Saturday, May 30, 2009

"The Clease" and the Reclaimation

"We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
is rounded with a sleep."


Leaving takes a toll. I am unnerved by a photo of me. The five years ago woman and the woman in the mirror look like distant relatives as if the reflection in the mirror was 15 years older than the woman in the photo. They are both me but it feels as though I am in a history museum peering at old photos of people unrelated to me, photos from generations ago. Time is a willful bitch. She knows how to dig her claws in and leave the scars to prove she was there. The scars are etched on my face in the forms of deep lines. Too much sun, too much coffee, too much junk food, staying in a bad relationship too long: it is poison in ones later decades. I left New England and now after being settled for more than a year rebuilding must begin: body and soul. Nothing can or will replace lost time but grabbing the moment must happen. A new regimen has begun to take shape. Daily there is yoga even if muscles are resistant at first … it all feels better later. The week must also be shared with Cardio several times and strength training four times. Finding one’s body when it has been lost to disuse is never easy. The task becomes even difficult with the passage of time. An ill used body effects the whole so the mind wants – needs - exercise as well.

The fast was been an interesting journey to myself. I am certain that I have not experience real hunger since the second day. Fluid intake has increased dramatically. I’ve slept better this past week than in months. My eye sight has improved – who the heck knows what that is all about.

Time to finish the half dozen short stories sitting on my computer and catch with my photography to do list! Spanish lessons are creeping along but creeping is better than standing still! Energy is a wonderful thing! I am so grateful for my life!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Thoughts About "The Cleanse"

My son and I began a Master Cleanse (which is something of a fast in that all one has is fluids with lemon juice, maple syrup, herbs and fiber). We began the journey on Saturday morning. It is now Tuesday morning, a back to work day following the Memorial Day holiday yesterday. Thus I’ve completed three of five days. Friday night I could not imagine how I was going to make it through one day let alone five. This morning I’m blogging to say it is very possible. I “Feel G-R-E-A-T”! We combined the Master cleanse protocol with an herb cleanse. I dumped a ton of excess fluid, my skin is glowing (that must have something to do with the liver cleanse and herbs). I am also struck by how much I was spending time thinking about the next meal or snack. Too much TV watching to be healthy! That certainly would be true for me and perhaps most of the people in the U.S. I am very aware of the food sales on TV now and how difficult it is watch a single program without being bombarded by ads for food – most of it junk food. So here is the big decision of the day. Get rid of cable. Use the TV for news (such as it is) and record any shows I usually watch (there are two). Other than that the TV should not be on at all. Well, I take that back, I am going to use Wii Fit. It almost feels as though I’m exercising with someone else and that helps get the job done. So it is back to a whole foods life for me.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Ending Things Toxic

Another week passes. Much has been done and much remains to be tackled. The summer heat has settled on us far too early so getting all that 'much' done has not been easy. The census is higher and the acuity is higher. We are all tired. I am unable to put it all too key board.

This week end my son is visiting. He would like me to join him in a cleansing fast. This probably seems a nonsequitor but there is a connection. I think it is time to get off junk food and back on a healthier living track. Lately it has been very difficult to write. I lack focus. I do not lack subject matter. So fast it is for 14 days – it should be interesting, even if it is trying. Don't know exactly when I got off track but I am and it takes a toll in my life. "Eat to live. Don't live to eat."

I'll be back in a in a few days. Once caffeine withdrawal has passed and toxic foods eliminated from blood and brain, I hope thoughts will again flow.

Friday, May 15, 2009

" Ridge of High Pressure"

"It is not true that life is one damn thing after and another ~ it's one damned thing over and over."
- Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892 -1950)
The long hot summer of the Central Valley has unofficially begun. The weatherman, with a perfectly straight face, told us that a ridge of high pressure would push the temperatures through Tuesday into the low triple digits. He said it as though that was reasonable. One day after another of heat is a hideous idea. We will wilt. We have already begun to wilt. A haze has settled over the Valley and it promises to stay here - daring us to breathe in muck for the next six or so months.At 1:30 PM the "Interdisciplinary Team" sat in a conference unable to put another single sensible sentence together. The team was exhausted. Not one of the care professionals that I have a great pleasure to work with could think through one more cogent thought. The heat and the work pressure of the week had finally taken its toll. One woman struggling to finish the team notes wrote a last sentence twice - the exact same words twice. The complete thought was almost there on a page - like a desert mirage - but couldn't seem to make it to paper so her mind and hand simply repeated what she had already written. I could not help but imagine the regulators who might find that sentence. Wondered if they would worry about how we assess the patients at risk? Will they in turn wonder if we are serious or frivolous about our work? I looked at the face of this woman who provides therapy to dozens of patients, manages her own staff, documents everything she has done, manages to make a profit for her company and then goes home to care for her young family and spouse...I decided they were lucky she only repeated herself once. We were no longer able to sift through lab data, weight records, decipher physician notes, each disciplines notes, MDS details and then amend a Care Plan. The last patient had been discussed and just in time. The collective mind of the team wilted in the heat of work pressure, of a week of caring - all baked under an unrelenting sun. The reward for our efforts - the week-end, but it would be hot and difficult to rest and relax. In fact, according to the weatherman it will be VERY HOT! This scene is going to be played out week after week until October. For now we will go home, change into civilian clothes, and find a comfortable chair and dream of winter and rain.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Wishing all The Mom's a Happy Mother's Day

To all the women who struggle to raise children from infancy to adulthood, my best wishes to you. It is the most difficult job we will ever have and the most rewarding. May your families be safe and healthy.

