously missed him, but never had a play date, and life got busy for everyone this past year.

The letter read:  

Dear Wade, 

We need to have another play date.  I could come to your house, and we could play on your xbox. 

I could bring my 3DS too.  You talk to your mom, and I will talk to mine.  I’m so excited.  

Love, 

Ava

P.S.  Please write me back

This was so wonderful to see.  We get so tied up in technology that we often don’t take time to actually scribe a letter to anyone anymore.  Emails, text messages, Facebook,Wordpress, and various other forms of digital communication have taken over.  I am so thankful for the digitization of many things, but there is something about a hand-written letter that is so personal and beautiful.  

We had a quick lesson on how to address an envelope and we mailed the letter to Wade.  We are awaiting a response, but I really hope that we get one soon.  Maybe they can become pen-pals as well as school mates and good friends.  

Losing Hold of Her

Daily Post Prompt 
I sneak into the room while she’s sleeping, careful not to wake her. Scanning the nightstand, I see her phone sitting quietly bedside her iPad. I must look, see if there are any messages that haven’t been deleted yet. She says she doesn’t delete anything. that there is nothing to find… I don’t believe her. I know she is gossiping something. 
Maybe I will have time to check her browsing history, too. See what websites she’s been looking at… If she’s looking at those damn wicked sites again, I’ll… 
Shit, she’s moving. She says I meddle, nose into her private texts and thoughts, but she doesn’t understand. I’ll just take it with me and say I had to borrow it to call my lost phone…
… Why can’t she stop this nonsense and be what I tell her to be, what she used to be? For so long it worked. I kept her under control. Her music, her friends… we shared everything, and now she’s trying to ruin it all.   
Not if I can help it. I will keep an eye on her, she won’t keep doing this. When we married, she’s said she would love and obey. Obey she shall. I will break her down again. I will get my wife back. I just have to know what she’s up to. 

Focus

My daughter and I took a walk around our local public park, looking for interesting objects to capture with our cameras.  Focusing on anything that caught our eyes and seemed interesting.    These are only two of many captured images.

A Crashing Christmas Eve

The air escaped me in rapid, uneven and shaky breaths.  All I could think was “my baby….”.  There was smoke surrounding me and my face burned from the airbag striking me. My abdomen and chest ached from the seat belt grabbing me.  The book of baby names that I had held in my lap suggesting name as we drove, was lost in the car, knocked out of my hands as our cars collided.

As I opened the car door, I saw the man approaching with a look of panic on his face.  As he stared at me with eyes wide and mouth gaping, I realized that my thouhgts were escaping my mouth as verbalized words, shrill and trembling.  “My baby, my baby….” 

It must have been a scary sight to the young man who had crashed into us.  A crumpled car, smoke escaping from the now exposed engine, two children in the back seat of the car looking rather bewildered as the reality of a crash sunk in to their young minds, and a large bellied pregnant woman in shock repeating only two words as her husband made the rounds to check on everyone.  

The impact of the collision was on the fron passenger side, where I sat, just ahead of the door.  Every one appeared to be fine.  The girls did not have any injuries, but were frightened and tearful.  My husband was level headed and handled the police officers questions while also managing the children, as I sat at the back of the car, holding my belly, waiting to feel movement. Seven months along in my pregnancy, my mind raced with facts and knowledge that I had gained during the OB rotation of nursing school, all of which just served to scare me more.  Sometimes knowledge is a bad thing. 

The ambulance came several minutes after the accident.  I was loaded up on a stretcher and driven to McLeods Hospital. I remember the surreal feeling of moving backwards as I peered out the back window of the ambulance that was speeding away to the hospital.  Concentrating on feeling my baby girl moving in my belly, I barely remember the face of the young paramedic who cared for me during the bumpy ride.  

Upon arrival to the emergency department, I was placed in a large room, curtains running down the middle to separate me from the person in the opposite stretcher.  I was triaged and left in the room alone waiting for a doctor to come and check me out, clearing me to be sent up to mother-baby to monitor my daughter’s health. 

My panic had subsided mildly because I had felt a few kicks on the way to the hospital. I knew she was moving and I hadn’t felt any contractions.  But I was still feeling uneasy and quite tired.  Scared that the trauma of the collision would send me in to pre-term labor, that my baby would come early and have complications because of this wreck. Waiting…waiting… anxious and scared, and waiting…

An alarm sounded from behind the curtain, and a flurry of people ran into the room to check out the alarming monitor and patient that shared the room with me. 

“V-tach – do we have pulses?  Start CPR and prepare to administer epi” the doctor said.

The patient across the curtained all was crashing. I felt bad being able to hear all of this, knowing what each word meant.  Not being part of the team providing care, it was a very personal moment for that patient’s family that I was suddenly able to be a part of, if only by overhearing. 

