“life is funny”

This is one particular little “ism” that my grandmother seems to repeat quite frequently. Much to the chagrin of my parents. I mean, granted, they have had to hear it a lot more than I do, but they are also slightly less patient or tolerant of her particular brand of age-related dementia, which seems to come with a lot of repetition of phrases.  I often want to say to them: “Shes not biting, scratching, screaming, or trying to run away… You’ve got it easy.” but.. I don’t.

But you know what. Life is funny. Not in the “haha” kind of way, but in the “wtf. life is super weird sometimes” kind of way. It’s two a.m. and I’m in my mothers house, in my old bedroom, sitting up in bed, listening to the receiving end of a baby monitor, the other end of which is in my grandmothers room, waiting to hear her call for the commode. It has been less than 6 months since the passing of my grandfather right here in this house, just down the hall. Six months since I stayed up all night with him while his body gave up it’s fight. Six months since I gently administered to  him a steady stream of Oxy and Ativan every 15 minutes to keep his body still while his spirit evacuated it.  In that span of time, I traveled to India, I nearly got divorced, I considered suicide, I considered rehab, I finished by BSN program, and I made the decision to move away from the city I have lived in for 12 years. Now here I am again, staying up all night feeding Oxy to a dying woman. A woman who raised me from a baby. I clean her commode and feed her jello. I feel, at once, hyper-present and numb. I ask myself “how is this happening?” but I already know the answer.

Life is funny.

life get’s in the way sometimes

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My life is legitimately crumbling out from underneath me…
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It has been, over the past year-and-a-half or so. A lot of it is my own fault. I have done a lot of really terrible things that almost cost me my marriage, and I was teetering right on the cusp of divorce. And I totally own that.
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I had lost myself.
I didn’t know who I was anymore.
Maybe I still don’t.
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Then my husband’s grandfather died.
Then his uncle died.
Then my grandfather died.
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I was with my grandfather through the entirety of the dying process.
I provided his end of life and postmortem care.
That was a major game changer for me.
~
Only one week after that happened, I traveled to India on a humanitarian mission and provided medical care to hundreds of displaced, disenfranchised and ostracized individuals, across the lifespan, all  with leprosy.
That was also a major game changer for me.
~
Then I went back home, picked myself up, and finished my BSN program.
Tomorrow I graduate Summa Cum Laude, with the third highest GPA in my graduating class. I am also an inductee into the Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society. And I am being presented with an award for having the highest exam scores of my class.
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I think that it’s relevant to point out at this point, that despite all the pomp and circumstance, I didn’t think I was even going to make it to see my graduation,
because I  thought I might end my own life.
My tentative plan was actually to admit myself into a 30-day residential treatment facility immediately after graduation.
Because I needed help.
I still do.
I’m still not ok.
But life…. It gets in the way sometimes.
~
My family flew into town tonight, from California and New York, for my graduation tomorrow. But unfortunately the celebration is now cast in shadow…
They were holding off on telling me the news because they didn’t want to distract me while I took my final exams..
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My grandmother, who has been having ongoing health problems since the beginning of the year, and underwent surgery in February, was not progressing, but getting worse.
So they decided to do some more tests…..
Stage four, in-operable gallbladder cancer.
She has been admitted into Hospice at home.
They think two months. Maybe.
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So… I graduate tomorrow, the biggest achievement of my adult life, and then I am skipping my senior boat cruise, and all the graduation parties, and going to rehab, and flying back to New York with my family to rally around our matriarch.
And like my grandfather, less than 7 months ago, I will provide her end-of-life care.
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In other news, only just two days ago, my husband and I came to the very difficult decision that at the end of May we have to leave Chicago, my home of the past 12 years, and move in with my mother-in-law because we can no longer afford to live in our apartment and pay our bills. So there’s that too.
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lovely menstrual gifts for my ladies

I’ve been a crazy sewing fool today!

I cranked out two full sets of cloth pads for some girlfriends.

Each set has 1 liner, 1 light flow pad and 1 heavy/overnight pad.

I am so pleased with how they turned out 😀

I also bundled each set with 1 reusable cloth tampon!

FullSizeRender 7 FullSizeRender 9 reusable tampon

October 2015. India. Humanitarian nursing service mission.

gofundme2

gofund.me/nursingindia

I have an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel to Hyderabad, India this October to participate in Chamberlain College of Nursing’s International Nursing Service Project.

Participating in this trip would give me a unique opportunity to take all of the nursing skills and knowlege I have already aquired in the classroom and clinical rotations, and apply them in a humanitarian capacity.

This two-week intensive takes us,  to south-central India to provide medical support to underserved communites there.  We provide medical care and attention to individuals in both rural and urban settings. This trip would deeply enhance my clinical education, help me to become a more well-rounded care provider, as well as give me the chance to experience, first-hand, a dramatically different cultural and socioeconomic environment.

The cost for the trip is $4,000 which includes all travel, room and board expenses for the two weeks.

At the end of the two weeks, our efforts are rewarded with a  visit to the Taj Mahal!

Please consider making any donation, small or large, to help me be able to participate in this amazing humanitarian mission and educational experience!

Dhanyavaad!
(धन्यवाद्)
Thank you!