A Rare Gem

I do not not know what I would do without some of the friends I have made while in nursing school. One of the coolest people I know I met over the summer but we really did not hit it off until the start of the Fall semester.

If there is one thing I do wish my parents never let me stop playing, it is soccer. I never considered myself a decent player, I just enjoy it. I am also tiny so I am not the first to jump up and down about being goal keeper if someone else has a desire to play. At the start of the season for team MRSA there was already a goal keeper. Injury led him to step down and I took a whack at it. I had no idea in the opening minutes of the first game I would earn myself a nickname. It was slightly short lived though, one particularly game full of terrible shots and unsportsmanlike conduct lead to a fractured scaphoid.

The scaphoid is the super tiny bone in your wrist just below your thumb that is about a half inch in length and a quarter inch in width. That fracture however, if not healed correctly could lead to necrosis and death of bone and possibly surrounding tissue. It hardly ever heals on its own and requires a cast for about 2-4 months. I was so excited about nursing school in a cast!

One option, with a little bit of a quicker recovery time was surgery. I sat on that option for a while. I would probably never be able to play soccer or at least goal keeper again, but more importantly I could not risk going into my adult clinicals with a cast. So surgery it was. Now of course because I did not know how to break the news to my parents I called them a week before it was set to happen and told them about it. And of course they were very upset. Oooops. After all, this would be the first out of countless surgeries that I have had that they would not be present for.

This one particular friend was at the soccer game I got injured at and was willing to take me to my surgery and bring me back home. Through some kind of miracle and whatever kind of Wheaties I had been eating I ended up not needing surgery and being able to get rid of the cast in a week. The support she provided was unimaginable, especially considering we both had a very big exam the morning of my surgery and I did not do well.

She is definitely a rare gem. When you find people like that, it is always best to hang on to them. As the saying goes “it’s better to have a few real friends than a hundred fake ones.” This one is definitely a real one.

1 Down, 3 To Go

Thank goodness the summer semester has ended. That was ridiculous. I cannot believe everything that I have learned and how much I feel this is the right fit. It was a rocky semester I will say that much. It is not a joke when they talk about nurses eat their young. I am pretty sure that starts in school, not necessarily in the work place. It will be interesting to see what the next set of clinicals hold. Not to say you cannot learn a lot through observation, it is in fact a completely underestimated skill, however if you asked me to give you a list of things I actually did versus a list of what I watched you would be highly disappointed.

Some in the Cohort ahead of us have said second semester is the hardest, we’ll see about that…

With the start of the second semester of nursing school a lot has changed. Campus is now very busy as the student body seemed to quadruple, the start of a new academic year has brought forth a new set of student policies, and hopefully with any luck there will be more opportunities to do more outside of studying with new groups of friends. I personally look forward to hanging out with the people in my clinical group and playing intramural soccer.

Our first lecture does not start for a few days but people have already started studying and reading ahead. Sometimes I wonder if I should do the same. Then I remember the advice I was given by my peer mentor, “when you are given a break, take it. If you do nothing but study over your break you increase your chance of burnout. Enjoy yourself.” Well, she does not have to tell me twice. More freedom it is.

Motorcycle is still sitting in New Mexico, still trying to figure out how to lug it out here. I would ride it, the engine could handle it, however it is not very heavy. I am not very heavy either. I would probably be blown off the road. That is a problem to solve another day.

New Life, New Adventures

Not sure why this didn’t post originally. Sorry.

It has been a few months since I moved to San Antonio. I am reluctant to call this place my home, but for now it is what I have. So far I have been out and explored the medical center. I know where all of the hospitals are located, I know where school is and how to get to the library, and I know where the grocery store is. It’s not much but when I can, I go a little further out.

The friends I have are all in the nursing program, we spend way too much time with each other and our books we do not really know about each other on a personal level. Well, aside from our Health Assessment partners, we pretty much know a full medical history and the complete mechanics of thier body from head to toe.

