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My Masterpiece

About six months ago my boss asked me if I would make a T-shirt quilt for her niece. I said sure just bring in the shirts. Of course the gal who always loses her debit card forgot to bring them home. Fear not, for my boss put them in her office until I remembered I had forgotten them. She gave me free rein to do whatever I wanted.

Therefore I googled T-shirt quilt ideas which was my first mistake. I quickly decided I didn’t want to do the standard cut them all the same size. I did not head the warning that said do not attempt a quilt with varying sizes if you are not an expert. Ok so I thought this girl is just saying this so she can make all the money. It was game on.
I then cut all the shirts up in various sizes. I used both front, back, a sleeve, and a pair of sweat pants. I then laid them out on our pool table and quickly realized I was in over my head.
After about a week of thinking how am I going to make this work and considering sending them to the girl who said not to do it, I thought of the graph paper in the closet. I figured each square could represent an inch. I then measured every shirt square twice and cut the pieces out to represent the dimensions of the shirt pieces. This turned into a jig saw puzzle but I would then be able to know what size to add the blank pieces too. I had this finished by the very beginning of December.
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I had been asked to make T-shirt pillow’s for a friend to give as Christmas gifts so I put the pattern and all the shirts in another room. Because the pillows were made from my friends fathers golf shirts and I had a ton of material left, I made her a quilt out of the leftover shirts.
Sometime after the first of the year I picked it back up and realized it was now or never. I figured out how to sew all these pieces together and keep them flat and nice looking. I did partial seams and stuff. This took a couple of weeks because I did not want to rush. I finally got the top all together and it looked pretty good. Of course I can see little flaws but that’s just me.
I then decided rather than hand quilt around the edges of each square like I normally do, I would quilt around some of the words and the volleyball’s. After I had finished three-fourths of it, I then decided I needed to do the edges as well. I just didn’t like the way it looked.
So I had a bunch of blank material squares and I seriously didn’t want to do anymore volleyball’s so I asked my friend Meg what she thought about putting volleyball fun facts there. She thought that was a fantastic idea so I embroidered a bunch of different things. This took a lot longer than I had originally planned.
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I gave it to my boss this past week and she loved it. She was so excited and couldn’t wait
to give it to her niece. Because she did not ask for this insanity and gave me free rein I only charged her what I had charged for the easy ones. However, I would not even consider making another like it for less than five hundred dollars. This may seem outrageous but when you look at the picture of the back all of that sewing was done by hand. There was no machine involved.

Mole Moral ~ It’s dangerous to give a creative person (who doesn’t think she’s creative) free rein.

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The hot water heater

A couple of weeks ago Brian came up from the basement furious because the hot water heater was leaking. Since he can fix almost anything I asked if he could fix it. He said no we need a new one and then “Red, you need to call these people and demand a new one for free.” To which I responded “Negatory, I just spent the day at the ATT store resetting my pin to cancel and on phone with Charter getting the Golf and NFL channel added for you. Looks like you’re calling.”
So he called and it had a six-year warranty so it would be replaced for free. He just had to take the old one out, bring it to store and get the new one. Because of the mole luck he called the store first and they said bring it on down no problem.
Last week as I was leaving for work he and his current work partner Bobby pull up. They are off to replace the hot water heater. About three days later Brian says I guess I can now tell you what happened. He and Bobby drag the hot water heater into the basement and then Bobby asks him if he wants to unbox it outside. Brian was like no I’m not dragging this back outside, that’s stupid. So as they were opening Bobby yells and takes a run for it. Then a mouse runs out behind him and straight into Emily’s room. Brian pretty much moved to Emily’s room when he was doing the hardwood in our room. He says he sleeps much better down there and I’m like cool I’ll take the queen to myself. When Kayla heard this she thought we were getting divorced. I assured her we are still a married couple just sleep better apart. Hahaha.
After the hot water heater was installed Brian went to the store to get mouse traps. He says to me I strategically placed eight traps and caught it in less than an hour.  I looked at him and said was eight really necessary? He assured me it was.

