Jul 24

Happy Birthday Jennifer Ellen!  I only wish you were here in NC with me to celebrate!  I hope you have a fabulous day and know that I’ll be drinking a Captain and Coke and thinking of you…and all of our crazy times!

I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jul 21

What can I say?

I’ve got a sunburn that’s slowly morphing into a nice toasty tan.  I had my hair done with even chunkier and blonder (is that a word?) highlights and had cute little bangs cut to go with my pixie.

I drank beer and sweated my ass off with Julie and cheered on the Hickory Crawdads (even if they did lose) and the next night, swayed to the music of and declared my once dormant love for Bryan Adams.

Yesterday, I spent the day in the mountains with my family and we all went on a hike and went canoeing and we got through the entire day with little or no drama.

Someone asked me what the date was today and I honestly didn’t know.  That’s a good sign that I’m enjoying my vacation.  My days are running together and I’m surrounded by the love of my family and friends.

If I didn’t know any better, I’d swear that this state is trying to seduce me back into its good graces.  Heck, I feel like I’m cheating on my beloved Alaska.

My heart only aches when I think of my dogs back home waiting for me….and the fact that my Katie girl won’t be there when we get back.

But I know all of them are being well taken care of.  By the friends that we also miss.

So, for now loves, just know that things are going well, we’re having a blast…and we’ll see you when we see you.

Jul 15

Okay, I wrote out a beautiful, sharp-witted post about how, since Saturday after puddle jumping and arriving in Anchorage late; that Dusty, Tess, Rebecca, and I spent a fabulous night at our (mine and Howard’s) house.

I mentioned the beautiful place settings and floral centerpiece that Howard assembled and the big box of Godiva chocolates he left with a note that said “HAVE FUN!”

I mentioned the four of us sharing cocktails and secrets and gorging ourselves on fresh fruit, veggies, and fruit tarts and curling up on the couch to watch “Juno”. (which we LOVED)

I mentioned having the best night of sleep in a long time.

I mentioned Dusty and I buying two of the worst Chai Lattes in the history of coffee/tea making and then promptly going somewhere else (ie a real coffee house and not a supermarket deli) to buy replacements (which were awesome…I am officially a coffee/tea snob).

And I mentioned that the four of us noshed on donuts and visited until it was time for Becky and Tess to leave and how we exchanged long tight hugs and promises to do it again whenever we could.

And I mentioned Dusty and I goofing off and shopping in Anchorage until he dropped me off at the airport.

I mentioned flying 12 hours and landing early where Howard and I proceeded to have a fabulous afternoon riding around Charlotte visiting old haunts, reminiscing about living here over 10 years ago, and about spending today at Carowinds and then going out for an orgasmic dinner at Sullivan’s where we drank some of the best wine and ate some of the best food I think we’ve ever had. Ever!

And then I mentioned that we returned to our uber-fabulous hotel room downtown and that I had a down comforter to crawl under, pillows to drown in, and a husband with which to make up 5 weeks worth of spooning..

And then of course, the post was lost in cyberspace….go figure.

So, ulltimately my point? Was that since Saturday? This has been the perfect vacation so far.

The End.

Jul 11

I can finally breathe a sigh of relief and say “OH MY GOD, I thought I WOULD NEVER survive this session.”

Final scores: 98 on closed book exam.  95 on open book.  100% on all 4 OSCE’s.

Katie girl must be looking out for me.  I mean, I don’t think I could have been any more stressed out while trying to get through 9 credits worth of course work.

And yet, I made it.  Go me.

Billy and The Jerk left on tonight’s flight and because I would rather spend my money on more useful things (like beer and hard drugs perhaps), I opted not to pay the change fee and am alone with my other roommate until tomorrow morning.

Tomorrow, I’m getting this unruly mop of hair cut, my roots done, I’m picking up Dusty from the airport(he’s flying in later tomorrow), we’ll have lunch and catch up with each other, then we’re driving out to the valley to my house where Tess and Becky are meeting up with us.  We are then going to start doing tequila shots and downing margaritas, throwing a wake for Katie cat until one of us dances on a tabletop (but preferably not my brand new gathering table and chairs that my super awesome husband just assembled a month ago).  Then we will all crash out and hopefully not puke on the furniture and then lounge around Sunday until I have to head back into town to catch my red-eye bound for Houston which will then connect me to my flight headed to NC.

*SIGH*

Not a bad start to my vacation.

So, if I’m quiet for a while, trust that I will be doing fun things like going to baseball games, drinking copious amounts of alcohol, seeing Bryan Adams in concert(HOLY SHIT!), hiking and kayaking my ass off, and allowing my days to sort of blur together…

Be safe.  Be good. And I’ll see ya when I see ya. Mwah, loves.

