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My mandatory cab ride

Almost two years has passed since one of the most stressful events occurred in my life. It is only now that I can write about it.

I was at work and I had taken a Motrin out of the medication machine to give a patient for pain. The next time I went to the medication machine it popped up that I had a partial dose to waste. This reminder is for narcotics so that they are wasted with a witness. I clicked on it to see who it was for and it was for the patient I had given the Motrin to. There was only one problem, I had not given that patient any morphine that day. I immediately thought who am I working with that would have pulled something out from under my name. I went straight to the day supervisor and reported it to her. She made a mental note and said we’d look into it later. Every time I signed in, the warning would pop up causing me to be suspicious of my co-workers. A couple of hours later one of my most favorite nurse buddies came up to the nurses station and said “there are NINETEEN vials of morphine missing from the medication machine”. I stopped dead in my tracks, my heart stopped beating and then said I have a partial waste on morphine that I never gave. So our awesome pharmacist sprung into action and contacted the director of pharmacy. As the pharmacist left she told me not to worry. This was on a Thursday. No one contacted me on Friday so I figured all was fine.

My next shift was Monday which happened to be leap day, my most favorite day ever. I called at ten to see if I was needed and the charge nurse said no. Shortly thereafter my manager called and said I needed to come in. Alarms, bells, and whistles all went off in my head. I went straight to her office and she informed me we were going to HR. Pure CR panic then ensued. She told me to relax, I had nothing to worry about. I kind of believed her until I saw we were joined by not only HR (thank god it wasn’t CC from the spare me incident or I would have died right there on the spot), but the director of pharmacy, and the director of women’s services (who was my manager at one time). I remember thinking this is some serious stuff right here.

So I spent the next thirty minutes talking with these people. I learned that someone had badged into the medication room about a minute after I left. This was when the morphine was removed. At this time I was in my patients room scanning the Motrin to give to her and could not be in both places at the same time. So the pharmacist told me I forgot to log out which is against policy. Well no kidding but he did admit nurses are distracted with their work phones and constant interruptions. The medication machine is a touch screen so it’s easy to think you have logged out when you didn’t hit the exit button quite right.

Up next was the HR guy who informed me I would need to take a drug test. If I refused I would be terminated immediately. If I took it then I would be sent home until the results were back. If they came back negative I would be paid as if I worked, if positive I would have to use PTO and other things would happen. I swear I said “bring on the pee test”. So off to employee health we went.

Normally I can pee every five minutes, any time, anywhere but not this day. I was so freaked out that it just wasn’t happening. I drank two glasses of water and cursed Dr. V’s sling. But finally I was able to go and then told I either had to have someone pick me up or be sent home in a cab. Because I had completed a for cause drug screen, they could not let me drive home. If I was indeed under the influence and then had an accident they would be liable. I could think of no one because my brain was shut down so I picked a cab and said no Uber. I had just watched Criminal Minds where a fired Uber driver went around killing people. They assured me it would be a cab.

I made my manager and the HR guy sit outside and wait for the cab to show up. It was beautiful that day. I wasn’t in the cab five minutes before I called my mom to tell her the story. I then texted Meg to tell her I was sent home in a cab. She responded I was lying so I took a picture of the inside of the cab. I chatted with the cab driver and told him it was the first time I had ever been in a cab. I told him my oldest had been in plenty. He found the story interesting. I finally made it home and then the waiting game began.

It was late Thursday before I was finally given my negative results and the green light to return to work. I was ok at home for the first day or so and then my imagination went crazy. I thought maybe I had busted up a drug ring and the DEA was going to show up at my door to question me. Nothing like that happened so I returned to work not knowing who stole the morphine. I did know it was not a women’s health nurse because they all worked during this time.

Three months later I was told who it was because the Missouri State Board of Nursing needed to talk to me. I was so shocked and it took a good two weeks for it to process fully. I never saw that person on the floor that day. I couldn’t decide if I should kick the person in the gonads or pray for them. I chose to keep it to myself even after I spoke to the board. Then the wait began for the investigation to be over with and this nurse be charged.

