My niece, Sarah Marie turned eighteen yesterday. She had a combination graduation/birthday party which was pretty awesome. At her party her mom had a notebook to write memories of Sarah. Of course my mind went blank and I only thought of a couple things. Of course last night as I was falling asleep the best story came to mind.
Teresa was telling a new neighbor about the letters that all of us wrote Sarah when she was born to read on her eighteenth birthday. She said to the neighbor it took a lot to get Sarah here. Such a beautifully painful statement! I told Sarah yesterday I prayed for her long before she was ever conceived. I will never forget how happy (and yes a little nervous) I was when her mom announced at Thanksgiving she would arrive in July. I remember thinking as I wrote her letter that eighteen years was a long long time away and yet here we are in just a flash of time.
My very best memory I am sharing on my blog so that one day when I am gone if any of my kids, nieces, nephews, and anyone else who wants to read my blog they can be entertained with my stories. Sarah and Tyler came to our house every New Years Eve for years while their parents went out with friends. They stayed the night and then we would take them to Mimi and PaPa’s house for the annual New Year’s Day celebration. I worked evenings back then so every other year Brian would be on his own with all the kids. We so enjoyed that special time with both of them. And in a flash Sarah was old enough to babysit and then hang with friends and the old Aunt and Uncle became irrelevant. It was ok because we still had Tyler and ultimate ping pong (where you play off the walls and the ceiling) until last year when he went and hung out with friends as well. On Christmas morning 2007 Sarah and Tyler awoke to find a new dog out in their front yard. She was a puggle and they named her Chloe. Well, I am a total dog lover so I had them bring her over that New Year’s Eve to spend the night as well.
This was also the year Emily was dating Cody (he came over that New Year’s Ever as well) and he nicknamed Sarah and Tyler: Dog Girl and Chocolate Boy after Shark Girl and Lava Boy. He would have no idea that thirteen years later Sarah still loves dogs and Tyler is still insane about chocolate. Chloe passed away earlier this year and they just got a new puppy named Daisy. I am not sure how Sarah is going to be able to go away to school and leave her. As for Tyler he honed right in on the Ted Drews chocolate ice cream at the party yesterday!
Sarah did baton when she was younger. She was amazing at it but ended up moving on to dance. She started at Denoyer when Kayla was going and then moved to a closer studio and then was on the Lindbergh dance team. I went to a few of her competitions but not as many as I would have liked! I made Sarah this quilt as her graduation present. So many memories for her and of course she can’t forget me because I made it.
July 11, 2002 seems like just yesterday. Teresa was in the hospital with Sarah putting an offer on a house she wanted to buy. She came home and then got her house market ready and sold and they moved it seems like by the time Sarah was six weeks old. It may have been sooner but my sister in law is as crazy as me with doing that kind of stuff! Happy birthday Sarah, I love you more than you can ever know!
Mole Moral ~ If you are ever asked to write a letter to a baby to open up when they are eighteen, do it! I can’t think of anything more special and I wish I would have thought of it for my girls!
Last night was our fourth subdivision block party. Every Saturday from 6:30-7:30 pm one of the original homeowners who is also a DJ plays music. He has super powerful speakers as it can be heard all over our street. I had received an email stating the news would be coming as well. I persuaded Allyson to come out with me for a little bit. After she left, one of the neighbor girls hung up a sign that said, “Fur suiters welcome here”. I read it like five times to make sure I read it right. So I went home and told Allyson what the sign said and she should put Prince on and come surprise the kids. I assured her no one would know it was her. She wasn’t so sure at first but when I came back with the ice cream she was almost ready to come out. If you are wondering what a fur suit is, you can read about her fur suit creations here.
So Allyson arrived
and at first the kids weren’t too sure about this. Allyson has an original character named Prince and commissioned a girl to make the actual head. The fangs make him look scary but indeed he is just a kangaroo with a really long tail. The girl that posted the sign was so excited she wrote Prince a note asking if they could be friends. Of course Prince nodded yes. Then she got her suit on as well and they had a great time interacting and playing with the kids.
