October 21, 2010

Dr. Pepper - 55-Cents!

Yesterday I started my new job. Yes, the third nursing job I've had since we moved to Denver the first of August.

My friend, Floyd, called to congratulate or tease me - I'm not sure which, but he probably doesn't either. lol

"What is this? Your third job"?, he asked without much of a prelude as is typical for him.

"Okay, Kaiser doesn't count. I was only there for three horrible days", I answered when I could only recount one job.

Fact is, I've discovered with my 40-year nursing resume, I can have a choice of many, many, nursing positions here in Denver. When I posted my resume on CareerBuilders, I had at least five offers - firm offers - without even an interview! So why not find one that has the organization, leadership, and professional opportunities I deserve?

I told Floyd (and later Tania who also got on the phone for a delightful 'family' chat), that I knew the last job was going to be a challenge when I went in knowing there was no nursing leadership. But, I thought I would be able to make a difference.

After about a month, it was clear this facility is mired in its inadequacy and is too far mucked to care about anything but survival. I offered to step in, but administration didn't care enough to even know my name. (I got a chastising note from an interim DON with my name spelled as "Erkle".)

I could write a book on my frustrations and challenges there, but readers appreciate "good news" stories, and I enjoy writing about the positive events of my life.

Needless to say, my first 'official' RN job quickly became very bittersweet, and I saw that the situation was only going to get worse. When they called me at home and very rudely ordered me (and all the other nurses) to 'get in here yesterday" and do some charting regarding an incident report that had been done without our knowledge, I was ready to quit on the spot. (Jim talked me out of that.)

I gave a polite two-week notice and said good-bye to many great nursing friends and even some patients and their families who didn't want me to leave.

So yesterday was an orientation day at my new nursing job where I basked in the sunshine of good leadership, excellent presentations, clear chain-of-commands, specific job descriptions, policy & procedures for every situation, organized med rooms, unit secretaries to transcribe orders and answer phones, patient assignments based on care needs, and safe, comfortable, desk chairs that don't fall down when you sit on them.

My family & friends know that my one 'weakness' is Diet Dr. Pepper. And, the magical number for hubby and me is the number 55.

That's why when I called hubby during a break and said simply, "They have diet Dr. Pepper in the machines here, and it costs 55-cents", it was all he needed to know.

I'm saying a prayer that my instincts are to be trusted, and this new position as RN Charge Nurse on the rehab unit of a very large Denver Center will be everything I'm looking for, and I will enjoy many years of happy nursing for this company.

Take Care on the Journey,
Your friend in life,

October 10, 2010

Parallel Worlds - Linked By An Angel

This notebook was given to me by one of three women who showed up at my side as I sat on the bench in the mountain. Who were they?
(Linda Meikle photo)

Someone once said, and I found it quoted on the Internet this morning, "Treat another man's faith gently; it is all he has to believe in." Athen Alus.

Yesterday, as I sat on a park bench in severe back pain, three women came up to me. One of them said, "I had a dream, and I saw YOU sitting here on this bench in this place. I didn't know what I would find when I came looking for you, but here you are - just as I saw in my dream."

She didn't know I was in pain, but she knew she had something to offer me, and she had FAITH in her belief to come and do what she could.

She didn't know that the moment she touched me in greeting, the severe back spasms disappeared!

But, I digress. There's more. Much more.
There were two other young women with her. Woman #2 had a piece of paper that had a list of words in scribbled form. The third young woman sat beside me and said she was "scared' to be doing this in such faith. (Later, I discovered she is also a Registered Nurse.)

They introduced themselves (several times) and came very close to apologizing many times. I'm sorry that I cannot remember their names, nor did I get any information from them, although for that I'm quite puzzled.

Understand that I'm not sitting all alone on a park bench! We were in a little town called Estey's Park high in the Colorado Mountains where an American Indian celebration was going on. Because the mountain pass was closed just up the road due to bad weather, all the diverted traffic was adding to the already packed tourist town where a weekend celebration going on.

