Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

This is one of those days that usual knock me on my ass. After all, it was Joseph who first made me a mother. This year somehow was different. There weren't the quadmire thoughts of grief and regret and remorse; more just an internal sense of gratitude. A good amount of time has been spent on my part dissecting the reasons why this year has been any different, and I have no answers really. I just have a stronger foothold in the sense of carrying him with me. A stronger knowledge perhaps of the frailty of the human body; that none of us get out of here alive maybe? Regardless, I am more at peace.

That being said, I have had a bit too much wine tonight. Finals are tomorrow and to say that I am tense would be an understatement. Nevermind that I have excelled through the semester. Nevermind that I have proven to myself over and over again that I belong here. It is finals week and my self doubt and anxiety are enjoying this special time for celebrating their existance. It is the most wonderful time of the year for mental disorders, finals week. I am not the exception. I am the rule.

Nick chose to cut his hair into military style yesterday. What is perhaps most startling, along with the fact that he is content with it not hanging like a red curtain in his face, is the smile he has been wearing ever since. I would have rather sawed off a toe than to have done something my parents openly wanted me to do at his age. But he saw the benefit for himself in his own goals, and did it, and still let himself revel in the fact that his mother enjoys his nongreasy hair now that it is short enough to maintain with some semblance of personal hygiene.

Alex had a trip to the local water part with his class band this weekend. He didn't do a good job of putting on his sunscreen and is suffering the consequences. Both of them are redheads and I don't know how to get through to them the importance of not getting sunburned without scaring the crap out of them. Even the tops of his feet were sunburned. And his soft, tender earlobes. I can only pray it is its own lesson. Inadequate SPF application = PAIN.

We didn't celebrate much today. Stewart came over last Saturday night and we had dinner together and watched (save me) Dr. Who, which the boys love. Mom and I have plans to stay next Saturday night at a swanky hotel in Frisco and then to indulge on Sunday in spa treatments, shopping and movies while Joe is out golfing. The fact that this is finals week has pushed everything else either early or late and I am lucky to have such an understanding family.

I survived my first semester - at least I ASSUME I did - I don't expect to fail the final. Having the summer off kind of stinks. I would rather keep going. We just now got to where we feel like we have anything to offer to patients in the way of teaching or nursing care. Two and a half months off will be just enough to make us feel inadequate again. But the school has a good reputation and NCLEX pass rate. Time to push the "I Believe" button and let life happen.

I love being a Mom and a woman. I am thankful for the opportunities and blessings both things impart.

Happy Mother's Day everyone.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


Tomorrow is the day I have been dreading all semester. It is our last day of lecture for this semester, and the topic is going to be "Death and Dying". And while everyone is listening to the physiology of death and the physical changes of dying, I will be sitting there with my mental images, having watched the changes take place in my once dynamic and engaging son. As they talk about the emotions of the patient as they look death in the face, I will be recalling a conversation in which my 13 year old informed us of his wishes if he were to ever be on a ventilator in a state where recovery was not possible. When they talk about the aftermath, the care of the body, the potential familial and caregiver reactions and how to help them, I will be swamped with the memories of that hollow aftermath. There are others in class who have felt loss. I am not the only one. I wonder if they are afraid tonight too?

When I started back at school, my classes took me to many places that were hard for me to face. The immune system in particular was disturbing as I saw all the ways it was supposed to work and thus all the ways it did not in my child. The way cancer cells work, the Paris Hiltons of body cells, immature and refusing to grow up, doing nothing but sucking up resources and propagating their own kind while contributing nothing useful to the function of the whole. The kinds of viruses and the risks of immunosuppression, the way lungs work and the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood. How narcotics function...all the little chinks in the armor of my determination and the careful facade of my polite and dignified grief. I have done well with them all. And I have enough experience to know - these moments of abject fear are more in my mind than in reality, and their actual happening have always been far less traumatic than my own mental build-up and fear of them. And I hope that is the case again tomorrow. But right now I am wondering why I chose a seat in the middle of the class, third row back, the row where instructors tend to stand as they lecture and where I am least likely to make a quick, dignified get-away out of the line of curious eyes. I know I won't fall apart. But I am pretty sure that will be a matter of pure determination.

Maybe I am just tired tonight, but I dread this. Joe took me out tonight. We had sushi and mini margaritas and went to Home Depot and bought Knockout roses for the backyard. We rented a movie and drank a little wine and laughed and flirted and played. I was so relieved to get out of the house that my eyes teared up when we left. I needed that respite. And I am sure it has helped with the intensity of dread I am feeling right now. But it doesn't change that it will happen. I can only look forward to this time tomorrow night, when it will be over and life back to normal with nothing further in the immediate future to spark this panic that I have not felt in quite some time now. I will be glad when tomorrow is through.