Also way over a year ago at church a guy came up to me and informed me he was my neighbor. He lives in the very first house. He is not the original occupant (that man I believe is in jail) but bought the house to stay at when the Rams played. His wife passed away a few years back from cancer. I chat with him at church and wave when I see him on the road. A few months ago he introduced me to his friend at church and then I noticed that a car was at his house a lot. (Yes, you all know I am a stalker with mad door way assessment skills.) Yesterday before the party he told me that she was his girlfriend. I was so happy for him! It made my heart skip a beat. Last night I was chatting with the two of them and discovered their first date was at The Local House. This is where Allyson is a bus girl! I must be getting old or soft or something because it made my whole evening. This morning when I ran by his house, this was in the front yard.
What a nice surprise for him! He is so nice and has been so nice to me that I am glad someone brightened his day!
I was so proud of Allyson last night that of course I told all the adults who it was. Our neighbor said she should hire herself out for kids birthday parties, she could make a fortune. Back in middle school she performed for an assembly and I was told she was a huge hit!
Mole Moral ~ In a world where everyone seems isolated we really are all connected in one way or another!
A year ago today I walked out of mercy knowing I would never return as a co-worker. It was time to figure out what I would do when I grew up. The summer was approaching and Emily was doing a travel job in Rolla and Allyson would be going away in the fall so I decided to enjoy the summer.
I had been on women’s health for almost nineteen years and during that time we had done many fundraisers with T-shirt’s. I always knew at some point I would make a quilt but I never wanted to start in case I accumulated more. So my goal was to complete the quilt by this day. I almost always accomplish my goals and this one was no different. So here’s my quilt that I love dearly with a story about each block. I’ll describe in the order you read a book. This blog is for the day I no longer remember much and I can relive the most wonderful memories. Yes, I have always been a nerd and a dork and I will be until I die.
The first block was a fundraiser for the entire women service line. That shirt was the back and I thought it was clever how the word Family was incorporated.
The next block was my all time favorite and the last one. My buddy Tiffani was in charge of creating it. I put the front left pocket area on the back. I loved the stethoscope with the words women’s health.
The top of the next block was the front of the women service shirt and the bottom was the back of another shirt which I will discuss when I reach it.
Next up was one of three trivia nights we did for SLOCA (St. Louis ovarian cancer awareness).
The next is my second favorite shirt and was also our first shirt. It is also on display in the cafeteria as part of a big quilt. (At least the quilt was there a year ago). This was designed by Kim T (now Kim K) and Kristina P. I loved it and wore it to work quite a bit until Mercy went to black uniforms.
The next two shirts are from a Marathon relay that I did with Erin, Laura, and Kim. Both my husband Brian, and our good friend Lindsay were our coaches. They hung out with the three not running and jumped the metro link with us to get to the next exchange stop. That race was so much fun. The nurses running wild was on the back.
My third favorite shirt is up next. That was a SLOCA fundraiser but will always make me think of patient SH. She had ovarian cancer and I took care of her the night of her surgery. Her daughter told me I’d have to light a fire under her butt to get her moving. Several months later I was her nurse when she left this world to meet Jesus. That fall I would run the ovarian cancer run wearing that shirt with Laura and run into her daughters. Such amazing memories.
The next shirt and the one below were front and back from trivia night. I am always reminded of Vickie who was my boss when I left and Lindsay. Lindsay was the most fun tech I ever worked with and she left to become an athletic trainer. Brian always called her wangster Willy which cracked her up.
The top of the next square was from the night Women’s Health went to a cardinals game. I was at Big Stuf camp the night of the game. So although I didn’t go to the game, I still bought a shirt. I would wear it at camp on jersey day.
I think the last shirt was also a fundraiser but I am not sure. I never wore it much but it is a great reminder of my years on women’s health.
I cannot believe a year has passed. After I left, I really thought I would work at a surgery center. Then my friend Tiffani from my favorite shirt started in the butt hut and told me to apply she thought I would like it. I told her I can’t do IV’s and I’m not working full time. Well wouldn’t you know, they had a part time position and the patients come to the room with an IV. Then a pandemic occurred and I ended up back in ICU where I hadn’t been for almost twenty years. Who would have guessed!!
Mole moral ~ Follow your path no matter how scary or unknown, you may just end in a wonderful place.
