Sunday, September 20, 2015

Deciding when it's enough

My step-daughter had to make a difficult decision last week. Her 8 year-old cat was dealing with renal failure. He seemed so young, but it isn't an uncommon thing for middle aged cats to develop kidney disease. We were giving him IV fluids at home and feeding him a renal care diet. His response to these things just wasn't what we had hoped. He was getting so thin and was a little more than 7 lbs. Conner struggled over what to do.

Looking at end of life choices sucks. Oswald would have moments of perking up and seeming like himself. That would make it seem like putting him down was not the right thing. Then, you would be close to him, smell the sickness oozing from him, and see and feel how skeletal he had become.

So, on Thursday, September 17th, in the morning, Conner took Oswald to the vet with Shawn and her Grandma. I was not there, but I got home just before they did. Conner and I sat outside and I let her say what she wanted to say, cry as much as she wanted. She praised the vet for how comforting and supportive she was toward Conner and Oswald during all of it. This made me grateful because I knew it helped Conner feel a little more at peace with her decision.

When it comes to these kinds of situations, it is so hard to know what to do. Are there enough good days for the pet to out weigh the bad? Is the pet suffering? Do we know for sure? Are we not ready to let go of our companion? Are we living in denial and thinking that things aren't bad enough yet?  Sometimes, I think it boils down to whose life are we trying to preserve?

As much as I miss the little bugger and I can see my buddy Jarvis wondering where the kitty went, I know Conner did the right thing. She knew ending his suffering was more important than her trying to hold on a little longer.

Friday, September 18, 2015

From my point of "The View"

Here's another post about recent events on "The View" to get lost in the world wide web's abyss. Yeah, I'm adding my -2&cent.

I watched the clip of the segment and as it started I thought it was being blown out of proportion in the "click bait" way the internet has created with trending topics. It seemed to me that Michelle Collins was simply (or maybe not so simply) saying that she didn't think reciting a self-written monologue was really that much of a talent when others were singing opera or playing instruments. Nursing wasn't under attack, in my point of view. Perhaps that would have been the end of it and nursing would become the focus if Miss Colorado, Kelley Johnson, wasn't wearing her scrubs while reciting the monologue, we'll never know. Then...

The conversation had all the cross-talk interrupting that I have come to know as the norm for these panel talk shows. At that point, nursing was starting to become part of it. "Nursing costume" and "doctor's stethoscope" were thrown out for all to hear in viral video clips across all of social media.

Since then, apologies were issued about the misconstrued statements. Michelle Collins expressed her mad love for nurses and how they deserve raises. This after some pretty negative tweets toward the nursing community that she since deleted. Deleted, I'm guessing, because the would conflict with the public apology being given to save the show.  Joy Behar's apology about her "doctor's stethoscope" comment was thrown into the mix. She played the "some of my best friends" card by naming the people she knows who use stethoscopes which are not the doctors only instruments. THEN, her back-pedaling went on to say she really had not been paying attention to the whole conversation that had been taking place. She simply saw a woman in scrubs and wearing a stethoscope on the screen and was wondering what that was about. Probably one of the worst things a talk show host could admit to, in my opinion. REALLY? You weren't paying attention to what was being TALKED about on the TALK show you host....especially that day when you were sitting in what has been known in the moderator seat at the table. That's really not helping your case and perhaps you should stop and gather your thoughts before TALKING.

As time has passed since the initial criticism of her "talent", I've thought more about what "talent" is. Maybe Miss Colorado wasn't reciting the most profound monologue ever. It may not have been as enthralling as a Ted Talk from Bren&eacute Brown, but I know that public speaking isn't in my wheelhouse. So, whether she talked about nursing or not, speaking on a stage without nothing but yourself present is pretty damn talented in my eyes.

Now, if people were thinking that she was presenting nursing as her talent, I'm on board with nursing being a talent. I don't know how many of the nurses I know do it. I have no poker face to keep me from completely breaking down in front of patients when they need me to be my strongest. The list of other skills and talents nurses need to get through the day is longer than I can even think of, I'm sure. Careers require talents. I mean, when asked about strengths in an interview or trying to sell yourself on paper in a r&eacutesum&eacute, most often, you are listing some kind of talent.

I'm not sure if Kelley Johnson can sing, dance, or play an instrument. Maybe she can or maybe she can't. Maybe she thought her message was stronger than if she would have done any of those things. If I were the type of person to be in pageants, I'm not sure what I would try to do for that portion of the competition. Would pulling out a couch, sitting at my laptop, watching reality TV while playing #hashtag games on Twitter work? Miss America isn't strictly a talent competition, you can find those kinds of things on FOX and NBC (trust me, I know TV). The winner of the pageant goes on tour, but not a concert tour, a tour based on the platform they wish to promote to improve the world. As a nurse who didn't win the final title, Miss Colorado is still going on to improve the world one patient, patient's family, and coworker at a time.

Finally, what "The View" hosts and many others seem to have missed in Kelley Johnson's monologue is how the message went beyond nursing. It was about not minimizing yourself with the use of "I'm just a..."  

Monday, September 14, 2015

Hard work, dedication, and dreams coming true

I love my husband and have many reasons for doing so. Some of them are none of your damn business. However, I do have some things I am willing to share, even brag about to the masses. So, here it goes.

Over 20 years ago, he met his friend Al at CU Boulder. Out of that meeting they developed their geeky interests and unique talents into a long-term friendship. They really had creative energy between them that, all these years later, brought them to a realization of a collaborative dream.

The original idea was to create a superhero role-playing game. They began work on this and from that came a whole other project! Five years ago they launched their webcomic The Specialists.

I admire them both. Al is a talented artist, a good friend, has good taste in woman seeing as he married my long-time friend Linda. Shawn is a talented writer, a good friend, married me so the good taste may be debatable, and he's great father.

This creative team has come quite far since the initial launch of the comic. They have developed a fan base, a growing audience, and actively engage readers in dialogue via comments on the site. The commitment they have made to this project has my admiration, especially since both have full-time careers and lives outside of the comic. How they do it is still a mystery to me.

At this point, they have finished 4 chapters of the story of The Specialists. As a chapter finished online, they printed them in paperback, taking them to various comic/pop culture conventions. Now, they are working on releasing a hardback volume comprised of all four chapters in one beautiful book. If you would like to help them to reach this next phase of their vision, please consider backing them in their Kickstarter campaign. Passing along the campaign to those you think may be interested, pledging even $1, and/or following the online version of The Specialists are all appreciated ways of giving your support to my personal superhero and our superhero friend. They are quite the dynamic duo. 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Ready for the ride to come to a complete stop

This medication roller-coaster is getting old. I've gone from 80 mg of Paxil to 60 mg and holding. A trip home halted the taper so that I wasn't changing again while gone. This was wise, I guess, because I lost my shit in a REALLY big way making it the worst trip home in the 10 years since I've lived away.

Anyway, a few more days until my next appointment.

I'm in a dark place.

Maybe Wednesday will bring light.