Gone in 60 seconds

Life is so fleeting and fragile. Cherish it.

Have you ever seen a person pass away in front of your very eyes?

It wasn’t a violent death nor an accidental one but still, it was unexpected because of the very fact that he was talking to you and moving about in bed and the next thing you knew, a couple of hours later when you walk in and see him unresponsive and gasping for air until eventually his heart stops beating.

As this sweet old semi-confused man lay there with agonal breathing, I tried calling out his name and stood there transfixed and in a daze. I knew he was a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) but all my nurse’s instincts were telling me to do something, to save him! No, it wasn’t his time yet, not on my watch. I checked his vital signs. They were all normal except for the temperature which wouldn’t register orally. I looked at him, he was the color of death and his feeble lips were still moving, trying to breathe. I knew I was in denial when I still attempted to check his temperature in his axilla while at the same time calling my charge nurse to come quick. His bony fingers were cold and his lips were grey. He was fading away fast. The monitor tech told me he still had a heart rhythm but an irregular one at that. I couldn’t feel a pulse nor hear a heart beat. The charge nurse and supervisor who came up a few minutes later confirmed that too. He literally stopped breathing and died in front of us. He then flatlined on the monitor. A doctor came up to pronounce the time of death.

My hands were as cold as his as I was trying to wrap my head around what just happened. No codes, no heroic measures. At least, we left his thin fragile and disease ravaged body intact and not be on life support. He surely knew what he wanted!

I was so relieved the doctor called the family. This task I really hated doing. How can you ever deliver such news? I never really knew how to say the right words.

As I went about doing other things, I can still hear his soft voice as he was consciously yet weakly talking to me earlier during the night, asking to be covered up because he was too cold or for a sip of water. And he never failed to say thank you every time. He got more and more restless and anxious as the night wore on. As if he knew death was coming, kept telling me “I am dying, call the doctor.”

The only thing I did to comfort him was to give him some mild pain reliever and an anti-emetic that were ordered because he also felt nauseous. I tried to reposition him and put his covers on or off as he requested. He was feeling hot and cold at the same time. He was just restless. He would quiet down and lay still for a few minutes and then he would pick at his hospital gown again.

I wonder if he really knew he was dying. I wonder what his last thoughts were. I wonder if he was afraid. I wonder if he was ready.

As my co-workers were being supportive and empathetic towards me, I kept my calm and held myself together. I was too busy to break down at this time. The more I did other nursing stuff, the more I couldn’t think about it. But at the same time, I wanted to talk about it. I wanted to relieve the pressure and burden. I wanted to cry.

Surprisingly, I didn’t cry. Even when I talked to my husband about it when I got home from work. Even when I had a good long hot shower. Even when I was getting ready to sleep.

Later that day, I still felt full inside and just about ready to burst. So I did yoga. When it was time for Savasana (interestingly enough, this is known as the corpse pose), I mentally let my mind float through the days’ events and at the same time trying to still my thoughts, that was when the flood gate of tears opened and in the silence of my living room, I cried my heart out. I cried for this poor old man who died without his family beside him. I cried because I could have done more to provide comfort to him. I cried because I couldn’t do anything about it. I cried because I can still see his face. I cried because I wasn’t expecting him to die that night. I cried because I just had to.

Nursing is a tough job.

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Birthday Wishes

So, its my birthday…. what do I want? Feeling oddly nostalgic and a tad insightful tonight, I didn’t really want to write but words and thoughts are just so busy in my brain right now that they need to come out.

Hence, this random “wish-rant.”

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I wish I wasn’t turning ??-2 this year. Geez, I can’t believe I’m that old! Really?

I wish I had known that life wouldn’t be as complicated.

I wish for more simple happier times, when all that gave you trouble was failing to study for that dreaded exam, or when your crush failed to notice your new ‘do.

I wish the smart phone, tablet and e-reader weren’t invented.

I wish those grey hairs haven’t found my head. They seem to like camping there and looks like they are in for the long haul.