With all of this work and adjusting to a program unlike any other, our free time is little to none. That means increased stress and increased likely hood of burn out. With this knowledge I deeply regret one decision about moving here. And that is leaving the Mach 5 behind…

Le Mach 5.jpg

Squeaky clean: Mach 5 in New Mexico

The Texas Hill Country is calling my name and I cannot wait to go explore its beauty.

The Sound of Silence

As much as I like listening to a little Simon and Garfunkel I am not talking about their beautiful music.

I am breaking the silence.

It has been a crazy year. A fair share of depression and self doubt followed by a good amount of self growth and a small pay off.

I made one rule when I moved back to New Mexico for school and it was, that I would not make any friends. I wanted it to be really easy to pick up and go again. Well, like all great ideas I think I have, it did not work. The first week of classes last Spring I befriended a teenager that would forever adjust my outlook on life. I made two unlikely friends over the summer in my Anatomy and Physiology class that I have become pretty close to. I even made a friend in my Micro Lab, she is amazing and she shares an indirect connection to my sister. It is crazy how each friendship was forged and what we all have in common. Working in the medical field with any of them in the future would be absolutely amazing! Non medical related, I reconnected with a friend from middle school and her adorable son. All very unexpected but great in their own way.

Breaking that rule made it very hard to apply to nursing school. Part of me wanted to hang around in NM longer. It is crazy but I like these new friends enough. However, I did apply, but it was not the act of applying that was stressful, it was not even taking the TEAS exam that was stressful. It was waiting for a decision to be made. I would have been happy no matter what the verdict. I hoped and prayed a lot. But not that I would get in. I was hoping that the selection committee would make the right choice. If I was to get the seat, I hoped it would be because I earned it, deserved it, and was ready for it. I had doubts. I always said if, but my family and close friends said when.

Now I am on to my next big adventure!


A Special Mom

Finally, a moment. The last few months have been so crazy I did not even have time to sit and reflect on my birthday. Mostly I think of birthday’s as just another day. I feel sheepish when people make a big deal of it. It might be a big deal to me but I would never ask others to make it a big deal. The last few birthday’s I have set aside time for myself to sit and be grateful for the year I had, for each one had a special reoccurring dark cloud following me around. This year was different. The dark cloud might not have been there but it was still a special year. I got a couple of cards, two books, one from my parents and one from a friend in WA, a “day after card”, and a motorcycle. The motorcycle might have been a gift to myself but I got it for more reasons than “it’s my birthday.” Moving back to New Mexico has not been easy and I was beginning to resent it. Spending the last 8 months like I was placed in some kind of open custody, I was treating New Mexico like a place to do time in and escape. I do not have friends here and I did not try to make any. I may know plenty of people, but they do not know anything about me and I do not know anything about them. In the last year my mom has been one of the most influential people in my life. I like to think of this post as a tribute to my mother in reflection of my year.

My mom got me back on the road when I was terrified. Being in a near death car accident I was not really looking forward to being back on the road. Just a week after, she put me in the drivers seat of her brand new car and I drove her to Mississippi to meet her granddaughter.

The unfortunate repercussions of that accident had me traveling back and forth to Flagstaff to take care of things. Mom went with me each time. Every bit of hell I endured, she was right there by my side.

She was first to support any crazy endeavor I dared take. My spontaneous trip to Hawaii, my active pursuit of the Navy, and the active pursuit of a new set of wheels.

My current academic quest has not been easy. I have pretty much driven everyone, and I mean everyone crazy over it. My diplomas from NAU are currently sitting on my desk and every time I look at them all I see is, “bachelors in underwater basket weaving.” My mom was the first one to tell me I probably did fine this semester, and she was the first one to pound me when I freaked out over a grade and then found out I passed with flying colors.

When I found it to be unbearable to balance countless hours at work with everything I needed to do for school she talked me back into investing in something that made me happy. Being stuck in this place I was so ready to leave 7 years ago, I found myself with no outlet, she pushed me to have an outlet. I love the fact, that as much as she hates that I have a motorcycle, she loves it too!

