Thursday, July 30, 2009

Delusions Of Happiness

One of my favorite blogs is here. Gretchen provides tips on Wednesday and they are always salient and timely. This week was no different. I had such a bad day on Monday, I was still reeling from it by Wednesday. A sort of numb PTSD feeling like I experience after an emergency that doesn't go well or a difficult death. Because of HPPA, I can't go into the particulars but lets just say I spent most of a twelve hour shift in one room and it wasn't because the patient was unstable and the doctor unwilling to send the patient to the ICU. Nope, this patient was completely out of control and in order to keep him off the floor I had to literally sit at his bedside and reorient him constantly. If my other four patients needed anything, the charge nurse had to come to the bedside while I threw pills and whisked bandages off and slapped them back on my other patients. I could go into a rant about this situation and why the patient was out of his mind and who it is but I would be (deservedly) fined five figures and lose my job. Anyhow, early Wednesday, cruising my blogs when I'm greeted with the "9 Tips for having a good bad day"

"Where the hell were you on Monday" I mumbled into the screen as I begrudgingly started reading. Begrudgingly, because I was in such a place that "bitter" and "angry" was starting to feel like a baseline emotion. Basically, I dumped all the water out of my half full glass so it would be empty. To be really woo-woo about it: I was giving my power over to someone else, namely to a patient with self-inflicted dementia. Who frankly, given how they have cared for themselves don't deserve the level of expertise and compassion they have received in my hospital. Anyhow, by number three (ruminating) I was hooked and realized how fruitless hanging on to the "no good terrible day" had been. To clarify, I didn't spend Tuesday in the midst of whining and moaning about my day at Crazy's bedside. I forced myself out of the house and pulled weeds, deadheaded flowers and decompressed in the dirt. But I did find myself returning to Monday's events and wishing I never EVER had to work as a nurse again. Whenever I contemplate not being a nurse I get a little sick inside. This is my calling and I'm going to let one really fucked up alcoholic borderline personality push me away from the bedside? If I did this, shame on me, I would be giving him my power.

Wednesday afternoon, I looked to number 7: "Act the way I want to feel" Which wasn't hard because we had this unseasonably cool and humid day yesterday and before I even tackled Gretchen's tips, I had been in the garden overcome with joy we have tomatoes on the verge of ripening. But I had the nagging sensation of counting down the hours before I had to return to work on Friday and I did not want to return with dread and a heavy heart. I wanted to return with hope for a better day and a patient who had the right mix of psych drugs on board so his thoughts and actions were a little more organized.

Yesterday afternoon, after Wally and Beav cleaned the house for me (beautiful job they did, too) my Ipod gave me a wonderful song I just discovered and downloaded last week. Too bad it's from a regrettably sappy movie Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Bob Schneider is a few years younger than me and maybe he is being Gen X and ironic when he wrote these words but I have taken them at face value:

There is a universe that can't be seen
It's just a feeling if you know what I mean
A delectable dimension undetectable by sight
It'll fill up your heart in the dead of the night
Some say its an astral plane
Can't be described can't be explained

The world exploded into love all around me
The world exploded into love all around me
And everytime I take a look around me
I have to smile

Oh is our life just an illusion
There is no need to figure it out
The separation exists not in your love filled heart
But only in your mind
The real story's all around you
Even now it surrounds you
Even now I feel the power

The world exploded into love all around me
The world exploded into love all around me
And everytime I take a look around me
I have to smile

I contemplated these words for a long time yesterday and I felt my spirits (aka "vibration") lift. Since I have spent eleventy thousand dollars in therapy, I find it exquisitely simple to act the way I want to feel. Once upon a time I thought acting cheerful like some sort of Little Mary Sunshine--you just need to turn that frown upside down and it will be a sunny bright day and all your problems will go away!--sort of dreck was just that: dreck. How dare I live an unauthentic emotion! To feign happiness in the face of bitterness, despair or frustration was lying to the world. Maybe it is a lie. Maybe being happy when things look bleak is a form of delusion. Or perhaps its just a way of looking around the road blocks to the place where love is exploding and the love in one's heart is not separated by the hell living in one's head.

All I know is my heart is full and love is exploding all around me. Thank you Gretchen and Bob.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Warrior Princess, Smorrior Princess. I'm just a mama protecting her youngin's

Long-standing myths are on the verge of mutating. Stories that have remained fixed for years are about to acquire unexpected wrinkles. The effects may be pretty spectacular. I suspect it'll be the equivalent of Sleeping Beauty waking up from her long sleep without the help of the prince's kiss, or like Little Red Riding Hood devouring the wolf instead of vice versa. There's something you can do, Pisces, to ensure that the new versions of the old tales are more empowering than the originals: For the foreseeable future, take on the demeanor and spirit of a noble warrior with high integrity and a fluid sense of humor.

This was my horoscope for last week. Warrior, yes; high integrity and a sense of humor was an epic fail. But it’s a place to start. Always the good thing about the bottom: you can move up. And see the stars and yadda yadda twelve step yadda.

The Beav had his wisdom teeth out last week and was a trooper about it. Wally was deployed from Alexis’ house to my house this weekend, against his will. I guess this will prepare him for the US Army to make decisions for him. Hopefully, he will accept them with more grace. Not that he has a stellar role model for that.