I wish friends, the true and loyal kind, the one who gets you without having to explain too much of yourself, were easy to find.

I wish you didn’t have to chose between happiness and reality.

I wish I stopped picking my fingers. Ugh, bad habit.

I wish world peace could be served on a silver platter.

I wish my eye-sight was still 20/20.

I wish it was as easy to follow your heart.

I wish people weren’t so sensitive and judgmental. (Key to world peace)

I wish creativity would feed your belly and then I could just paint my heart away.

I wish relationships came with a manual for dummies.

I wish I wasn’t too much of a square peg in a round hole.

I wish money grew on trees. Wouldn’t that make life easier?

At the same time, I wish money wasn’t the root of all evil, or wait, was it people?

I wish I could fly. Makes traveling less expensive. I know, wishful thinking!!!

I wish for an election where people don’t hate their friends because of their political beliefs. Thank God for that “unfollow” or “unfriend” (might be a little too harsh here) button on Facebook!

I still wish sometimes for that all American dream with the big house and white picket fence, a dog, kids and a mini-van! Umm, maybe not the mini-van.

PS: my husband randomly wished for a dishwasher that washed “non-dishwashables!” How cool would that be?!

Let’s get crazy and creative tonight. I want to hear your wishes too! 

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Underwater

I have always been more comfortable with the earth. With my feet firmly planted on the ground and being able to breathe in precious air, unencumbered, knowing I won’t run out of it. I feel more steady and secure.

This surprises me because I was born under the sign of the fish and yet the water is my least favorite element. Maybe because I’m not that good of a swimmer. Considering that I was born and raised in an archipelago and currently living close to the beach… I can imagine Pisces squirming from this deviant behavior.

Case in point. Snorkeling.

My hubby and I both love to do all sorts of outdoorsy stuff at home or when we travel. When the ocean is involved, he always makes it a point to swim or snorkel. While I balk and mull it over and see if it is really worth it. I’m happy just laying on the beach, digging my pretty painted toes in the sand, reading, taking photos or walking along the shore and picking up seashells. How relaxing is that.

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In the meantime, I can also hike, zip line, parasail, kayak, rappel, wall climb, jump off a cliff to a pool of water (with a life vest, no less), white water raft, spelunk and do other crazy adrenaline filled activities without much hesitation. But when it comes to being actually in or under water? Umm…gimme a minute to think about it. In fact, give me fifteen minutes.

If the snorkeling is in a place I’ve never been and the reviews (yes, I am anal about reviews) are great, then I jump in the water – with a life vest – float and swim for say, fifteen minutes the most, say hi to the fishes, enjoy the corals, watch out for sharks and jellyfish, then go back to the boat. I am satisfied with that.

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The hubby is another story. He can stay in the water for extended periods of time, diving and frolicking like a dolphin. Now that we have a water proof camera, I gave him full responsibility for documenting his wet adventures. I think he was meant to be a Pisces.

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Which brings me to life and the different elements thrown our way. I mentioned being comfortable with earth and the stability it gives me. And water just throws me off balance and renders me breathless. Fire can be good or bad depending on how you use it while the wind can knock you out if it is strong enough.

Since we are talking about water, here is proof that I can never hold my breath for more than 5 seconds nor can I open my naked eyes to see this beautiful underwater world. We had to take several shots for this underwater selfie to get it “almost” right. And to think this was only chest deep, I look almost tortured and drowning.

I envy the people who are so at home and at peace with the water. They must have been mermaids or dolphins in their past lives. I admit the ocean holds a strange unique beauty only a few intrepid souls can get to experience and enjoy. Her mysteries are as deep and as old as the earth itself. For she renders me powerless and at awe at the same time. For that I have its utmost respect.

No matter how many times life puts us “underwater”, we have always the option to go with the flow, try our damnedest to swim to shore or stay afloat or stop and enjoy its beauty for awhile. As long as you don’t forget to get back to the surface to breathe.