  It was amazing to be on this side of the curtain and overhear the progress of a code blue just on the other side of the curtain.  There was no chaos.  It was rather quiet except the doctor’s voice, the alarming monitor, and the rustling of packages as equipment was opened and prepared.  For ten long minutes these heroes – doctors, nurses, nurses assistants –  worked quietly and collaboratively to save this person’s life.  Finally there was a “good job everyone” and I heard some of the staff members leaving the room, as a couple stayed and cared for the patient who lived. 

At some point after this, the doctor made his way to my part of the divided room and apologized for the delay.  Smiling, I realized it was going to be okay, and shook the doctors hand.  I was awake, breathing, feeling my child fluttering within my womb.  It could have been so much worse, and as the code had unfolded next to me, I realized one thing.  I could have been the code blue, code trauma, dead.  I was relieved. Thankful to be alive.  Sorry for the family suffering this emergency beyond the curtain, but relieved that it wasn’t me. 

This made my Christmas-eve stay at the hospital on the labor and delivery unit for observation much more tolerable.  I had to take medication to stop the contractions that had started several hours later, but we were healthy and safe.  My family survived the car accident and came out without injury.  
Daily Post Prompt: Relieved

Nurses: betrayal and triumph

“Did you swap the assignments?” I asked as I saw that our names had been switched.  

Both Team Leaders in a level 2 trauma center, filling in while our unit supervisors are out of town, it was supposed to be my night to act as NUS according to the daily schedule.  But somehow in the last twenty minutes it had been changed.  

“What? Oh, no…Tommy must have changed it” she replied innocently.  

But I knew the manager left at least two hours ago, and the change was much more recent than that.  I was holding the daily assignments just twenty minutes ago, noting the staffing for the next night. 

“Where do you want to be?” 

“It doesn’t matter” I said, face hot, heart pounding.  Of course it mattered.  Every nurse in the department knew that I was supposed to be NUS. Some of the staff had voiced how they were excited and preferred me there rather than her.  I was excited about it, it being only the second time that I had been placed in that position.  It was significant to me.  As the new kid in the ED, it was hard enough to be in a leadership role.  Normally management didn’t hire outsiders into a team leader position and preferred to advance from within.  But since she was promoted to team leader a few months after my hire, it seems that there is some competition, and I hate it.  

How do I become confident and triumphant in this role? It is my biggest desire to be a great team leader. To be a great resource for the employees at this emergency department. To be a fair leader and a good role model.  

So… I said it didn’t matter, let her have the spot as NUS, and bit my tongue at least until I could calm down.  I felt betrayed. I look to her often as a mentor, I respect her knowledge of the hospital system and of the department.  I am still fairly new, after all, and can use as much guidance as I can get. 

Why would she lie about the change on the schedule? If she had doubts about my ability to perform the duties required of a NUS, why would she as my teammate not talk to me and guide me and teach me?   

Tonight’s task: Slay the night.  Hold head high.  Be a great team leader regardless of what role I am acting in.  Be a great nurse. Let her betrayal be my triumph

Vanishing Trace

A response to the Daily Post one word Prompt – Trace

“Hi, my friends call me Trace” she said cordially, as she took her seat at the table.  Awkward is the best way to describe how she felt as she sat down joining the group which consisted of his brother Galen, his sister Amber, and his parents Mike and Julia.  Now that introductions were made and she was invited to sit with them for at least some coffee, she wasn’t sure if she should stay.  Her shyness and introverted nature begged her to flee the cafe.  Her politeness kept her there.  

Last night she had been in his bed after meeting him at The Wet Whistle, a local bar that she rarely visited.  There was live music, beer, and no one she knew.  That’s exactly what she wanted.  An uncomplicated night to help her escape her complicated life.  The light banter between her and the nameless man who she now knew as Joshua was fun and titillating. They hit it off quick, she found Joshua likeable and interesting.  Avoiding anything too personal, the conversation was kept light with tales of adventures and experiences.  No careers or family came up, there were no mention of friends.  Just two people having a decent conversation without any sign of commitment. 

They danced, alcohol causing a swirling giddiness to keep the two close together as they made their way gradually around the dance floor, laughing and swaying.  His hands felt strong on her back, but gentle as they guided her to the sway of the slow melody.  She couldn’t remember the last time she had danced.  High school prom, maybe? It certainly wasn’t at her wedding… the bastard wouldn’t dance.  Joshua, however, seemed to love it.  He was graceful and confident, or perhaps he was as lost in the moment as Trace was.  Trace felt bold and free, she leaned into him, finding his kiss to be as gentle as his hands.  

“Are you local, Trace?” Mike asked between bites of apple turnover, inturrupting her memory of the perfect unplanned night. 

“No, sir.  I moved here two years ago.  It’s such a lovely place, quiet and peaceful” Trace replied.  

