TagDeep Thoughts

Personal Neglect

Amazing that it took a major event to make me slow down enough to simply answer email. I made a conscious decision to remove myself from everything. I am currently hiding at a friend’s apartment with nothing but my cell phone (ok, can’t unplug) and my laptop. I have no laundry to do, no TV to watch, no bills to pay.

My online life, my online friends whom I have missed so much.

Life’s triage has narrowed out some of the things that, to me, matter most. Moving from one daily crisis to the next, interrupted by a major crisis is not the way to handle things. At our critical incident debrief I jokingly said that I manage stress by working more. That comment has echoed in my head since I uttered it.

Just the simple act of making dinner last night and getting a full night’s sleep has done wonders for my mental state.

The past few days have also made me realize how much I would be missed if I were no longer a living breathing entity.

There is no one luckier than I.

The day my life was threatened

Nurses are subjected to assault and battery every day by patients.

Hospitals cover it up.

Nurses are told they cannot press charges after being threatened, punched, kicked and sometimes straight beaten.

Today, a nurse was MURDERED in the ICU he worked at.  Shot dead along with two other people.

Every day I go to work, I expose myself to the most violent people imaginable.  I run the risk of contracting countless numbers of diseases that will kill me.  I am insulted, cussed at, screamed at, and all the while am expected to maintain my professionalism.  The following incident took away some of my mid-west innocence, even after working the street in some of the worst places in Los Angeles.

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She called me down the hallway, wanting to talk to me in private.  Her nephew had been shot in a drive-by two nights before.  He was 17, and the single bullet which severed his spinal cord halfway down his back changed his life in an instant.  The irony of the situation?  The bullet was meant for the brother he borrowed the car he was driving from.

The entire family was strangely happy.  His girlfriends were doting on him.  “Ace” and his family were ignoring the truth.  He would never walk again.

I too doted on him.  He seemed to be a good kid, and I wanted to make sure he was comfortable, but it was very apparent that no one was facing the truth.

“You will be able to walk again man!  You just need to be right with god.”

I inwardly cringed, becoming more and more concerned.  If discharge began on admission, I was already behind.  He had no other injuries and was headed straight to rehab from the ICU.

During a break in visiting hours, after kicking everyone out of the room, I pulled a chair up to the head of his bed.

“Ace, I think we should talk.”

“Yeah? What’s up?”

This was NOT the conversation I wanted to be having with a 17 year old.

“You doing okay with all of this?”

He quickly looked from my face to the ceiling.

“Yeah, I am.”

I could tell I was losing him.

“Do you understand how badly you are hurt?”

He looked me in the eye, and oh so quitely said, “Yeah, but I am not ready to talk about it yet.”

My hand went to his shoulder and gave it a squeeze.

“Ok, but when you are, you let us know, ok?  I want to make sure we are doing everything we can for you.”

I asked him if he needed anything right then and left the room, respecting his wishes, knowing that he did understand, neither of us having to say the words.  Somehow I felt that this kid was going to be okay.

Imagine my surprise when his furious, short, very fat aunt, who had been all smiles to me just a few hours before, threated to kill me.

Just like that.  In the hallway of the hospital.

“If you EVER tell my nephew he isn’t gonna walk again we will kill you!”

I had no idea that was what was what waiting for me when I followed her down the hall ‘someplace more private.’

It suddenly dawned on me.

I was a white nurse, caring for a black 17 year old kid, in the worst part of Philadelphia.  He was shot in a drive-by, his brother was a known gang member.  The family was looking for someone to blame.  An avenue for their anger.

I was it.

I don’t remember any more of the conversation, just that woman’s anger, and for the first time in my life, being afraid.

The conversation was short, and as I turned the corner, back to the the nurse’s station, all eyes were on me.  They had heard the raised voices, but not the words.  The manager and security were immediately called.  I had an escort out to my car in the parking lot that night.  The security guys meant well, but what were they going to do other than get shot too?  They didn’t have a gun.  They would have simply been two more victims.

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For the record?  I am a gun advocate.  I have my concealed carry permit.  Unfortunately, hospitals are one of those ‘sacred’ areas in which guns are not allowed.  I know someone will correct me if that is an incorrect statement, but every hospital I have worked at has ‘immediate termination’ in their hospital rules if you are caught carrying.  Sounds like colleges and universities does it not?

Please don’t think I would be packing heat for a shift.  But hire someone who can.  Back up nurses when they are threatened, assaulted and injured by patients.  Don’t make them the victim twice.

Why is it ok for nurses to take this kind of violence?

My thoughts are on the families of the victims in Georgia.