Traffic was at a standstill, and there was no place to park anywhere. After finding a handicapped spot (thanks, Denise) several blocks from where hubby wanted to browse the stores along the street, we walked to the packed sidewalks of tourists and shops.

I'm sure it was from having been driving through the mountains for several hours, then getting out of the car into a snowy, chilling, wind that made my 'bad' back go into spasms such as I have rarely suffered.

I had no choice but to sit on one of many sidewalk benches and insist that hubby walk on and come back to get me. He didn't really want to, but I assured him I'd be right there when he came back. (I didn't tell him how badly my back hurt, or he would have never left my side.)

I couldn't sit up straight. I couldn't lean forward, nor could I find any relief when I stretched and leaned back. The pain was so bad, I was sweating in the bone-chilling wind. I was not sure what I was going to do.

Then this young lady maybe in her early 30's with long blond hair came up to me and looked puzzling at me.

I said, "Do I know you?" Thinking maybe she was a nurse I had worked with briefly.

She answered,"I'm on a treasure hunt." She had a hopeful smile and a friendly look in her eyes as she introduced her two friends.

"Oh, are you geocaching?" I asked.

"No not that," she answered in a mysterious tone of voice.

I'll try to keep this short, although I'd like to go into every detail of the next few minutes, so I can remember it for as long as I live.

Lady #1 said she dreamed that she would find a woman with blond hair sitting on a bench in front of a red awning, and two dogs would be there. She explained how she saw my silhouette, and it was my face she saw. (I have blond highlights now, for those who know me with dark brown hair.)

The bench, the red awning, two dogs walking by, and my face were all just as she had seem them in her dream. (There were also two dog bowls of water on the sidewalk outside the store where I was sitting. But, apparently two dogs were going past me when she saw me sitting there.)

(I, on the other hand, believe that in a parallel world, my beloved Sheba and Ching-Ching are watching over me. But, that's MY faith.)

So, she knew she had to talk to me.

I think she asked if she could help me. I told her I was sitting there because my back hurt too badly to walk.

She asked if they could pray for my back.

"Only if you get done before my husband gets back" I responded.

Completely misunderstanding why I said that, she responded by saying she understood my concern of a "nonbeliever".

I never had a chance to tell her it was because I knew if he came back and saw three women kneeling in prayer in front of me on that busy sidewalk, he would rush over and say,"What's wrong? What's wrong?" And be very worried and upset!!!!

But, before they could continue, I saw Jim coming my way with a questioning look on his face. I did something I have never done. I SIGNED in sign language with a circle around my mouth meaning, "We are talking." (At least that's what Jim does when I'm talking on the phone, and he wants to know who I'm talking to.)

He immediately felt at ease for my safety. But, lady #1 had seen me 'signing' at someone and searched the crowd of people until she saw him looking at me. She SIGNED back at him asking his name. (She thought he was deaf. She knew sign language.)

Jim immediately went to her and explained that he had taught his handicapped son sign language of sorts and that his signing is really very rusty (and that he can hear quite well).

The 'signing' experience set us all at ease, including Jim which is rather unusual. He is normally very cautious about personal things. And, while he is not a 'non-believer', he doesn't place a lot of faith and trust in religious groups. But, he is far from being a 'non-believer!"

He felt right at ease with the women, telling them more in a few seconds than he ever does with anyone! Before I knew it, he was part of the circle of us holding hands in a prayer-circle (in the middle of the noise, busy, sidewalk) asking God to help him find a good job in just the non-profit area that he wants. (Ok. Where's my faith? I had assumed he would go back shopping and leave me with these kind women. And, this prayer was not for my healing.)

I haven't mentioned the "list" yet. They had come up with some words that were suppose to 'apply' to me. Here they are as I recall them...

Two Dogs
Chronics illness - stomach problems
New York
Going in circles
The letter "R"
(Cobalt) blue

As I said a few postings back, I'm not here to judge. I'm telling my story. Something I'm not afraid to do.

After prayer with Jim that he agreed to, he stepped aside to let us continue in whatever we were doing before he got there.