I did not think I would make any friends while being back here. And some how I managed to at least find one. It really is weird, the gems you find when you are not looking for them. My mom wanted me to find new people to connect with while here, I am glad so far she approves.

My mom is kind of my best friend. She really has seen me at my lowest. She has seen me get into some pretty big trouble. She has seen me triumph. She has shared in the pain of every surgery I have ever had and helped me recover, some more easily than others. I felt separated from her for the 6 years I was in Flagstaff, but in the last year I think I have made up for it.

Most importantly, she was there to witness me accomplish the impossible, when so many people said they would understand if I quit.

December 14, 2012 Flagstaff, Arizona

December 14, 2012 Flagstaff, Arizona

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!!

Disharmony in My Bubble

It has been way too long since I put the pen to paper, metaphorically speaking. Every time I sit down to write something I stare at a blank page for a while and then eventually give up. That is, if I sit down to write at all. I find myself not even being able to sit and read one of the five $2 books I have collecting dust on my bookshelf.

I’ve been through 9 semesters worth of college. That is 60 college courses, 69 if you include the time block given to Percussion Ensemble and Big Ensembles. That is over 8500 hours spent in class, in Cline Library, in the music lab, or at my desk in my apartment. Add another couple thousand and that total will include time spent in a practice room. I have 2 degrees to prove all of that hard work was for something, and I find myself studying for yet another degree and I am having a terrible time keep up with all of the work. Alas, I have been told that it is all for a good reason.

“Just remember that it is supposed to be hard. You want those taking care of your health to have been tested and know that they have gone through some hard education to get to the point when they see you.” ~CWA

Makes sense.

I am trying this new thing for lent, where I keep some frustration about school and work to myself. I am trying not to add to the disharmony in my bubble. It is not working. I have come pretty close to breaking in my new helmet while I work on Chemistry. For all of those times I feel like bashing my head in on my desk, at least my cranium would be well protected. Or at least the Department of Transportation seems to think it will be.

On top of school kicking my butt, I find myself without an outlet. I work for the family business, I live at home and I go to school. For all of my 24/25 years of life there has never been a fine line between the family business and home. I would not usually mind that, however I have nothing else to look forward to. My parents are very generous, they are letting me live with them rent free and save up for school in Texas. Which is huge since I am still paying back loans for my school shenanigans in Flagstaff. All they ask in return is that I respect their rules and their space. Very easy to do. But troubling at times. Between work and school, there is not much time to go out and meet new people. The church communities in the area have no young adult groups and I find myself at a huge canyon when it comes to reconnecting with folks I went to high school with. It is an interesting feeling. I do not feel like I am in high school again but I do feel trapped. It would probably help if the weather lightened up a bit so I could get outside and put my helmet to use. Well not actually put it to use but it does need to see a little sunshine too.

A lot of this is all disjointed thoughts but for all of those friends out there who find themselves beating their head with a textbook, hoping the words will leap off the page and soak in, you are not alone. I have found airing the disharmony to be oddly liberating and slightly humiliating. I considered my self a veteran to the college life and have been humbled by the struggles of this semester and it is not even midterms.

Good luck on midterms if you have them!

Thanks for the Memories

The body, especially the mind is a very tricky and unpredictable thing. When most people have a runny nose, sore throat, and fever they think, “oh, I caught a bug of some kind.” Hardly ever do they think about or realize that the amount of stress they are under can cause such a bodily reaction. Literally sick with stress.

Back in 7th grade, for about a week and a half. I would get a hall pass from my 5th period teacher and run to the bathroom and/or nurse’s office. Every time, the nurse found something wrong enough to warrant a phone call to my parents. I would get out of going to 6th and 7th period. After the second day my mom questioned what was happening and why I was getting sick, was it PE(6th period) or Band(7th period). I told her it was band. When in fact it was PE. And not even the class or activities but the teasing in the locker room. I was stressed all year, I even felt sick all year. I had no idea that I would actually BE sick over it. It was only stress after all.