I waited twenty months before the paperwork showed up on the state board website. I read it and was in shock and disbelief. This person was only charged with testing positive for marijuana in their urine and then terminated from Mercy. I couldn’t believe they had gotten by with stealing morphine and putting me through hell. At this point I was back to wanting to kill this person but I decided once the actual state board of nursing came out with the person’s name listed I would finally reveal it.

It was this past Friday when the paper came to my house. Almost two years have passed and seeing it in black and white made me even more mad. First of all this person got away with stealing. Second of all it looks like this person is a recreational pot smoker instead of the narcotic stealer they really are. Justice was not served at all. Today I started thinking I wonder how people feel whose family members are murdered and the murderer gets away with it. That has to be a million times worse.

Leap day will always be my favorite day but I will also remember this until the day I die. I tell all new nurses to be very diligent about logging out of the medication machine because you never know who may sneak in behind you. I am sure they all think I am insane but I wouldn’t want anyone to go through the stress I went through or being so mad at the injustice of it all. I have to constantly tell myself God will take care of it in His time and in His way. He really should just listen to me and do it MY way.

 

Mole Moral ~ Those who have nothing to hide, hide nothing. This makes life so much easier.

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Time and the Track

Today I went to Seckman High school’s track to do speed work. For this years marathon training I decided to use my Nike plus running app coach. This is a totally free coach and since I’m pretty self motivated it works for me. So today was run 400 meters (one lap) and then walk for two and a half minutes and then repeat ten times. It gave me a projected pace of 10:37 which as usual triggered my anxiety for no reason. My pace for the running portion was 9:35.
When I first arrived I realized it’s been a long time since I was there. When I trained for my first half back in 2005 l did almost all my runs there and counted laps. So as I looked at the football field and admired the AstroTurf I thought about all the changes.

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My very first time at the track I was still smoking. So I would smoke all the way there, do my miles, and smoke all the way home. I listened to a portable CD player and headphones and was there a lot of times when the kids were out for gym.

Another four years passed before I did my next half. By this time I had quit smoking and iPods had been invented and I owned one. Nike invented a chip that went in your shoe and correlated with your iPod to keep track of distance. I would soon ditch the track because it was monotonous running in circles.

The following year I invested in an iPhone and upgraded to Nike+ running app and ditched the chip. I also no longer had to carry my phone and my iPod. I then started running on the road and convinced myself I am invisible and no one can see my running. It was the only way I survived running without having major anxiety that people were laughing at me.

I seriously cannot remember the last time I was at the track. Most likely the summer I was supposed to run a race to benefit Seckman track club and had the start time wrong and missed the race. I thought about the guy that took care of the football field grass and would mark it for football games. I wonder what he is doing now. He would always say hi to me even though I was invisible at the track as well.

Mole moral~No matter how hard one tries, it is impossible to slow down both time and the change that comes with it.

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One Word

It was sometime around November 2015 when Emily the Director of Women’s Services asked us to read a book called One Word in preparation for 2016. I always did every single reading assignment in college so of course I read this book. Basically instead of making a bunch of New Years Resolutions that are often forgotten or broken within the first month, you choose one word to focus on for the year. She gave all of women’s services (women’s health, mother/baby, antepartum, labor and birth, perinatal center, birthing center, and education) the task of choosing one word to focus on in 2017. The word we chose was Dedication and each month we had something different to remind us. This involved me and the crafty side for a few of the months and I really enjoyed it. This year women’s services is focusing on Teamwork and I am pretty excited for February’s reminder because it involves the winter Olympics.

Last year I chose a word for myself but three weeks in the headache started and I thought of it off and on but it kind of fell by the way side. I decided this word would be my word for this year and I would blog about it to hold myself accountable. So the word that came to mind was SOFT. There are two parts to this and the first is the more excited, annoyed, nervous I get the louder I become. I can find myself almost shouting at times and most of the time it is not necessary. The second half of my language and my cursing. It is such a bad habit that I need to break. It goes hand in hand with the excitement, annoyed, and nervous and being loud. The more worked up I get the more each of them get out of control.