I tried to explain the list and its meaning. (Although I didn't need to list to know the women were part of a purpose I couldn't explain. I was sitting there free of pain!!!!)

I told them I had called off work yesterday because of stomach pain (not my back), and I was born in New York City. My stomach has been a chronic illness since I was a small child! I couldn't explain the meaning of our two dogs much because I still cry when I try to talk about Sheba. But, I knew!!! Jim had explained that we gave out 55 roses at our wedding, and my photography business in Ohio was called EnglishRose Photography. I feel like I'm going in circles with my job. I don't know what the letter "R" could mean.

Woman #1 had on a cobalt blue coat (that I tried fruitlessly to find after they left), but she thought the cobalt blue would apply to me in some way.

I'm thinking the "R" might have more meaning than RN. I was a "licensed practical" nurse, and now I'm a 'registered' nurse.

With my permission, they knelt in front of me on that busy sidewalk that soon became hushed and silent as they prayed for my back to heal and for my life to find its purpose and meaning.

"Her husband says she has an angel on her shoulder. May she be surrounded by angels, and may her husband see those angels," they prayed.

Afterwards, woman #1 asked if I felt healing during the prayer. "Sometimes it takes a second prayer," she offered.

I don't believe she ever did understand when I told her that my extreme pain lifted like a "jolt' when she first touched my shoulder.

I think she left me knowing that her mission was fulfilled, but I still wonder if she really knew the bigger picture of her purpose for me. She and her two believers were going on the faith they had, and I'm glad I was there to fulfill the purpose of that faith - and mine!

No. My back nor my stomach are healed. But, I've not had any spasms, and can enjoy regular activities of daily living as we like to chart in nursing. After that experience yesterday, Jim and I walked to several stores and back to the car in complete comfort!

I'm thankful today that I was part of something we can't explain, but must believe in faith was meant to be.

This morning, my cat, Ceasar, reminded me of that parallel world or universe when he was outside the window of the patio door looking in. He could see me inside, but couldn't figure out how he could see me and not be with me. I quickly took a picture of him looking in, but not looking at me. He's looking for something he doesn't understand.

And, neither do I. I just know that it exists, and I was very close to it.

While some call parallel worlds "a dark fantasy or fiction", I believe it could be a universe that is separated from us by a "single quantum event", and sometimes we fold back on ourselves and are touched by that event in time and space.

Some call it God, Faith, Nature, the Universe, and much more. I hope we treat it all very gently because it is all we have to believe in.

Take Care on the Journey,
Your friend in life,

October 9, 2010

Elk, Colorado Mountains and Snow

For those who don't have access to my Facebook, here are some photos from our mountain trip today. (Linda Meikle photos)
I'll post more when the film is developed.
I also have a very interesting, strange, mysterious, inspiring, story to write about something that happened to me today as I sat on a bench at Estey's park to wait for Jim.
I'll title it, "Parallel Worlds".
Take Care on the Journey,
Your friend in life,

Cororado First Snow

We had our first snow in the high altitudes on October 6, 2010. This is a black & white photo taken as close as we could get due to bad weather on the mountain peaks of the Rocky Mountain National Forest on Oct. 9. The line is a high wire going across the canyon between us and the mountains. I hope you can click on the photo (at my blog site) for a close-up. I won't know how it looks until I post it. Enjoy.

Take Care on the Journey,

October 8, 2010

More Colorado Mountain Photos 10-09-10

This is where we were headed, but turned back by bad weather.
This is what I was looking for. Aspens turning golden in the forest!

Yep, it was snowing in the Rocky Mountain National Forest.
Hopefully, you can click the photos for closer views.
Take Care on the Journey,

October 6, 2010

Do I Know You?

This is suppose to be a blog where "all the women are strong', but while there is lots of strength here on my website, I feel a little washed out today.

When I got up this morning, I reached into the refrigerator for some juice, and my back went into spasms so badly that I dropped it all over the floor.

