Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Past, Present and Future

Thanksgiving has always been a HUGE part of my life.
From childhood, I can remember packing up and going to Grandma's house for the day.
We cousin's would all bundle up (I honestly remember it being colder then) and play in the lane in front of the house, while the cooking was being done....the men sat in front of the fire,and shared coffee and other libation after a morning of hunting was done.
I remember the year that Freda and I were attacked by turkey's in that lane...also the year they pooped all over Uncle Rick's white corvette - was NOT a pretty sight !

I remember the FOOD !
Have never tasted food as good !
Grandma's yeast roll's and coconut, MAN...what I'd give for a bite of each again !
As we got older,as in...too good to play in the lane anymore, even though we really wanted too...we'd help in the kitchen and easedrop on all the gossip.
Little picture's really DO have BIG ear's, and you'd be amazed at how much they understand too !
I tried to keep this in mind, after I became the adult, talking around the kid's !
I'm sure mine heard some stuff though...It's just a given, that a bunch'a women, cooking...are going to gab about stuff...some things ok...other's not so ok...

Thanksgiving is the first holiday that I remember spending with my future inlaw's too.
My mother in law, rest her soul, could put ON a Thanksgiving, lemme tell ya !
NO ONE before or since, has ever made dressing like her's either....even me, as hard as I have tried to reproduce it.
Now, Thanksgiving at my inlaw's has never been boring. The conversation alone was fantastic.
Growing up around a carnival, they would start talking about that, and we'd all be mesmerized.
Of course, there was and still is (if you put all three Smith boy's in the same room together) the MUSIC argument...It start's and everyone else moans and roll's their eye's...and yell's SHUT UP in 6 part harmony !
Now, we just try not to put all three in a room together at the same time anymore.
After my Father in law passed and it became too hard for my Mother in law to try to do it all, anymore (even thought she still made the dressing) we did Thanksgiving at my sister-in-law's house a few times. Everybody brought stuff and we had great food and lot's of fun, watching our kid's "do" Thanksgiving. Some years we've done it at my house and had everyone over...mostly though, since the kid's got grown, we've all just sort'a stayed at home for the most part. Thanksgiving got "quieter" !

Seems like things are changing again though.
Last year we joined my future daughter-in-law's family for Thanksgiving, and had a great time.
This year, we will do that my son and daughter's house... everyone bringing something, sharing...more of us, now family, at the table.
I think about Thanksgiving,past...and mourn for those who are not here...but, I am SO very grateful for them...I think about Thanksgiving, present, and smile with anticipation.
Thanksgiving in the Future...I'll take them as they come, and be Thankful for each and everyone of them...
I pray you all have a wonderful, safe and Happy Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Unexpected Blessings

Once upon a time, long ago...I was a teenager, wrapped up in my own little world, which was ALL ABOUT ME !
I was having "fun" and doing everything I was big enough to do and then some.
Then I found out Momma was dying of Cancer.
I prayed to God to PLEASE not let her die...and, that if he would do that, I would never do drugs again.
Well, she died...and I was SO angry at God, but I still didn't do drugs again.
God didn't really have anything to do with that though (or, so I thought, then)
Nope... (corny as it may sound) I knew Momma could now see everything I was doing !
So, I didn't do anything that I thought she'd whup my butt for after that...but, I know now, that had she lived...I honestly might not have...because I was right there, before she got sick....right about ready for a needle in my arm, or something equally as deadly.

Flash forward a few years... I had been married about seven months... had found myself out of a job, when my Boss closed the daycare she owned, after the loss of her son, Deputy David Beck, who along with his partner, Deputy Frank Stoltz, were ambushed and killed, while trying to apprehend the two criminal's who killed them.
We found out about it through the New's media.
It was devestating for all of those who knew and loved them.

I was given the choice to draw unemployment or go to school.
Well, my Momma didn't raise no fool...I jumped at school !
I could become a Cosmetoligist, which, as you can plainly see, wasn't for me...I can't even SPELL it ...and of the hardest whuppin's I ever GOT in my life, was after I'd put a bowl over my little sister's head, and proceded to whakk her hair all to pieces !
NO WAY, I was EVER going to put another pair of sissors to someone's hair again !


I could become a Nurse...a Licensed Practical Nurse, to be specific.
Humm, I thought.....JOB SECURITY !
I mean, people are always going to be sick, right ?
and...even though I did have this habit of fainting at the sight of blood, I still thought I could do it.
I did...and, found my niche.
Finished LPN school and went right on back to school to get my degree in Nursing.
RN...Real Nurse, they called it...but, the truth is...any nurse is a REAL NURSE !

Because, two good men gave their lives to protect and serve people, such as I...I found the Blessing of Nursing.