True Kleenex Moment—About emily

Today is my day for answering emails, writing, and catching up on all of the other things I avoided throughout the week. While watching TV I saw a commercial for Kleenex. You know the ones with the blue couch? Out of curiosity I went to the website and came across this:

“She was me. I was in love.
When she died, so did I. I
have yet to stop thinking of
her. But i know who i loved
and i know what is real. My
love was real. Thats what i
know.
I LOVE YOU EMILY. R.I.P.”

*sigh*

MLK Jr. Remembered

Last August, B.J. and I made the trip via train to pick up my car from our friend Paul in Northern Mississippi. As our adventures go, we got into the station in Memphis a bit early and had time to kill before we were picked up. After a good Southern breakfast we were out the door and walking in the thick humidity. Not having a clue where we were, we just kinda headed up one street and down the next looking at the buildings, drenched in sweat.

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It was a sureal moment as I turned, without knowing, and directly faced the balcony where MLK was shot dead by a sniper. In that split second, I could almost see the men standing over his body, pointing in the direction of the gun fire. A death that occurred over 7 years before I was born, was represented in my mind through photographs.

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We wandered closer and took a series of photos, me all excited and somewhat impressed with my instant recognition. Although the museum was closed, we struck up a conversation with a couple of fellow travelers who took the photo of us by the plaque outside what was the Lorraine Motel.

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From the official site:

The aftershock of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 4, 1968 would plunge the Lorraine Motel, a small minority-owned business in the south-end of downtown Memphis, into a long and steep decline. The motel’s owner, Walter Lane Bailey kept a couple of rooms as a shrine to Dr. King and to Bailey’s wife, Lorraine, who died of a brain hemorrhage several hours after King was shot.

By 1982, the Lorraine Motel was a foreclosed property. A group of prominent Memphians, concerned that this historic site would be destroyed through continued neglect and indifference, formed the Martin Luther King Memorial Foundation to save the Lorraine. Using a design report by a former Smithsonian Institution, Benjamin Lawless, the Foundation started seeking funding for the nations’s first comprehensive exhibit chronicling America’s civil rights movement.

Yet another page to be written in the volumes of my crazy life. MLK Day is a bit more real to me this year.

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Flickr set here.

Follow up on Post from Shrimplate through Instapundit

Interestingly enough, I just came across this post, THE NEW YORK TIMES SAYS RETURNING TROOPS ARE MURDERERS, from Instapundit in direct relation to the post I wrote in response to Shrimplate, who blamed violent behavior on the military.

Glenn Reynolds links to the following:

The Media Does It Again
by Armed Liberal at January 13, 2008 1:07 AM

This references an article by the NYT which blames the murders committed by soldiers on their tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. The spin makes for a great “damn this war! It makes them baby killers!” story. All too easy for someone else to spew shit at the military.

According to the post, the murder rate for those having served is 7.08/100,000 population.

General US offender rate for homicide in the 18 – 24 y/o range is 26.5/100,000. For 25 – 34, it’s 13.5/100,000.

Enough said.

Armyemily
1LT McGee
aka crzegrl, one each

Response to Post from Shrimplate

This is in response to Shrimplate’s post entitled Building Number Five I
Believe Who is Carl T. Hayden With an “E”?
 about a woman who was gang raped while serving in the Navy and her plight.  I considered leaving a comment but decided to address it here instead.  Please read the above link before continuing.

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The military is built on a cross section of the citizens it protects. With that, come both good and the bad individuals.

War is horrible. War is necessary at times to do what we can to protect those who cannot protect themselves. Please reference the horror in Kenya this past week.

Those who harmed this sailor should rot in hell for what they did, but the military did not teach them to rape. If they did, I missed that day in Basic Training. If they did, I missed that in my Officer Basic classes.

The military taught me to protect not only those who cannot protect themselves, but those who fight along side of me. To be loyal, never quit. It has brought the most trustworthy, dedicated friends who would follow me to the ends of the earth, and fight beside me if need be.

To blame this woman’s plight on the military is to spit on me, and that is fine. I have chosen to serve, and if need be, give my life to protect your freedom to express, from your comfortable home, your broad sweeping opinion on the military.

I was not, and never have been an individual, “attracted to the abuse, failed promises, death, disfigurement, and neglect that we offer those who choose to serve military in the name of United States citizens.” Instead, I was attracted to the discipline, honor, loyalty, promise of opportunity, and the chance to do my part to protect what I believe in. And that is what I found.

The Navy did not rape this woman, horrible individuals did. Placing broad sweeping blame on the military means you do not comprehend what the military truly is.  I would suggest that you raise your right hand, pick up a weapon and serve along side of me.

Regardless, I hope you thank the next Soldier, Sailor, or Marine you see for the freedom you have not earned, but were given.