Jul 9

Thank you so much for the emails you guys…once again, you prove that I have the best friends in the world.

Howard was naturally upset when I told him yesterday morning.  I barely slept Monday night and sobbed into my pillow in between.  I still can’t believe she’s gone.  15 years is a long time.

Howard and his mom stayed up, drank beer, and had a good cry over his Katie girl.

Yesterday morning, during my OSCE’s I was already tearing up so I warned all of my instructors that I may be weepy all day and why.  They all understood and one of them even put a card and a book of poems for pets in my inbox today.  I certainly wasn’t seeking sympathy, I just wanted them to know why I might have tears running down my cheeks throughout the day.

I got through all of them..and I think I only screwed up on one..hopefully it was a minor mistake and won’t count off too much.

Final written exams were this morning and my final clinical was this afternoon.  Tomorrow and Friday will consist of EMS review and cleaning and packing.

Shit man, I’m ready for my vacation.

Jul 8

funny pictures
more cat pictures

Jul 8

I knew it in Dusty’s silence when I asked about Katie, that something was wrong.

“She’s in a better place…” he started.

I burst into tears and full out wailed. I wasn’t trying to be dramatic, it just poured out of me from deep in my heart. I couldn’t control it. I could barely talk and Dusty tried to calm me enough to tell me what happened.

“She looked like she was asleep, all cute, and curled up, looking peaceful..” his voice broke and I could tell he was being stoic for my sake.

“I’ll take care of everything you need done, I’m sorry I didn’t tell you earlier, I knew this last week was important and I wanted you to get through it.”

He also knew that he couldn’t lie to me if I asked.

He allowed me to cry and sob as he comforted me. I thanked him profusely for being so sensitive about it. Pets aren’t people, I realize that, and a lot of people don’t understand that kind of love..but Dusty does. He didn’t make me feel silly for being so upset, he didn’t downplay my pain, he genuinely felt horrible that this had happened to us…and genuinely sad that his “little Katie Couric” (as he loved to call her) was gone.

Our “little Katie Lou Hoo” with her big round eyes.
I tried to call Howard but it was well past midnight on the east coast and I knew he probably wouldn’t hear his phone. By the time I hit “publish” on this post, he will know. I would NEVER do that without letting him know first.

It’s just that writing is my therapy..and I have to get it out.

What can I say about our Katie girl? Howard found her when she was just a tiny kitten with a bad cold but a lot of moxie and they fell in love with each other instantly. I remember when he called me from the office telling me he had “a surprise” for me.

“We don’t need another dog”

“It’s not a dog”

“We don’t need a cat”

“Oh honey, she’s so cute…tell you what, I’ll bring her home, we’ll take her to the vet tomorrow and find her a good home.”

“Okay, because we already have too many animals in this apartment”

And we did. At the time, we had two dogs and our apartment rules only allowed 1. And it was a small apartment. I didn’t want to push our luck any further. I was lying on the couch when he came in through the back door and he placed her on the floor and she tippy-tapped into the room and looked up at me and meowed a sweet little cry that sounded like she was saying “milk!” Howard KNEW I would not be able to resist her. Needless to say, she became ours. Or should I say, Howard’s.
She was the consumate “daddy’s girl”. If Howard was in the room, she had to be right next to him. She slept beside him every night. She always waited until we were all settled in and then she jumped up on the bed, walked over all of us, made sure we were all present and accounted for and then found her daddy.

She was a tiny little thing who just kind of stopped growing after reaching 8 pounds. The vets always assured us that she was perfectly healthy…she was just a small cat. We called her our “little fairy cat” because she was so dainty and little.

I’m not just saying this because she’s now gone but she was probably one of the sweetest cats I’ve ever had. She was always meowing and talking to us. Always offering a “head butt” whenever we leaned down to offer kisses to her…she always got along with the dogs. Especially Lucky dog…in fact, I don’t think I ever saw the two of them fight. They always just accepted each other and the love was always there. They were like an old married couple…aging together…

Most of you know that last year, almost to the day; Brian and Dusty flew her to town because she was so sick. She was in renal failure and the vets weren’t sure if she would pull through. She did but they told us that we had to commit ourselves to keeping her kidneys flushed but even that might not allow her to live much longer. We did everything we could to make her life better. We were committed to making sure she wasn’t suffering. She thrived and made a full recovery….or so it appeared to us.

It got to where we didn’t need to dose her at all anymore…and in fact had started her back on regular cat food because truth be told, she hated the prescription stuff, and Howard and I agreed that her quality of life was more important than her possibly starving and being unhappy because she hated her cat food. In the end, that may have been her undoing….but Dusty said she looked happy and peaceful and didn’t appear to suffer. That, in the end, was the most important thing to me and I know it is to Howard too.