When it became clear that almost every single Endoscopy case would be cancelled until the pandemic was over, I realized I had two choices. I could either stay where I was and screen employees or perhaps do one case a day or I could volunteer to help in the ICU. It’s very hard to explain but I knew my choice was the latter. I really felt God was calling me to go there. I’ve been up there for almost three weeks now. Those who volunteered were told they would not have to go to the covid side. Last night I again felt a calling to go to the covid side. Those patients are mostly medical ICU which is what I did all those years ago. I was going to discuss with charge nurse today. Today was my day to take team all by myself and they put me in covid unit, with a nurse I met in my RN orientation. As soon as I verified I could wear an N95 and not a respirator I was ok with it. I did fine with my two patients and actually got to call the spouse of the one and say their loved one was covid negative and would be moving over to the ICU side. Imagine my surprise when it was shared with me that not only is their wedding anniversary the same day as Brian’s parents but the same year as well. As we were hanging up it was said I hope we celebrate our anniversary and I said I hope so too and to stay safe.
Mole Moral ~ Everything happens for a reason and sometimes a super scary situation turns into a huge blessing. Stay safe!!
When Brian and I were dating I was in nursing school. I came home every weekend because no one stayed over the weekend. This was in the mid eighties and we were not allowed to have boy visitors past ten. They had to be signed in and out and if you were caught with one over night, you were kicked out of nursing school. So Brian and his work friends would pick me up on their way home from work on Friday nights and he would bring me back on Sunday night and leave by ten because the rule follower wasn’t risking getting kicked out of nursing school.
My mom made dinner a lot on Sundays and one of them she made cornbread. Well, Brian just raved about how good it was and how he liked it. After this she would make it for him almost every time he ate over. Lets fast forward about five years. Brian says to me I really hate cornbread, I just said I liked it back then to be polite to your mom. I of course reported back to my mom who died laughing and she never made it for him again.
I can honestly say I have never made cornbread the entire time we have been married. Brian will tell you I don’t cook anyway and my mom will tell you I starved my girls when they were little. They would come to her house and wipe her out of food. I do enjoy the cornbread when I eat at Cracker Barell.
Mole Moral ~ Sometimes being kind and polite bites you in the butt and you get stuck eating something horrible for years!
Way back when I was a kid, probably around the age of twelve or thirteen because we lived on Glen Haven in the “black shack” (another story for another time) I made a batch of peanut butter cookies. Those who have seen me cook or bake know I am horribly messy. As we are eating the cookies some flour had spilled on the table. My mother looks at it and it is moving. She announces we have boll weevils in the flour but the ones in the cookies are dead so we eat them anyway. This was way before computers or the internet so I couldn’t look them up. It’s a good thing because they are pretty gross. Imagine my excitement when I’m looking for places on Roadside America close to Troy and there is a boll weevil monument thirty minutes away. Emily says we must go because my mother has told her the peanut butter cookie story more than once.
Upon reading up I discover boll weevils eat cotton and destroyed the cotton crop in the early nineteen hundreds. This caused the town of Enterprise to plant peanuts instead and saved the town. The monument should have been to George Washington Carver but would never have happened in the south at this time period due to segregation. So a man named Roscoe Fleming set about to construct a monument to the boll weevil.
The history was crazy. First of all it was a statue of a Greek woman wearing a Peplos holding an oil lamp over her head. It was in the middle of a giant bowl and water shot out the end of the lamp. However it was too powerful and the fountain was only used once. Before the streets were paved mules would drink from the bowl. There was no boll weevil on the statue until 1949 and the first was the size of a fist. The bug was stolen in 1953, 1974, 1981, and 1985. Each time the weevil was made larger. Then on July 11, 1998 not only was the weevil stolen but the lady’s arms were ripped off. Fear not, a mold of the entire monument had been made in 1996 and exact replica was cast out of unbreakable polymer resin. They say the new weevil is the size of a basset hound. I got super close to it and it did not look as big as a basset hound.
The monument sits in the middle of the intersection but since it was a Sunday there was no traffic.
The town was super cute and since Emily is a foodie she found a couple restaurants that they want to come back and check out. I also enjoyed the murals. Sadly it was Sunday so the Boo weevil museum was closed.
However, boo weevils are not found in flour. Boo weevils eat cotton. Flour weevils live in flour and eat the dust. I was going to go into more detail but after reading up on them, I really just want to vomit so if you are interested just google.