Why I am a member of “The Club”

I am spending part of the afternoon going through the posts I flagged over the past year for one reason or another. This post made me instantly think of my friends in “The Club,” and why their company, wit, opinions, and friendship is important to me. I know it is bad form to quote an entire post, but damn it all, I did it anyways.

High School:

This is what high school was supposed to be like: wild house parties where everyone gets drunk and crazy and hooks up and passes out and drama happens and everyone pitches in to clean up so your parents don’t find out. Long afternoons bleeding into evenings hanging out on the shag pile carpet with four of your best friends, making mall runs to pick up colorful toys, watching anime with the sound off, arguing about what music to listen to and telling each other everything about your whole entire life and laughing uncontrollably at what idiots you all are. And then when we’re around other people and we say “look, a stick!” or “what are we listening to again?” or “we need to burp the bubbledragon” we all burst out laughing and nobody else understands why.

This is what high school was supposed to be like, but it wasn’t for any of us. We were all too weird or too unpopular or too busy getting good grades or getting into trouble or moving a billion times or working all the time to spend all day lazing around on a carpet cracking each other up. So we have to do it now. In between having jobs and planning a theme camp and throwing parties and starting shit up and making things happen, we have to lie flat on our backs laughing so hard we can’t breathe. As smart and successful as we are in real life, we act like retards around each other. Because for some of us, it’s the first time in our lives we really can.

Although we didn’t all always fit into the “weird” category it is good to find those you will go to the grave with. Kev, MPauli, and Benny…I miss you tons. We have to quit being so damned busy….The Girl ™

My Most Unexpected Christmas Memory

I was given so many wonderful gifts this year. My most treasured, however were the moments I was able to spend with my family and friends. Although this is always very important to me, it seems as though it was magnified this year, as it was condensed within a few short days.

It began with dinner at the ‘New-New House.’ Mom and dad, brother and sisters (and their spouses), nieces and nephews, and Patrick and B.J. were all present for the holiday christening of my parent’s new home. Although Sarah and B.J. postponed their beer drinking rematch (my money is on Sarah!), Lily was the queen of the veggie dip conduit (carrot) thanks to Uncle Patrick.

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Michigan Holiday Flickr set here.

Next came time with Patrick’s family in southern California. It was our first Christmas all together with his family in years. It was amazing to just simply sit with them and spend time in their beautiful, peaceful, new house. Of the days spent with them, I am also grateful for not one, but two, afternoons with one of the most poised, intelligent and interesting men I have ever met. Peter–I look forward to many more long conversations and simply being in your company.

Yesterday, prior to heading back to the cold of Michigan, I spent a few short hours with both a my great friend Rene from the Army, as well as my Uncle Michael and his partner Heather, all of whom I haven’t seen in years. As always, it was just not long enough!

Out of all of these great memories of Christmas 2007, the most unexpected of all, was the time I had with Kevin, his wife Monica and Paul over video iChat on Christmas evening.

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iChat Screen Shot
(l to r) Monica, Kev, Paul, me lower middle

Afterward, I smiled like a crazy girl with an amusing inner dialog for the rest of the evening.

Not to be forgotten were all of the well wishes from people all over the country and world in the form of email, text messages and comments on my blog/myspace/facebook. It was great to hear from you all.

So, as I refocus my energies on something other then completing the next stage of Star Wars Lego on Patrick’s PS3, I am basking in the memories from this holiday season. I was reminded, yet again, how rich my life is because of those I love.

6th Wedding Anniversary

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Menu from the restaurant with
the staff’s warm wishes to us!

It always amazes me when I have patients tell me they have been married for over 50 years. It seems to happen quite often, and every time I am still surprised.

Patrick and I have been married for 6 years and that too surprises me when I realize another year has passed. We have seen, done, and survived more than most. It just always seems easier with him at my side.

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Us at the Long Beach Aquarium this summer

Dinner was amazing, the staff at the restaurant wonderful, and my anniversary present? Perfect. It is so good to have him home.

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Me and my Martini

Thank you Patrick for being my best friend. I love you.

Balance

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Ben and Patrick at the Huntington

Most of my life has been out of balance. Too much energy spent striving towards one goal or another. Too much passion if there is such a thing.

Sometimes it takes being at the bottom to realize what your life is supposed to be.

For an intelligent woman I can sometimes be so stupid.

At 4:30 this morning I woke up out of a deep sleep. My subconscious bridged the gap to my conscious.

I take comfort in knowing that I am so very loved and have been given the time to work things through in my mind and in my heart.

Thank you for being my best friends.

Thank you both for loving me so much.

Thank you for being my balance.