At least, I don’t have to continuing stuffing down how I feel about Alexis Carrington. What I was waiting to say after The Beav graduated from high school just sort of puked out of my mouth and into her ear. After she started to cry, she accused me of being: “mean”? Mean? Are we twelve or fifty here? The more apt verb would be “done”. I'm not being "mean". I'm coming from my unhappy "done" place.

But I started the week “done”. I resigned from doing charge nursing. If I didn’t have a child to finish raising I would have resigned from nursing. Too many never events in one single shift.

But my week hasn’t been without noble warrior moments.

One of my “noble warrior” moments last week was not calling security when the screaming family room physically threatened a doctor because I knew she was (a) crazy and (b) grieving. My second moment was allowing another family see my profound grief while I was at the bedside and shared the news their 48 year old sister--a vibrant, previously healthy, biologist--may never return from her vegetative state.

I owned to Alexis a few hours after my tirade of how thoughtless and self-centered she behaves, that believe it or not, I have an inkling of an idea the balance it would take to be a step parent. I also know it would never be for me. I don’t have the stones for it.

It took courage, telling Ward how Alexis has negatively affected our sons. I’ve been afraid to do this because, frankly, I’m worried about repercussions on them. It was tough to tell him things she has said to them and done to them over the years; things I’ve witnessed; the broken promises; The Beav's fear about being the kid left at Alexis' now Wally is living with me; how sincerely devastated I am to see the man he has become; so alien to the man I once loved. But then, I’m not the woman he fell for either. I’m not the nodding and bobbing “yes girl” who thinks he is an expert in everything and always right about all that is wrong with me. Tap dancing as fast as I can to make sure I change to fit into his specific mold for me because obviously what he thinks I should do and be is absolutely The Right Thing. When Ward married Alexis, he gave her a ring and his spine. I wish I could grow extra spine and gift part of it to him.

It takes a lot of grace to be a noble warrior. My reservoir of grace was temporarily empty but I can feel it slowly starting to fill again.

(I borrowed my girl Xena from She's fierce in that ep!. . .)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Midsummer Report Card

Landing into the middle of my life-post vacation--last week put blogging into the back seat. I even knew what I wanted to write about but real life, my real work pressed upon me and I didn't sit down to the computer until today. I Being away from here made me realize how much I missed working in our yard and garden. Coming home to four foot tall tomato bushes and chard ready for harvest was particularly sweet. Hopefully, the huge tomato bushes aren't a lot of faulderah of greenery without the benefit of fruit. Summer has been rainy and on the cool side and even the foothills are still sporting their May greenery--a pleasant change--usually in July things are looking hot and limp like your well-heeled Alabama aunt on a Sunday afternoon in June. Working in the dirt in the mornings this past month has definitely taken the edge off my brittle personality. I feel invigorated and cleansed after long days of nursing. Everyday I am home, I find an excuse to work outside or just be outside. Ironically, the dark rainy days buoyed my spirits, too. Probably the novelty of it all. I loved working in the cool damp of the early mornings this June.

Last month the sky was tinged with light before five but this morning I noticed predawn is now later. insert audible and dramatic sigh here Fortunately, after next week, it won't be necessary to race to the south bed before the sun starts it's twelve hour march across my flowers. The Girl is so terribly ingenious, with help from our landscaper, she is installing an irrigation system to the flower beds and veg gardens. No more moving hoses around, making sure it isn't tangled or kinked, maneuvering around a dog prone to wandering, downspouts, and stepping stones.

I have learned a great deal from my first garden. The most important thing I have discovered is a new passion. In the nuts and bolts department of gardening, I've learned Bee Balm aka Burgamot will take over the world given half a chance; Verbena and lavender are well behaved Submissives and crave too much light and very little. My delicate Trollius has proven to be a finicky Madwoman of the attic so I've taken a great chance and moved her this morning to a shadier spot in the front yard. The only reason I haven't killed my yellow pet is because our summer has been temperate and wet. And who knew something named "Bachelor Button" would not relish full on sun. I was thinking: bachelor farmer. When the truth of the matter they resemble these fellows. (my plants have all taken on the persona of Victorian stereotypes, haven't they? I'm truly obsessed!)

I successfully transplanted zinnias to a bare spot in the veg garden. The Bee Balm has also been relocated to a spot where he can continue to spread his wings and take over a troublesome spot. Oldest Friend quipped that 80% of gardening is moving plants. Fortunately, I won't be moving that many plants but since I planted invasives I see digging, dividing and moving in my future. The goal is to commit Drive By Yarrow Drops in the middle of the night. The Girl tells me I have a green thumb but I'm not sure about this. I think it's forgiving weather patterns, dumb luck and passion. It was a humbling gift to enjoy the lovely chard which began as a seed in my window. I planted seeds on our snow day in mid April as a tonic against relentless winter.

So the question I'm pondering today is this: Does a passion for something constitute a gift? Does it matter if I am "gifted" if the act gives me this much joy?

I know you are all waiting with "baited breath" for my musings and sudden epiphany but a big question like this must germinate like my chard.

Meanwhile, it's time to don my large brimmed hat and make the weed rounds. Saturday is promising to be cooler and damp so moving the other Trollius plants and wane Batchelor Button will have to wait until then and I won't have to be in the yard by 0-gosh-thirty.