Mole moral ~ One mouse trap is good but eight is better. If anyone needs some traps we have a few extra

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Running with the Barry’s

I believe I started running about ten years ago. I met Meg Barry nine years ago when she transferred to Women’s Heath after her sixth child. She has vivid memories of her first shift with me that involved the Mercy Heartprints’s program but as usual I have zero memory. She was a lot of fun and we hit it off instantly.
Over the years I learned she played soccer in college and that is where she met her husband Dan. He played baseball and was being scouted until he tore his Achilles’ tendon. It’s just as well because if he were pro, I would have never met Meg. My crazy friend ended up having eleven children (six boys, five girls) before she closed up shop. She then decided to get back into shape. I had heard all these years bad knees, no way can she ever run again. So she started walking then tried running  but jumped up mileage way too fast and swore her knees were shot. I talked to her about slowing it down and soon she was not only running but super fast. She swears she is not fast but anyone in the eight minute mile pace range is super fast for me. I was jealous for a while but I finally got over it. This is not a competition and my running is more slow but endurance. I’d rather run six hours than super fast over a short distance. She tells me I’m crazy she could never run a full marathon. I think I said that before too.
So we signed up for the 7k St Patrick’s Day run at Creve Coeur Lake. I did this race right after my headache two years ago and have zero memory of it. I do have the shirt and the pint glass. I did it last year as well so this year was a no brainer. The pint glass is awesome. Since Meg and Dan live close they had me drive over to ride together.
The race was supposed to be on Saturday but was postponed until Sunday due to weather. This made it on daylight savings time so we all lost an hour of sleep. I had been deathly sick all week and finally climbed out of bed Friday evening. I had also been put on steroids so sleep was not my friend. I show up to the Barry’s at 7:30 (really 6:30) and Meg has always told me she’s not a morning person. She’s not kidding. She asked me why the hell was I so chipper. I said well I’ve been awake for over an hour and on steroids. She and Dan then proceed to tell me today is not going to go well. Dan swears he’s hung over and Meg said she had too much sleep.
So we ran it and by the time I finished they were moving the car closer and exchanging Dans shirt. Since I know how to look results up I do that for them. I discover Dan finished third for his age group and Meg missed third by nine-tenths of a second! I made Dan pick up his medal. I was so excited for him and so annoyed for meg that she barely missed it. I shall live placing in races through them and they can live endurance through me.
Later on Meg looks at her Fitbit to see how much she slept. It said she didn’t wake up until 8:10. By that time we were walking around the park. I thought she looked half asleep but I guess she really was. We have already agreed we are doing it again next year because it was so much fun.
Mole Moral ~ Never say never! Meg said she would never be a runner and yet here she is!!
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Brian and eBay

After an incredibly busy four-hour shift yesterday in which I admitted four patients, sent one home and had to call doctor for the other I came home to Brian saying “I need your help with something.” This almost always means buying something off of the internet. As soon as he picks up his tablet I’m pretty sure I said F me.

Sure enough he found something on eBay he wanted to bid on. It was something for his gun or pistol or whatever the ancient firearm he owns is.

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But it did not have a buy it now feature so it involved bidding. I could not sign into my account on his tablet so I’m like tell me the number and I’ll pull it up on my phone. So he reads me the number that he had written down on the box the locks came in for our new doors.
The auction was at twenty-two dollars  and he didn’t want to go higher than forty with it ending in twelve hours. So I placed the bid and was outbid until I hit thirty dollars. He was shocked and just couldn’t understand. I tried to explain to him how this would work considering I stopped with the auction crap after I invested in amazon prime. On eBay, if buy it now is not an option I just keep scrolling.
So he started texting me at the crack of dawn about where the auction was at. He decided he would go as high as seventy and that was it. So when I was outbid for the third time and put in seventy and still outbid I was finished with that.
He came home and wanted to look at the bidding history. He grabs his tablet to type the number in. He then gets the box he wrote the number on and starts accusing me of losing the box. I inform him I was on the phone with Meg for two hours and did zero housekeeping. I did not touch his box. He keeps it up and then picks up this pen and says this is the pen I used.
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I take one look at it, start cracking up, and said that’s disappearing ink. I used it the day before to draw eyes on a teddy bear to know where to embroider. He’s looking at me like I’m an insane and I say I use it for quilting as well. The ink disappears within twenty-four hours or so without having to wash it. By this time Allyson is cracking up and says only you dad. He tells her it’s a good thing he figured this out, otherwise “ I would have beat you until your mother confessed what she did with the box and the number.”