I have been thinking about writing this blog for two weeks and when I came home from church and logged into Facebook I found a website asking what’s your word so I ordered this

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It came the last week so now it is time to take it out of the package and get busy not yelling and cursing.

 

Mole Moral~When you already exercise by being obsessed with running you have to get creative with New Years Resolutions.

 

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Treadmill vs Indoor Track

As I begin to type this I want to clarify something first. The best place to run is outside. I would rather be out there any given time. However, when the heat index is over 100 or the wind chill is less than twenty then running outdoors is not a safe option. Saint Louis has been stupid cold for the past two weeks, just in time for me to start full marathon training. The holidays were also factored in so that made me stuck on the treadmill for the past week and a half but today I managed to make it to the Arnold Rec Center.

I love the rec center. I would rather do thirteen laps per mile than run on a treadmill not really moving. Everyone is like just watch TV. No matter what I put on, I am staring at how long I have been on the stupid thing just waiting for it to be over. At the indoor track I can people watch. Usually there are boys playing basketball below me, or girls practicing baton or couples playing pickle ball. Also on the track, I recognize people who I see from time to time. Although I don’t talk to any of them, I have names for them and know if they are there, then they are well. There is a couple that walk together all the time and they are fast walkers. They probably pull a thirteen minute mile. I like to follow them when I am not running but walking. Last year when I was training for the fifty mile a guy asked me what I was training for. So I told him about the race. He lives close to me and told me he saw me on the outer road all the time as well. One day in September he was driving and saw me and pulled over and asked how the race was. So I told him all about it. He was there today and stopped me because he was telling his friend about me and wanted to know how long it took me. I said 13:57. They asked me if I was going to do it again this year. I said hell no, one and done. They both started laughing.

There was a guy named Ron who use to be there all the time. I haven’t seen him in almost a year. I need to ask a couple of the regulars what happened to him. Today a gal was wearing an Oak Bridge Church shirt and I almost said to her, best church ever! She might have thought I was crazy. However running 10 miles there today was totally normal! Although ten miles on a treadmill is total insanity. I would go to the indoor track any time any day when the weather is uncooperative.

Mole Moral~ Find an exercise you enjoy and stick to it. You never know who you might meet or who you might encourage!

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The Mole Year Review 2017

Yesterday I did a Facebook game where it gave a picture review of the year. I had been thinking the year had been kind of yucky but looking at the pictures and reflecting back, the Moles had a really good year. I decided to highlight the positives. Of course having a blog makes remembering things so much easier.

January started with Brian finally getting a TV that hangs on the wall. He also lost a dollar bet in that the TV would be gone from his friend’s apartment trash site before the trash came. He didn’t even get it unloaded before someone took it off of his hands.

February was the worst headache I had ever had in my life. I call that a ten out of ten pain because I prayed for almost eight hours straight for God to take me to heaven to be with my grandparents. I would have shot up heroin if it would have taken the pain away. No matter what drugs were given to me, nothing touched it. Only when my primary did a neck manipulation did it start to go away. This would be important later on.

March was when Emily moved back home from Kansas City. It was her last Physical Therapy clinical’s in the burn unit at Mercy. She loved it and I loved the fact that I worked there when I was pregnant with her and now she was there. I also officially announced that I had to postpone the fifty mile run that i had planned for April. I actually cried the first time I said it out loud but my boss Emily said “oh you will run it in the year you turn fifty and that counts”. She is so smart.

In April I would finally finish a crochet granny square blanket. All my life I wanted to learn how to make granny squares. My Grandma Carty had a pillow made out of them and an afghan. Finally thanks to you tube I was able to understand the pattern. Little did I know that at the end of the year, I would give this blanket to my best friend for baby number eleven.

May brought my fiftieth birthday and my oldest graduation from Rockhurst. Emily is the first in the family to have a doctorate degree. It was such a proud moment when she walked across the stage and received her diploma and hood.