Along about that same time, I met Clara...the BEST friend anyone could ever ask for.
For ten years, she was my friend, my mentor, my sister...
Clara was diagnosed with breast cancer the year I met her, and fought it harder than anyone I have ever known ...and BEAT it for a few years too.
It came back as Bone cancer a few years later, and she could not win that fight.
Losing Clara was almost as hard for me, as losing my Mom some seventeen years earlier, with the exception of the fact that, with Clara, I was actually able to do something her...give her shots for nausea, after she had chemo, answer questions, LISTEN and CARE...not just as a Nurse, but as someone who loved her very much.
I was able to understand, probably better than most other's around at the time, what Clara's kid's were going through, since I'd been there too, not so long ago.
I like to think that, because of that I was able to be of some help to them.
I hope so.
I remember something Clara told me, not too long before she died...something Vicka (one of the visionaries in Medjugorie, Yugoslavia) had told her, when she'd asked her if it were wrong to ask for the miracle of a healing.
Vicka had told her, that "Sometimes the miracle is not in the healing, but in the journey."
When she told me that, it occurred to me, that Clara (although she had no idea of it) was a miracle in my journey...
Knowing her, loving her, being able to help her through her own journey, that was way too short, was in a way, healing for see, because of Clara, I stopped hating God for taking Momma.
Clara gave me back the Blessing of Faith.

Ten years ago, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.
I can honestly say, I didn't get, by then I was just grateful for all the stuff that was happening to me, to have a real name to it...I mean, something other than CRAZY !
No, I didn't get mad....I got determined....probably more determined, than I'd ever been in my life...NOT to let MS control me.
I found a strength inside myself, I didn't know I had.
I'm still fighting that fight, and winning more days than not....and, even though it did, finally cause me to have to stop Nursing...that is just a bump in the road... I am still determined, and I have FAITH that God will continue to Bless me with the strength to fight.

This morning, I thought about an old saying I've alway's heard..."God doesn't close one door, that he doesn't open another."

It's definately true in my life...what about yours ?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Reality Bites !

I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis back in 01 ( If my MS brain remembers correctly) somewhere around there, anyway.
Doc asked me then if I wanted to file for my disability, to which I responded, " You have GOT to be kidding...who the EFF can live on that." ???
Not to mention that I really love Nursing.
I have to admit though, that, in the beginning, I chose Nursing for one reason and one reason only...job security !
I mean, I used to faint at the sight of blood....I DID !
but, see...I married a musician...and, one of us HAD to have a real job, to survive, if we intended to stay married...
God intended for me to be a Nurse though....I know this, because Nursing, not only fed my fed my soul.
I met and worked with, and cared for, and became close to so many wonderful people.
Many, who have remained in my life until even now.
I wasn't about to give that up.
I continued to work.
I was determined not to let MS dictate how I lived my life...control my life.
I did pretty good for awhile...had bad days and good days...maybe a few bad weeks, here and there, if a flare was really bad, but I managed.
Almost made it ten more years, and then the chair got me...
Office chair tumped (yes, tumped is a word in the south) me out and then fell on top of me, across my neck and shoulders, and ended up being the straw that almost broke this bitches neck !
C 4/5 and 5/6 fused and then 2 more surgeries to a torn rotator cuff ( they can cut my neck anyday, before I'll let them do THAT again) and now, facing yet another surgery on C5/6 again.
Well, stuff such as this is like gasoline on a fire, where MS is concerned...
I've had more crap with the MS in the two years since the Battle of the Chair, than I ever had before, but I still refused to file.
Kept hoping that I'd get better and be able to go back to work.
When my arm still wouldn't work after the shoulder surgery, I finally conceded, and filed though.
It is the hardest thing I have ever done.
Why ???
Because, even brain refuses (to some extent) to accept that I can't BE a good Nurse anymore.
If something happens or someone asks me a question, I still shift into NURSE mode.
I guess I always will.
How does that go....You can take the girl out of Nursing, but you cannot take the Nurse out of the girl.
Even when I finally filed for disability, I was convinced that it would only be temporary.
I had set this goal for myself, that I would Nurse until I couldn't walk anymore...if that day ever came.
It never occured to me, that you needed two good arms to do it too ..and STAMINA !
and a brain (that works)
Most day's I am ok...but other day's, ...ummm...and it was on one of THOSE day's, not too long ago, that it finally dawned on me, that, if I had been working that day...what kind of care would I have been able to give my patients ?
Would "I" have wanted me to be MY Nurse !
and, that, my when reality BIT me !
If I cannot be the kind of Nurse I would want for myself, or for my child, or parent... then I don't want to do it anymore...and, I can't.
Well, lemme tell you...THAT HURT !
I cried and threw myself a good hissy fit, and then went to my pity party, and had too much whine ...and cried myself to sleep, and woke up the next day, as hungover as if I really had drank too much wine.
I knew however, that I'd finally hit that wall, that had the billboard on it that said to me, Your done !
I don't have any choice but to accept it now.
I am NOT "done" though.
There will be other things for me to do.
Stories to write, animal's to rescue, volunteer stuff.
I will have this next surgery, and then it's Katy, Bar the Door !
I'm going to live everyday as fully as I can until I ain't breathing anymore.
Nursing might not be a part of it, but I can live with that now.
Reality BIT, and now, I am biting back !