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Who my Emily was named after

Last week Pokémon Go had a special event where if you did a certain task you got a Pokémon with a heart on its face. I came up with this blog and tracked down the task. However I was unable to throw five great balls in a row to catch the stupid thing. This morning I realized I have friends in a chat group that I am in who were successful and caught them. So I reached out to them for a screen shot. I also asked them to call it Emily, because had I actually caught one I was going to name it Emily Valentine. So here is the picture.

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In case you are wondering what this is about, you know I always have a story. Way back in 1990 the TV show 90210 started and I pretty much watched it every week. Brian would sometimes watch it with me. After I became pregnant I decided if I had a girl I would name her Emily after Brandon’s girlfriend. So this is how Emily got her name and the only information I gave her about the show.
Fast forward twenty-three years or so and Emily is now in physical therapy school. Somehow it came up about her namesake. One of her classmates who was on his second career turns around and says Emily Valentine who burned down the school float. Yeah I might have never told my Emily that her namesake went nuts, doused the float with gas, was sitting on top of it with a lighter and Brendan’s sister had to talk her down and off the float.
I’m my defense I thought that happened long after I came up with the name but I was barely pregnant when that happened. However, Emily was by far my most favorite character on the show so that makes it all ok. My Emily doesn’t take crap off of anyone and who knows if given the chance she just might burn down a school float.
Mole Moral~Always disclose the full story about how your child was named because otherwise at some point someone else will do it for you.
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The Second Patient I Keep in Touch With

Here is the story of the second time I broke the no keeping in touch with patients. It is a little lengthy but amazing.

It was December 31, 1999, and Y2K was coming up fast. I was at a wedding reception with most of my family. My friends Denise and Dennis decided to get married and risk the fall of the world which did not happen. At the same time T was admitted to another hospital with flu-like symptoms that would quickly be diagnosed as meningococcal meningitis. It is the bad kind, the really bad kind with a not very high survival rate.
Sometime in February T was transferred to Mercy burn unit for would care. He had survived the meningitis but the vasopressor medicines he needed to keep him with a blood pressure to stay alive had destroyed the circulation to his hands and feet. They were pretty much black when the burn unit met him. I believe he may have still been on life support as well as dialysis for kidney failure. He was twenty-nine years old and had a picture of himself crossing the finish line of the Chicago Marathon in under four hours. I can still see the picture as if it was yesterday. I was not a runner, never planned to be but was so impressed by this.
He wasn’t with us long before it was apparent the only thing to do was amputations and we started with his legs. I will never forget I was his nurse the night his mother had to sign the consents. She asked to talk to the doctor and others were like she already talked to him once. Looking back and being a mother myself I totally understand. I had a really hard time witnessing the consent because he just ran the Chicago marathon and this would most likely prevent him from ever running again. By the time the surgeries were completed and down to viable tissue T was left with one leg above the knee, one below the knee, one hand gone and the other arm mid forearm. However he was alive and it wasn’t too long before he peed on my best burn unit buddy. She was never so happy to be peed on! He was out of kidney failure and soon off of dialysis.
He then was transferred to rehab which at the time was still in the hospital on the third floor. I worked three to eleven back then so would often stop by and see him. I will never forget one day when we were talking and I told him I would rather be dead. (Leave it to me and my brutal honesty. I can still see the look of utter shock on his face) He said “not me I still have plenty of things I want to do.”
He was discharged on May 5 and started outpatient therapy. I would stop in and see his progress from time to time. He was learning how to walk and use both prosthetic arms. I visited one day when he was trying to button a shirt. I was so frustrated just watching him but he never gave up. During this time I would mail him crazy stories of my life. (Foreshadowing for this blog I suppose.)
My nephew was born in August and T sent me a hand written sympathy card. He was only three months home from the hospital. I have it in my scrapbook on Andrews page. It blew me away and his prosthetic hand writing was better than mine with real hands.
The 2002 Winter Olympics were to be held in Salt Lake City Utah and T set a goal to walk and carry the Olympic torch when it came through St. Louis. He met that goal 1/6/02 and I took Emily and Kayla out of school. I even had my scheduled changed and my manager was thrilled I went and asked to see the pictures.