Mole moral ~ A fun story about me will forever live in Emily’s memories when she thinks about the three months she worked in Alabama. Also I have thrown out all the flour! Hahaha
I think I discovered Roadside America looking for the biggest ball of twine. I’m blaming this on my father-in-law Larry. I believe it was our South Dakota trip that the girls and I took with him and my mother-in-law, my sister-in-law and her son. When we were planning it, I wanted to stop at Laura Ingall’s Wilders house and he was teasing me about the biggest ball of twine. This was long before I had an iPhone or new what an app was.
I was looking at places to see since rain was predicted all weekend in Destin. I discovered Cross Garden, Hell’s warning label. Reading up on it, it reminded me of Salvation Mountain. I had drug Emily and Micheal there last summer so they were down for going. Just as we arrived it started raining.
Salvation Mountain is out in California and looking at it gave a sense of peace and love on an acid trip. Driving up to the crosses was scary. Granted the man had passed away in 2004 and it has not been kept up. I felt like I was back in the Baptist church I attended from the age of five to twelve. I could almost hear Reverend Starke yelling during the alter call, “if Jesus is calling you to be saved and you don’t come to the alter and die this week you will go to Hell”. I also thought this represents the south and the Baptist church. I’ll include a few pictures and then copy and paste some information from Roadside America. I found the story fascinating.
Rice started putting up the crosses in 1976 after his mother died. Actually his parents grave markers are in the front yard of his house. We decided it must be abandoned but paid for because even his red truck with the crosses on it sits under the carport. We didn’t walk on the property but viewed from the street. It was a little too frightening. He felt he was like Noah and called by God to make these crosses. Sadly he only believed two percent of the population would go to Heaven and the rest would burn in hell where it is hot, hot, hot.
I found pictures on the internet of what he looked like and what it looked like when it was kept up. It was much better but still as scary as the thought of hell. I’m glad we went to view it. Tomorrow we will going back to Montgomery to see another attraction that triggered a childhood memory that my mother will enjoy and will live forever thanks to the Internet and this blog.
Mole Moral ~ Don’t let it rain on your plans, find something just as fun to do!!
This year was certainly a year of change and transitions. I left my job of almost nineteen years, took a seven month sabbatical and then started a new job that is unlike anything I have ever done. It was not easy leaving women’s health and as Christmas rolled around I felt like I needed to make one last craft for my friends so that I could completely close that chapter in my life. I thought about it for a while before it finally dawned on me what the perfect ornament would be.
Five years ago I started decorating the patient room doors with Christmas stockings. You can read about it here. It was my favorite time of the year as every year patients would take them home with them and I would have to replace them. I knew when I left no one would keep up with them, so I took them all with me. I saved two for my scrapbook. So I decided to make two sided ones so that everyone would remember the best room ever (2319) and the craziest nurse ever. I also made on for myself.
At my new job everyone gave me little gifts and I thought I need to make something for them. As some of you may know they refer to endoscopy as the Butt Hut. Well Dr. Aymerich always says that is not formal enough and calls it the RIU. That stands for the rectal investigation unit. So I came up with the idea of using that and the picture of a colon scope. The day I told Allyson about finding a polyp that no one else saw and then telling her it could have turned to cancer, she came up with the tag line. Because she took digital media in high school, I told her what I envisioned and had her put it together for me. It was amazing, perfect and better than I could have ever done. Everyone loved it and probably realized that I have a great sense of humor and am creative.
On the back I put Lead Investigator’s and the three doctors names and Assistant Investigators and the rest of my team. I gave one to my team leader (what SSM calls the managers) and she loved it. She said it made her laugh out loud!
Mole Moral ~ I am blessed to have daughters who are also creative and funny!
Another Christmas has come and gone and another twelve days of Christmas angel has just finished up. This was my sixteenth year and I have been blessed by a total of twenty three families who I’ve rang and run and still have not been caught.
Because I left my job in April and took seven months off of work I had no one in mind to angel this year. I texted my friend Laura (aka Harry’s mom) and asked her if she knew of anyone. Now Laura had been filling in for the Heartprints coordinator so two people came to mind. I was very excited because the Heartprints program was the reason I had transferred to women’s health all those years ago.
The first night went well and we easily found the houses in the dark. Laura’s daughter went with us so I snuck up to the door with her and she dropped the gift and rang and then we ran. She loved it. The next day someone was riding my rear while trying to find the house again so we drove past and then circled back. We could see the address much clearer coming from the other direction and realized the house we dropped the gift at the night before was not the right number. Laura then got on her phone to look at the picture of the address. Sure enough she had typed the address in wrong and we had left night one at the wrong house. So we went to right house and dropped off night two. I told her I would get another night one and then leave one and three the next night.