June brought our last family vacation as a family of five. We spent a week in Tennessee and had an absolute blast. I don’t think there was anything funnier than me on the high ropes trying hard not to fall off or lose my balance. I never laughed so hard in my entire life. Of course Emily took one of the funniest pictures ever in which every one of us was wearing red but her. She called it Mole roll call so no one gets lost. We also went on a wild goose chase for moonshine. The first place we went not only didn’t have it but was shady and in a shady neighborhood. We did eventually find it and then discovered where it can be purchased in St. Louis.

July was the month Emily moved to California. She took her first job as a travel Physical Therapist. Luckily she was only three hours from our good friends Gary and Heidi. Even though she didn’t think I needed to drive out with her, she was glad that I did. We had a great road trip and even saw Mike the Headless Chicken.

August was the fifty mile marathon and Brian and I had a great vacation just the two of us. We spent a week in South Dakota and had a lot of fun. We even trespassed and saw the Flintstones RV park that had closed.

September was my twenty-one day food detox and I felt so good afterwards. I must admit I fell off the wagon in just two short months. It’s a lot of work to make every meal and I started making excuses right and left. Maybe this coming year I will get back on as I never felt so good.

October was the month I got out of my comfort zone. I signed up for a Pokemon walk and met up with other Pokemon people. I didn’t know a single person and I survived. It was also the month of one of my favorite 5K’s. It was the Run for Ovarian Cancer.

November brought my moms fall and surgery. It was a rough month for her. Allyson started her job at the Local House and has made quite a bit of money. Her goal was to pay for her server and have money this summer when she goes out to stay with Emily. She has already met both goals. My headache returned and since Western medicine did nothing earlier in the year I went to a Chiropractor and was greatly improved and able to work within twenty-four hours.

December was the month God almost slapped me upside the head with the Christmas Angel. I really did question if I had picked the right person, even though I knew he had told me it was. I had the most awesome photo and post placed on my wall by the person I had angeled. I have never felt so blessed in my life.

 

Mole Moral ~ It is so easy to focus on the negative and forget all the positive. Just like one negative comment takes twenty positive ones to make up for.

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Peter and Andrew

Today in church Pastor Herc gave a run down on the twelve disciples and their personalities. He was making the point that Jesus didn’t pick his team based on the strongest, best traits and abilities like we humans do. Just think back to school days when teams were picked for gym. The least athletic were always chosen last and I was one of them. This was one of the best talks in a long time so I paid close attention to figure out which guy I was most like and it ended up in a tie.

Peter whose name was originally Simon has a lot of my traits. He tended to shoot of his mouth and say things without really thinking. The biggest was saying he would never deny Jesus and yet he did not only once but three times in the same night. It reminds me of the time I said to a patient, I would rather be dead than him. He had lost all four extremities to meningitis. Luckily, he forgave me for about the most insensitive comment I ever made and has gone on to do great things.

I did not realize Andrew was Simon Peters brother and often referred to that way. So no matter what he did he was always over shadowed by his brothers greatness. How annoying that must have been. I often feel this way about my work. I am the invisible nurse. I do a great job but no one seems to remember and rarely am I ever mentioned by name. I know a big part of this is because I take people right after they have surgery when they are still under anesthesia. I am ok with this most of the time but every once in a while when I see the girls with four and five daisy awards or mentioned over and over in patient rounding I get a little jealous and annoyed. I do try to remember what Jesus said in Matthew 6:1-4

“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

 

Mole Moral ~ It’s much better to be Peter and Andrew than Judas of Iscariot!

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Christmas Angel

It was back in 2004 and I was at church when Pastor Tom spoke about a thing he did called Christmas Angel. For the 12 nights before Christmas you pick someone who may be struggling, had a bad year or just need a lift at Christmas and drop off presents. The first night you leave one of something, and the second night two, and the third night three etc. But there is a catch, you drop the present, ring the doorbell, run, and try not to get caught. Of course if you have your children help, they can do the ringing and running and you drive the getaway car. He had this done to him by a mormon family who never revealed who they were. He said we shouldn’t tell either but if someone did that for me and never said who it was, it would bother me forever. So on day twelve I always left a note revealing who I was. Although he said this was a way to bless others, over the years it has been a big blessing to our family.