“It’s a small town, for sure.  But wait til you know more people.  The peacefulness disappears.” Amber interjected with a look of boredom on her face.  

Trace knew all about small towns.  The town she came from was much smaller than this. Gossip was rampant, and everyone knew everything that happened to you seemingly before you knew it yourself.  

Julia kept eyeing Trace as she sipped on her coffee.  “So Josh tells us that you only met last night.  What are the chances that you should meet again this morning.”  It wasn’t really a question, and Trace did not know how to reply.  Julia sat there with her neatly styled hair, her perfect makeup, and her glittering diamonds all mocking the relaxed look that Trace was sporting today.  Skinny jeans and a whit tee, a braided hemp necklace with beatiful orange stones, and tan canvas flats.  She definitely felt out of place at this table where everyone appeared to be ready for Sunday church services.  

“Yes mom, we had a couple of drinks together, it was a nice night” Joshua politely replied to his mom, saving Trace as she began to blush, remembering how nice the night really was.  He grinned over at her. “My only regret is not getting your number before you left.” The conversation continued around her, but Trace was lost in her own thoughts. 

She had left, quickly and quietly, in the middle of the night.  She did not want this.  She had been separated from her husband for two years, but the divorce was just now final after a long battle with him and his family.  All she could do was smile at him and provide a chance for her mind to quit whirling by paying attention to the coffee mug in her hand.  She added some creamer and a packet of sugar, then began to absently stir the concoction.  Why exactly had he called her over to their table? To meet his family? To make her blush in front of their accusing stares? She was beginning to become agitated at the banter, but realized it wouldn’t be so bad to see him again.  she did enjoy herself last night, she actually felt like herself while she was with Joshua. 

“This has been lovely and serendipitous.  It was so very nice to meet you all.” Trace politely stated as she glanced at her watch.  “But I must get going.  Joshua,” she grinned at him, now unable to help herself, “If you wish to see me again, you will find me as you did this morning, perhaps by chance.”  She excused herself, gulping down the coffee and leaving the mug on the counter by the other used mugs and dishes.  

As she Trace walked out the door, she saw the look on Joshua’s face.  His eyes sparkled with humor, he winked, conveying that the challenge had been accepted, and she saw him say something to his parents as he folded his napkin and began to get up from his seat. 

Trace hurried out the door to avoid him.  She rushed to the next shop on the strip, opening the lock with her keys and quickly ducking inside the shop, vanishing from the awkward encounter.  She watched him as he stepped outside onto the walkway, looking around the parked cars, unable to locate her.  “Good luck Joshua” Trace said as she turned the sign hanging on the back of the door to Open, ready to start her day.  

The Beacon

I ran from the cabin, angry and hurt. The mountain side was blanketed in darkness, only the thin sliver of a moon and a bounty of stars sat in the cloudless sky.  I couldn’t tell where I should be walking, it was impossible to see anything.  Hoping my eyes would adjust soon to the low light, I pushed myself to keep walking up the trail. 

In the soft glow of the moonlight, the shadows appeared to move about.  The night life surrounding me was a mix of peaceful chirping tree frogs and eerie shadows stretching out to grab me.  Too upset to go back yet, I found a spot to sit down.  It was nice out, a light breeze blowing in the warm summer night.  Sitting here listening to the night sounds was calming, even if it was a bit creepy to be alone.  My anger was slowly evaporating. 

Mom would be waiting for me, worried about me running off in the dark. She may send my father to look for me. Or my brother… God, I hope not.  He’s gone too far this time, and he can’t just apologize and get by with it.  Besides, apologies mean nothing if they are forced by your parents. They don’t care anyway, they probably hate me now that he told them everything.  

Oh the look on their faces. I guess it must have shocked them, I have kept it a secret for so long.  They never knew I had a crush on anyone other than Wesley, and he moved away years ago.  As far as they were concerned, Jenna was my best friend for the last two years.  Maybe that’s how it started, best friends in the tenth grade and being inseparable. 

I love her.  I’ve known it for a while.  I love her eyes and how they light up with her laughter.  I love her soft skin when it touches mine.  I love her quiet reverie while she’s lost in her artwork.  No matter what, they can’t take that away.  Even if they hate me, I will still love her. I would have told them eventually.  Just not yet.  David and his big mouth.   How could I go back now? Our vacation has been ruined, my family will never forgive me now, would they? 

My perch up on the hill side allowed a view of the cabin.  The porch light had been turned on.  The beams of light radiated out into the darkness, like a beacon saying it was safe to go back.  Slowly, I stood and wiped the tears from my eyes.   Step by step, I made my way back to the cabin, thoughts racing in my mind.  I had no idea how my parents were going to react, but one thing I did know.  They loved me, and have been by my side my whole life.  It was okay to go back. 

Daily Post prompt – Radiate