Since then I know I have definitely been stressed. Mostly, I was aware of what was stressful. In the end I always knew that eventually it would be okay. But I have never been sick over it again, just crabby.

Much like you dread a test you did not study for, I dreaded a visit I was ready for. I knew seeing these people was going to be okay. It would be quick and painless and over before I realized it. I told myself all I had to do was keep my head down and remember all of the highlights of my time in Alaska. I even looked through all of my pictures and videos just so I could re-enforce my memory of Alaska. But then I got sick. The Thursday before I had what I thought was just a cold. Then it came with a fever. Then nerves. Then nausea. Then fear. My last decent nights sleep was on Wednesday and my last decent meal was on Saturday. Thank God my sister dragged me to the Albuquerque Grecian Festival to enjoy good food, music, and arts and crafts. All during the visit I did not eat and I did not sleep. And my mind went blank. When I had planned on spending countless hours remembering the fun adventures I had in Alaska I could no longer think of any. My mind was stuck on watching the clock across the room and count down the hours, then minutes, then seconds. I did have brief thought as I laid around, I thought about how convenient modern technology was. There was a quote etched into the wall and I wanted to take a picture, I wanted to remember it. But I had to resort to staring at it, repeating it over and over, and committing it to memory. Aside from that I watched the clock.

What I wanted to think about from Alaska…

The adventures started almost instantly. It was only preseason and I was doing things this year that I did not do at all last year. It was fun.

I spent a few evenings with Megan and Evan tying leaders and catching up. We talked about anything and everything. It was awesome! We had planned to go to an Elton John concert at the end of the season in Vancouver, Canada. That thought was going to lead to reminiscing about the concert and our time together in Canada. It was amazing to say the least.

I went on a spontaneous hiking adventure with Alicia and Joe wearing my vans and holding a tea cup in my hands. We ran into Dylan and continued hiking up the mountain. Joe showed us his huge burl and we wandered around a bit. That hike was the first time Alicia and I had a real conversation and all of us had a good laugh about the trouble she was having with her dresser. That thought would lead to island hopping and fishing with Joe and Heidi as well as all of the spontaneous adventures I had, had with Alicia.

Joe and I had found this beautiful little piece of Alaska where we planned on making a few chairs out of a fallen down tree. It was going to be our little hangout spot. We had a very clear view of Skowl Arm were we could see all of the surrounding land and watch as boats came in and out of the cove. It was awesome. The time I went fishing with him and Heidi we were unsuccessful but it was still a lot of fun. Joe is a big goof. Even though it was cold and grey and a ton of other crap was going on he was making us laugh! Thinking about that would unlock the memory of the time I took Heidi and her mom fishing near Black Rock.

I usual plan things out. If I do not have a plan I get a little panicky. I was slowly breaking out of that shell by spending time with Alicia. Every day at breakfast people would be discussing what they wanted to do and if it included fishing they would run to check out a boat on the dock. Alica would never commit. Last year I had only been kayaking a few times so this year I decided I wanted to do more of it. However, when it came to kayaks Alicia was the queen of it. almost every day she would be out in one. We had been going out together quite a bit. We really had gotten to know each other well. One time we went to the far side of the cove and kayaked up to the two islands that sit at the entrance. That was the farthest I had ever kayaked and my left arm was dead by the time we returned to the lodge. It probably did not help that as I pushed away from the rock I rolled my kayak so the journey back was a bit wet and chilly. It was a fun adventure, it is where I earned the nickname Turtle. Thinking about that unlocked the memory of hiking around the creek with Alicia and Dylan during preseason and the memory of going to the lake with Alicia and Bernadette on our preseason day off.