The person or people I have chosen were always picked by God. He put their name on my heart at some point during the year. Some years it’s really early like April or May and sometimes its been as late as October. Now God doesn’t talk to me in an audible voice for that would surely make me a crazy person but I just get the feeling this person is the one. Most of the time it is a patient I have cared for, but sometimes its a friend that doesn’t know this secret about me. This year I received a little push back from who I chose, to the point I started questioning myself (and God). But in true God fashion I got the answer loud and clear on day ten of dropping gifts off. I received a note saying this girl had a bad year and every night she had to have painful dressing changes and knowing she would be receiving a gift made the discomfort less. I started crying when I read the note. After all it is the exact reason we have done this every year since 2004.

This is the first Christmas we had without Emily. She is working out in California and ended up spending Christmas with the Lindsay’s. If she had to not be at home, she was at the second best place in the world. After all had Brian and I both kicked the bucket, our kids were willed to them. There were times they threatened to kill us so they could live with them. Emily was very sad that she didn’t get to Christmas angel with us. Allyson said to me she liked houses that were farther away because we had more time to talk. So I started thinking about some of the highlights and I shared some of them with this years girl. I decided to blog them tonight for my girls.

The very first year I worked evenings so I had to drop the gifts off during the day. Since I worked the first three days I dropped them off during the day. Apparently that person worked during the day so finally on day three I made my sister call from her work and say this is your Christmas angel please check your front porch. The next year we did my neighbors I had as a child. She was convinced it was a neighbor down the street and each night would yell thank you and say the lady’s name. She never once thought it was me. One year the family lived in De Soto. We arrive in the dark and not one single mailbox has the address on it. None of the houses do either. I attempt to get on google earth but the houses are blocked by trees. By this time I am freaking out, screaming and cursing when the husband walks out to check the mail. Last year the guy I did was convinced he had a stalker and almost called the cops on us. He also had no numbers on his house so my oldest went rooting through his mailbox (which was attached to the house) to see what address was on the mail. One year we did Allyson’s friends who are twins. The first night she was at their house so I had to deliver by myself. I knocked on the door so loud that the guy across the hall opened his door also. I scared them all so bad they bumped heads on the table they were under. Before I had a smart phone I had to use map quest. I arrive to the street I was supposed to turn on and it had turned into a QT with no way to get through. I had to call Brian who had to get out his street guide to get us to the correct house. One year we pulled up to the house and Kayla says they are in the garage. I say no they are not, deliver the gift. She gets out starts to walk and I hear them in the garage. I say F**k they are in the garage, get back in the car.

This year was no different. The very first night I had worked and went by myself. There were no numbers on this house so I had to walk up to the neighbors to see their numbers. I ring the doorbell, hit the second step and my ankle goes sideways. I almost fell and I said oh hell no, I am not getting caught on day one and made it down the steps. One day just as I was getting out of the car, they came out of the house to go somewhere. I jumped back in the car and hid till they left. Then became paranoid they would forget something and come back and catch me. On the eleventh night just as Allyson was crossing the street a van pulled up into their driveway so she came back to the car. We did a lap around the subdivision and then she delivered. But the thing we will always remember is the stop sign in the middle of a street with houses on each side of the road. No cross-road or anything. The sidewalks are on both sides of the streets as well so we couldn’t figure out the purpose. On the last day I was actually going to ring the bell and wait (I’ve only done this one time in all these years) but they were not home.

So what started out as a way to bless others has turned into a Christmas tradition that we all love and look forward to each year. We’ve had great family talks and great family yelling. We’ve brightened 19 families over the years and hope to do 19 more. Although sooner than I care to admit, it will be me by myself so I better keep on running so I don’t get caught.

 

Mole Moral ~ Ding dong ditch still seems wrong even when leaving fun little presents.