Before that, my cat woke me up with a scream at 4:30 when he bit my foot as he was trying to get me out of bed! (He got locked out of the bedroom!) Ceasar sleeps all day, and wants to play at night. I have to talk with hubby about keeping that cat awake while I'm at work.

Today I got my first paycheck, and it had over 1/3 of my pay taken out in TAXES! Imagine making $600 and having $200 in taxes. I used to calculate 20% at most, but this is 33%. Hubby is going to have to look into that also. (He's my tax man too!)

Last night hubby did the grocery shopping. Something he's taken over because of my work schedule. While he's great at remembering everything and picking up some special goodies that he knows I like, I was remorseful because I didn't have any coupons to give him. I actually fussed a little instead of thanking him for doing such a good job. It wasn't because I didn't appreciate his willingness to help, but the guilt of not having those coupons ready. Seems like there just isn't enough time in the day for me.

As I mentioned on FB, we're having a fire drill at work this afternoon that will evacuate the entire 200-bed nursing home. I can't imagine how in the world they are going to accomplish this!!!!! But, I can certainly imagine how upset and confused many of my patients are going to be for the next few days, and how totally impossible it will be to keep a decent schedule for the rest of my shift tonight.

But, the kicker is this one. Yesterday I gave my two-week notice. It was a very positive letter of departure, but when I took it to Human Resource she said, "Oh I can't take that. Last time I did, they kicked my *%@!" She told me to give it to the interim director of nurses.

At that office, the IDON took my resignation letter, looked at me and said, "Do I know you?" (Seriously!) She also asked me if I was a RN or LPN and then said, "In your position, aren't you suppose to give a month's notice?"

I responded that I haven't even been there for a month, and a two-week notice is acceptable, and that she's had several contacts with me on my unit.

The joke now at work when I pass someone in the hall is, "Do I know you?" Word gets around like wildfire at a place like that. Especially something this funny and sad at the same time.

I've accepted a new job as RN Supervisor of a rehab unit working the Baylor shift, so I will have the week days to enjoy all the reasons we moved out here. And, I feel that I can fill some important nursing shoes during a time that many of the supervisors and administration are not around.

Several of my new and long-time friends are posed to give recommendations to a job I've already been offered. It's wonderful to know that I have so many loving and faithful friends in so many places.

This makes my heart happy.

Take Care on the Journey,
Your friend in life,

October 3, 2010

Too Beautiful For A Work-Day!

The weather here in Denver is gorgeous! (Did I spell that right?) No matter the spelling, it's so beautiful and perfect for sitting a spell on the porch letting the soft mountain breeze tantalize your mind into thinking it's a perfect day for calling in "sick' to work.

I never call in sick, and won't start now even though I'm exhausted and still have a bad headache. Maybe I'm not drinking enough water for this thin air. I forget about those necessities sometimes.

Tomorrow (Monday) is a scheduled off day, and I'm so looking forward to it!!!!

I should get my coupons in order and check out grocery sales, but I'm positively sure I'm pushing hubby Jim out the door and headed to the misty, autumn, mountain air of the local mountain peaks.

Oh, please don't tell (but, I really don't care if you do), I'm interviewing for a new job... I'm interested because it's called a Baylor shift where I can work Saturday and Sunday 16 hours and get paid for a 40-hour week.

Then we will be able to so all the things we came out here to do!

I will also have the title of "Charge Nurse" which I do NOT have at my current job five days a week. And, I will get off the med cart that is very hard for me physically. I'm pushing the cart and pushing pills 8-10 hours without a break. And, my current job just added extra responsibilities and no extra help or time. I have made it clear to one and all that I'm "not happy" about that.

While my current job has a great afternoon team that I love working with, and I find that my experience is often called upon, it's physically very hard for me, and we still have no director of nurses (DON) and only interim management of which I have had FIVE in the six weeks since I first made contact with them.

I told them I was interested in the assistant DON position, but no interest has been shown. I think they like that I'm on the floor (as we call it) and can handle anything that comes up.

So, here's to new ventures both at work and in the mountains!

Take Care on the Journey,
Your friend in life,