After I dropped her off it really bothered me that the wrong house would only get one gift and nothing else. I really felt this was done by God and this house also needed a Christmas angel so the next morning I got up went to Target and bought gifts for the other eleven days for them and day one for the right house.
I then went to a cookie party and then the snow came in. My new job was willing to pay me to sleep at hospital to be available to work in morning so I took them up on it. The roads were so bad that Laura and I decided we would not risk an accident and the next day we’d drop two gifts off. However the next day the roads were still terrible and my job offered the same deal so I stayed at the hospital.
I told Laura we could skip one day and end on Christmas Day instead of Christmas Eve. This was the first year I ended on Christmas Day. I ended up dropping three gifts off at the houses close to each other and two at the other. The rest of the time was pretty uneventful. Well except for the night I’m walking down the sidewalk gift in hand when the husband pulls in the driveway. I hide gift and keep walking like I belong there. I get five houses away and turn around. He has made it in the house and has locked his car so I head back. I’m two houses away and out he comes with his dogs. I turn back around and walk around the subdivision for a good five minutes before I can finally drop the gift off and run. I couldn’t wait in my car because the house was between my car and where I was.
Laura ended up with the flu and had been sick since Saturday. She wanted to knock and wait today to talk to the people. I wrote all of them a nice card and told the wrong house what had happened and that I hoped the nightly gifts blessed them.
Mole moral ~ When one feels called by God to add a third family to the fun, I don’t question, I just do it!
I have finished six weeks of training in the butt hut and it has been quite the ride. I’ll be honest and say this has not been an easy transition for me. I left a job where I was the queen, I knew all the doctors, almost all of procedures and could do my job on auto pilot most of the time without even have to think very hard. I walked into a different planet. The only thing that was the same is patients are involved including men. I had only taken care of women for over eighteen years. Its been nice taking care of the Y chromosomes.
The first week I wanted to quit and the only reason I didn’t was applying and interviewing for a job is a nightmare compared to thirty years ago. I felt stupid, inadequate and a burden on everyone. Yes, I know this is ridiculous to think this way. No one expected me to come in and just do the job perfectly day one except for myself. I was so stressed and nervous for at least four weeks, that the people were probably thinking why did they hire her! However, I did verbalize how I was feeling and told everyone if I’m not doing something right just tell me and I’ll change it. Most of the time I am very open to constructive criticism.
This past week things have finally fallen into place so that I am not panic stricken all eight hours that I will mess something up. I also am not having to concentrate one hundred and ten percent of the time. So my fun side is finally starting to come out and the people I work with are probably realizing why one of my nicknames is CR (crazy Rachel). Friday was full on crazy mode. For starters I walked straight into the hanging monitor for the fourth time. Later on I went to bring a dirty scope into the scope cleaning room and Tiffani had changed the chemical buckets on the scope processor and left them right in the middle of the room. Yes I tripped right on over them but did manage not to fall down. However the funniest thing of the day involved Dr. Aymerich and helping him. I googled pictures of the colon scopes we use and pictures of the wires with forceps so that maybe the story will make better sense.
The red circle is the biopsy port where the instruments go through with the wires that I get to pull out and try to make into a nice circle. The green circle is the controls that the doctor uses to move the tip of the scope.
So after removing a polyp I’m pulling the wire out and somehow manage to not only wrap it around the control knobs but have to ask Dr. Aymerich to move his hand because his hand is tangled up in the wire as well. However I recovered later when everyone was looking at this AV malformation in the cecum and I asked what this other thing was. I said not the AV malformation and pointed to the screen. It was a polyp and he said give me the snare which then means not only do I have to deal with the wire but hooking up and unhooking from the electric machine when finished. I said “curse word, I should have kept my mouth shut. Followed by just kidding because this could be cancer and I saved her life.” My preceptor then said she’s keeping me! And it’s gotten to where when they ask for snare, hot biopsy or biopsy forceps I don’t fly into panic stricken mode. I am not fumbling around as much so I’m starting to believe I’ll be ready for part time in two weeks!
Mole Moral ~ The biggest personal growth occurs when you leave the comfort of the familiar grass and jump right on into grass taller than your head!