Kayla is hiding behind Emily in the picture. This was before the day of my digital camera so the pictures are not the best but they still make me smile when I look at them.

 

T was a Pharmacist with a doctorate degree and decided to go back to law school in the fall of 2002. He decided he wanted to fight for disability rights. So he applied, attended, graduated summa cum laude and passed the boards. He then taught pharmacy law at St. Louis College of Pharmacy for a few years. He then moved out-of-state to practice law and then eventually moved back to the midwest and again taught law at a pharmacy school. It seems he may be the dean of the school but I’m not positive.
I have received a Christmas card every year from his as well. He always has a small hand written note for me. This year his mother said to tell me hi! That so touched my heart. I have not seen her since he carried the torch.
I find myself thinking of T when I’m running and it gets really, really hard. For a full marathon that is somewhere around the twenty-mile mark. When I ran the fifty mile it was the last ten miles. I often tell myself I am running for him. He had hoped one day to do the Chicago marathon again but that never happened. I think it takes a lot of energy to walk on prosthetic legs.
Currently there is such an anti vaccine movement in this country that I am going to take this opportunity to say that when T came down with meningitis there was not a vaccine for it. There is now and although it is rare I would bet my house he would tell everyone to get it. The only reason he survived was because he was in top shape from marathon training. (I remember the doctors telling him back in the day.) I am pretty sure he’d rather risk autism, big pharma getting rich, government poison and mind control over waking up two months later after thinking he had the flu to discover he had meningitis and now would have to learn how to use four prosthetics and relearn how to take care of himself.
Mole Moral ~ I’ve taken care of some amazing people over the years but T is by far the most incredible person I have ever met, that taught me a lot, and I’m so glad I reached out to him with my first note when he was in rehab.
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Breaking A Rule

There are two specific rules regarding patients that I remember well from nursing school. The first is never date a patient. You can read about that fiasco here. The second was to never keep in touch with patients because they felt you wouldn’t follow through. Remember I was in nursing school before the internet, social media, cell phones etc. All of these have just added another layer of rules. I usually follow rules but I have broken this one twice.

It was 1988 and I was in my OB/GYN clinical’s at Deaconess. We had to pick a patient who would be delivering during the rotation, make a home visit before delivery, attend the delivery if possible, do a home visit after and most likely write a paper on a type writer. I can’t remember exactly. I did all of this and I saw the baby be born. I then went to SIUE for my bachelors degree and I had to do a home visit for one of those classes (it may have been nutrition, I seriously have no idea) so J agreed to let me come again.
J and I kept in touch all these years. Hers is always the first Christmas card I receive every year. Sometimes there would be pictures of N and her older brothers and then all of a sudden the brothers were married (like a nine-year age gap) and then N was married but did not seem possible.
A couple of weeks ago I received an invitation to N’s baby shower. I was so excited even though there was no possible way she is thirty-one this month. They were having it at the rec center where I run when it’s too cold or too hot outside. And then I looked again at the date and realized it was at the same time my husband and I had tickets to the hockey game.
In true crazy Rachel self I jumped into action and made a granny square baby blanket. I then mailed a box full of baby shower gifts with a note to both J and N. Some time passed and then I received a Facebook message from N and since have become Facebook friends with both of them.
N started having issues with the pregnancy. Issues I’m familiar with since we have all the moms whose babies go to NICU on our floor. Our floor connects to it so it makes more sense than having them on the floor three floors above us. She ended up having the baby this past week and the shower was cancelled. She and baby are doing good so sometime in the future they are planning a meet and greet. I maybe work two weekend shifts a month but with my shleprock luck, it will be then.
I would have never imagined that this is how things would turn out thirty-one years ago when I picked a random name for my assignment. What a truly wonderful blessing J has been to me and I’m glad I didn’t follow the rules. I’ll save the other patient for another blog.
Mole moral~ Breaking the rules can sometimes be wonderful!