**These photos were taken at Grand Turk and St. Thomas while on our 7-day Holland America cruise last month.**

Sometimes having an anchor helps too. Holds you down and prevents you from being washed away from the tumultuous waves of worry. Whatever or whoever your anchor is, make sure it is steadfast and strong and reliable.

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This is our bedraggled and distorted selves at the end of a long beach day taken from underwater. Coming out standing strong and smiling despite the chill and cloudless sky.

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“Don’t let the waves of others drown out your own ocean song.

Hold your heart as though it was a seashell.

And listen to it. Listen to its music.

To the whispers of your ocean within. And then swim.

Swim to your own ocean music.”

~ S.C. Lourie

 

 

Derailed

What happens when plans fail?

When things don’t go your way.

What happens when your dreams are dashed?

When they have to be put on hold.

What happens when misfortune hits?

When it puts you down on your knees.

What happens when your world is grey?

When all you see is blur from your tear-stained eyes.

What happens when it all seems unfair?

When you think the Universe is conspiring against you.

What happens when God speaks?

When you are not there to listen.

Stop. Breathe. Trust.

This too shall pass. 

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Christmas Funk

So, where was I?

The last time I had something substantial published was in November. After that it was mostly just my “Haiku Fridays”, which honestly, is what is keeping my blog alive for now. I wait for that Friday email from The Daily Post and then search for an appropriate photo in my archives then come up with a haiku in ten minutes or less. Easy peasy. My weekly published post done in a blink of an eye! I could keep it that way for now or forever, but for how long I can keep up with this business of not writing, I don’t know.

And it’s not for lack of something to write. In fact, there are tons of stories that I want to share with you! From finishing our travel nurse contract in Asheville to going back to Florida, to our seven day cruise in the Caribbean, to just about any Christmas story. My mind is gushing with all sorts of topics. I just don’t know where to begin. I think about writing yesterday, I think about writing again today, and I think about writing tomorrow but then when yesterday, today or tomorrow comes, I have nothing! All my photos are patiently waiting to be brought up to the light of day, to be shared and told wonderful and exciting stories.

I thought coming home was going to be easy.

I thought things would just fall back into place.

I feel like I am a stranger in my own home and amongst friends. Is this how it is when you go away? Do you feel like you need to reintegrate yourself back into your old life? Have you changed? Have they changed?

Three more days till Christmas and I can’t seem to get out of this funk.

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Gratefulness

We certainly have a lot to be thankful for.
This amazing world we live in, for abundant blessings and so much more!
That hot cup of coffee, that cozy place you call home.
Never take these things for granted, there are those who are without and roam.
Family and friends, be they near or far,
a loving word or gesture, a smile and warm thoughts can set the bar.

Life certainly has its ups and downs.
I had my own share of copious tears and miserable frowns.
Sometimes you think there is no way out,
a lot of pain and darkness without a doubt.
Too many have gone down the long lonely road
without having a chance to unburden their heavy loads.

But certainly, despite all life’s unexpected curve balls and dirty potholes,
the chance to start anew each day is always there, and try to make us whole.
So we learn to appreciate the littlest of blessings.
For good health, a stable job and each new morning,
for love and courage, for inspiration and dedication.
What more can we ask for, we simply need more passion!

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Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!

Check out another post related to Gratefulness.

Wednesday Wisdom

anaisnin

Sometimes in life, we make unpopular decisions and we end up trying to defend and explain ourselves to people who are, I’m sure, well meaning and have the best of intentions. Sometimes you doubt and reconsider yourself but then again, deep inside, you know that that is the path for you. No one can live your life but you. No one can walk in your shoes. If the feeling is strong, go for it. You can only go forward and not backward. If you fall and stumble, pick yourself up, brush off the dirt and move on. Lessons learned.

The road is long and winding and I don’t have time to waste.

<Random thoughts spurred from our job change and upcoming move to Asheville>