Friday, May 8, 2009

The End of Nurses Week

"...a good nurse is of more importance than a physician."
~ Hannah Farnham Lee 1844

A week of celebrating the LPNs and RNs who do the work of caring for a nation of frail, sick or recovery human beings draws to a close.

Odd to have been in nursing so long that it seems as if it was only yesterday that there was no national day of recognition ... let alone a week. Old enough to remember being taught the sexist heresies in "Nursing History" that Florence Nightingale was a 'loose woman' and a camp follower - nothing about her strong mind and determination of will. Old enough to still remember my nursing instructor telling her all presumably all white class of students that black patients had inferior nervous systems and therefore required less pain medication. When no one questioned her statement and I spoke up, my Georgia classmates rolled their lovely eyes and murmured "well y'all she's a Yankee - what do you y'all expect". That same nursing instructor taught me to stay on my feet for ungodly numbers of hours and stay focused on the job and my patients no matter what. Old enough to remember being in nursing school (not far from his own Atlanta) when Martin Luther King was killed and watching the other students, some still in their pretty white frock uniforms stand and cheer. Old enough to know long term care before OBRA and the pressure ulcers in frail elders that had excavated tissue to the hip bone. Old enough to have developed a disdain for the very regulation and regulators that a much younger nurse once thought were essential to quality care.

This week we created moments to honor the women and men who drop children off at day care at ungodly hours to care for your grandmothers. We reminded them that their work is blessed and scientific. We praised their ability to endure assignments of 30 patients to a nurse and not flinch when family members complain that they are lazy or slow. Thirty to one and they still maintain quality. We left candy, cookies, cards, pens, pizza and a homemade breakfast to in some small way say Thank-You for Caring: Professionally, Scientifically, with Respect and Compassion.

When you next enter a hospital or clinic or doctor's office, remember this - if you have a friend who is a nurse, take her along with you...your health care outcome will be better.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Happy Birthday to the Poet!

May's Lily of the Valley echo many memories for me. The Poet from NJ just celebrated his birthday. I know him only from his poems. For many years (17) I gave Lily of the Valley to a former lover/partner. These little gems of tender white bell shape are not always easy to find as the weather in New England can be whimsical and snow when one least expects it. Still I came to love the Spring jewels...even while the relationship faltered and then died. So Poet, thank you for reminding me of the wonder and power of words, memory and a once tender and cherished love.

These mountain wildflowers are for you! Enjoy! :-) Happy Belated Birthday!

Gentle Reader:
Should you be curious you will find this man's well formed poetic thoughts to electronic page at Hope you enjoy too! Happy Un-birthday to the Rest of US.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Peace of Saturday

"No canvass absorbs color like memory."
Saturday and it is raining. The sound of rain on the yard is sweet. The computer sits near the window and even in the dark of early morning the rain is musical and playful - just out of reach. Remembering boys growing up. The sun just thinking about rising and little children whispering in their rooms. Past Saturdays that promised soccer games and friends and perhaps a favorite TV cartoon show. Rain or no, soccer happened. The whisperers are long gone. They are out in the world doing busy grown up things. Mom is at home with the critters. Dogs, cats and birds that are all still asleep.

Just the Mom, with grown children who are else where, and her keyboard are up - listening to rain. Thinking about fleeting past moments and moments to come. There is a bike in the other room waiting silently for it's passenger and a DVD that will coax the watcher with a bit of yoga. Odd how one can still learn things about the body even in the 6th decade. The mind is imagining the back yard with grass and flower beds. Something that helps ease the blistering heat of the summer that is knocking on the door. Making rounds at the local garden shops is on the to do list. 'What grows here? What is draught hardy?' A small smile...for all my complaints about the heat and the dry unforgiving climate, there is a reward! The patio tomato plant is exploding in growth and already four small flowers have appeared - in May. It is a lovely thing to be amazed in the 6th decade.

Exercise and Stretch are calling from the other room. Then the list making. Time to think and write out the Must Do of the day. All the check marks that must be attended to before I can call the week end my own: laundry, cleaning, rent and other bills, a bit of study (the work week nearly crushes any opportunity to think about history and language), and a vanity (manicure). Sunday will be free for a journey and photography. What will be seen and digitally captured? That is the incentive and the prize for getting Saturday organized.