When I went out to Black Rock with Heidi and her mom we had a blast! I showed off pictures of my niece and we talked about travel adventures. It was also the time Heidi caught her first Yellow Eye! That fish had escaped her all season long last year. This year it was the last hook drop and totally at random. It was a beautiful fish. She was so happy she was jumping in the boat. It was the only fish we caught but it made the trip 100% better. That unlocked the memory of fishing with Sean.

During preseason Alicia, Dylan, and I wanted to go for a hike so we took out the Trashy Lady and went to see some wildlife. We walked up the hill so far we could no longer see the ocean. That was fun because it was nice just being lost in the trees for a moment. That is where I learned not to follow the exact foot placement of the person hiking in front of me. I fell into a hole and had a hard time getting out. Alicia and Dylan were no help, they just laughed. But I would too, so no hard feelings. I mean, I was in the hole and I was laughing anyway. That probably did not help either. That would unlock the memory of hiking around Old Kassaan with Dylan and Anthea.

When Alicia, Bernadette, and I took the kayaks out on our only day off in preseason we forgot to watch the tides. We found the closest piece of green where we knew that the tide would not wash the kayaks away and pulled them up. What we did not realize is that we put them on an island. Upon our arrival back from the lake we had to borrow the canoe from the boys to go get the kayaks, oops. That would unlock the memory about the time Alicia and I took a skiff out and forgot to check the fuel level.

Fishing with Sean was awesome. We had a great life talk which included some uninterrupted silence for deep thought. I definitely wished I had hung out with him more. We were on the hunt for some big juicy Halibut and ended up pulling up a shark. Now I can say I have punched a shark in the nose. Our very last line drop right off a little pinnacle did in fact win me a nice 26lb fish. It definitely was a win of a day. That memory unlocked the one when I went fishing with Bryan.

Visiting Old Kassaan was fun. Dylan had been there before so it was a first time adventure for Anthea and I. We poked around the shore, found some old tombstones and found a huge tree. Dylan and Anthea climbed way far up. We were not there for very long but it was still a worth while adventure and something I had never done before. That would then unlock the memory of going with Krista, Alicia, Hayley and Brian to the very end of McKenzie Inlet.

The one and only time I ever took a boat out and forgot to check the fuel level was probably one of the most epic adventures. It was a very stormy day and we managed to score the fastest boat. Alicia and I zipped up and down Skowl Arm exploring around and catching good footage on my GoPro. On our way back we thought maybe we had enough to make it back, but right as we entered the cove the engine puttered out and died. A neighbor had been on his way out and was kind enough to give us a tow back to the lodge. Even though it was not an ideal ending, the day was still epic.

Part way through the season the lodge needed a sous chef and something called me to go through my facebook friends. I contacted a friend that I had in high school and had not seen for about 5 years to see if he was available. He was available and was brought out to Alaska in no time. Finally after days of playing catch up and helping him get his feet under him and acquainted with the lodge I was able to get him out Salmon fishing. It was so nice to finally catch up! We talked about everything.

The last memory I wanted to focus on was going to the back of Mckenzie with Alicia, Krista, Hayley and Brian. It was Hayley and Brian’s last day so we wanted do something fun and get them out of the lodge for one last jaunt around Alaska. We ran around the creek catching Salmon with our bare hands. We took tons of pictures and explored along the shores. The pictures we got from that day are amazing. Just being in good company was enough to make anyone feel alive. Even though this marked the end of time, it was the exclamation point. I would not trade that day for anything.

With all of these memories reinforced because of the dread suffered for three straight days I can think about them now, whenever I want and they are now clearer than ever. So I can raise a toast to my experience last week and say, thanks for the memories. For that is the only lesson learned by it, if you can even call it that. Dread = motivation. Without being able to share my memories they would waste away into the air of the previous season and become less then a memory and more like a fairy tale. And these 12 memories were not even a third of them but what I thought would be enough to keep me afloat. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

There is not much that scares me, and I was terrified. And even though no one will understand that because I am having trouble fathom it myself, I now know I can handle just about anything. I just need to focus on the good. As best recited from memory.

“To the world you may be one person, but to one person you are the world.”