So, goodbye sweet baby girl. Go find Zeus, and Z-dog, and Poogie and show them who’s boss. Zeus will be so happy to see you, he always loved you so. And finally, go find Sebastian, the cat I had when I was in high school that my mom “sent away”..the one I never got over losing…the cat you reminded me of when you walked into my life that night 15 years ago. You were the best kitty in the world. Wait for us baby girl, we’ll be there soon.

Jul 6

This edition is dedicated to my long time good friend Brian who I just re-connected with after a long absence. Brian and I worked together when we lived in Wilmington and forged a bond that seemed impenetrable.

Then I moved away to Alaska. Then we sort of fell out with each other. Sure, there was the sporadic phone call now and then but today…it was like all the years fell away and we’d never been apart from each other.

I will say right now, that I don’t have a lot of close friends but the ones I do have? Are precious to me. Especially the ones who share my soul. Brian is one of those friends.

It seems that with all of the craziness in my life right now, God is sending friends my way. He is surrounding me with the people I need most in my life. I am humbled and grateful. My cup runneth over.

I plan to see most of my small circle of friends when I get back to NC. I already know it’s going to be exactly the dose of strength I need. With them surrounding me, I will feel invincible. And the ones I won’t get to see (Heather, Jenni) or the ones who won’t get to travel with me (Dusty) will be rooting for me all the same.

Meanwhile, here’s to you, B. I love you beyond measure.

Who Says You Can’t Go Home-performed by Jennifer Nettles and Jon Bon Jovi 

spent 20 years trying to get out of this place
I was looking for something I couldn’t replace
I was running away from the only thing I’ve ever known
Like a blind dog without a bone
I was a gypsy lost in the twilight zone
I hijacked a rainbow and crashed into a pot of gold
I been there, done that and I ain’t lookin’ back on the seeds I’ve sown,
Saving dimes, spending too much time on the telephone
Who says you can’t go home

[Chorus]
Who says you can’t go home
There’s only one place they call me one of their own
Just a hometown boy, born a rolling stone, who says you can’t go home
Who says you can’t go back, been all around the world and as a matter of fact
There’s only one place left I want to go, who says you can’t go home
It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright, its alright

I went as far as I could, I tried to find a new face
There isn’t one of these lines that I would erase
I lived a million miles of memories on that road
With every step I take I know that I’m not alone
You take the home from the boy, but not the boy from his home
These are my streets, the only life I’ve ever known,
who says you can’t go home

[Chorus]

I been there, done that and I ain’t looking that
It’s been a long long road
Feels like I never left, that’s how the story goes

It doesn’t matter where you are, it doesn’t matter where you go
If it’s a million miles aways or just a mile up the road
Take it in, take it with you when you go,
who says you can’t go home  

Jul 4

But Happy 4th of July everyone!  I hope you all gorged yourselves on food and spirits and got your fireworks fix.

Speaking of fireworks, I’ve taken it for granted that for the past five years I’ve always lived in a part of Alaska that gets sunshine for 24 hours around this day.  Turns out in Sitka, because we are so far South, it does get dark, therefore, they had fireworks last night.

Which completely jolted me out of a sound sleep and continued until well past 1am this morning.  Needless to say, we were all a little sleepy in the lecture class this morning.

So, this week has been the biggest learning experience yet.  I learned how to give a pelvic exam and do a pap smear and how to examine the male genitalia as well.  I also practiced a Nervous System and Mental Status Exam.  And can you believe that next week is my last week and I’ll have completed the second phase of this course?  Holy shit, where the hell did the time go?

Anywho, I had another one of those “wow…this is where I should be” moments today while examining a patient who suffered from a stroke last weekend.  “Mr. M” had been unresponsive since he’d been admitted, in fact, he was the subject of my Nervous system exam a few days ago.  I had to perform a cardiac, digestive, and respiratory exam on him today, and of course, having learned this early on, I spoke to him the entire time I was with him, because hearing really is the last sense to go.

So remember that when you’re all arguing around your poor relative when they’re in a coma…they can hear you, I promise.  Don’t say anything to them that you wouldn’t say to them were they awake.

Aaaaaanyway, so I do what I need to do and at the end, after debriefing with my preceptor, I turned my attention back to my patient and asked: “Mr. M, can you wiggle your toes for me?”

And his right toes wiggled!  My heart skipped a beat and I asked him to do it one more time..”one more time, Mr. M.”

*wiggle!*

My voice broke as I said “Good job, Mr. M!” and I rubbed his foot and fought back tears.  Just two days ago, he was unable to follow commands or acknowledge that he even heard me. I knew I’d done the right thing in explaining to Mr. M exactly what I was doing while performing his exam today.  And in some small way, maybe by doing that, I’ve given him hope.

That, my friends is worth all my stress in the end.   Happy Independence Day!