Tuesday, March 31, 2009

old man.

I remembered him tonight when I saw the word “Achalasia” in my review book. I remembered how he sat uncomfortably in his chair in the corner of the hospital room—within reach of the phone, should anyone call. I remembered how his back curved forward, his eyes glazed, but happy. I remembered how I had to yell to get him to hear me--& how he nodded in genuine approval when he finally understood what I said.

And I cried tonight—because he was lonely.

I met him back in September. He was admitted to the ICU for rectal bleeding without a known cause. He’d gone through a gamut of procedures—tubes in & out, up & down, xrays, scans, needle sticks. And still, nothing.

The older patients are my favorite when I’m working in the hospital. They appreciate your time the most—they respond to your smiles, relax with gentle touch, & have endless stories to share.

He was old. 96, actually.

His wife, whom he told me about, had died almost 20 years earlier. And he remained in his house, alone. The house they’d made love in. The house they’d raised their children in. The house where their lives happened, together. He stayed because it smelled like her—at least it did at one time; he stayed because he was happy living through his memories.

He had children—but they lived away. Two sons, I think—each of whom had families of their own. He didn’t see his grandchildren as often as he liked—and I wanted to call his sons & scream in the phone that this man needed the joy of little ones more than once a year.

When I first met him, he was eating pancakes drenched in syrup. His shaky hand made its way to his mouth, lips found the fork with hesitation, & he’d slowly drop his hand back to the tray to retrieve another bite.

I tried to smile…I tried to look happy while my insides cringed & twirled about, wondering why this lonely old man’s life had come to this. Once vibrant, muscular (he even told me so!), once completely capable of holding a job, raising a family, loving his wife...now this.

As I yelled questions into his left ear, I finally gathered that he was having trouble eating--& had been for about three months. In the course of 90-something days he’d lost over 60 pounds…and for anyone in medicine, extreme weight loss usually means something bad. But upon further questioning, I discovered that in his lonely house, he was too old to cook. And so he ate two meals each day. One cup of coffee for breakfast (“meal”) & one microwaved dinner, which his kind neighbor (who was also a nurse at the hospital) heated for him each night.

Two meals. Every day—only two.

He told me he was really hungry—but just couldn’t cook…and didn’t have any one to do it for him.

Old man. Lonely house, full of memories.

I had to leave the room—and, as I always do when I’m emotionally charged—I found a bathroom just down the hall from his room. I cried. I cried for a long time. And when I finally emerged, eyes puffy & reddened, I was angry.

I was angry at society for boarding our generations of wisdom, for shunning them with looks of disproval & treating them like children. I was angry at families, abandoning the very people who served as their care-givers during their precious development. And I was angry at myself, for not showing compassion to all the “wisers” that had crossed my path.

And I’m still angry.

Turns out, this lonely old man also had a spasmatic lower esophageal sphincter (read: the bottom part of his esophagus wasn’t properly allowing food to enter his stomach)…we discharged him two days later. Never could find the source of his bleeding.

Lonely man, I hope you’re peacefully at rest now—home with your wife, home with your Maker.

Monday, March 30, 2009

ugly confession.CLOTHES

My parents separated when I was young—their divorce was finalized before I hit age six. And although the years of my youth were difficult, I now see our situation as a late-blooming blessing.

I spent my weekends split between two homes, two sets of rules, & two different environments. My dad lives out in the country—I played in the hay, ran through the apple orchards, & took sunset rides into the mountains on horseback. Looking back, my time there was full of imagination & magic (& hives from the hay…but that is another story). The adventures my mom & I had were entirely different in their own right—she was the creative parent, always prompting my imagination, challenging me to think in new ways & see the world through different glasses. She made alphabet flashcards each year—cards which I would fill with treasures from our nature walks. I glued sand on the “S” card, leaves on the “L” card; and we wrote our memories on the back (I really need to find those, by the way…). I was always welcome in the kitchen…and she encouraged creative concoctions—which she’d hesitantly cheeked (& probably spit out when I left the room with self-satisfied glory). Both of my parents were overwhelmingly supportive…& my childhood memories abound with leisurely days of creativity & imagination.

The time I spent between two homes & two parents also meant that I was torn between two closets. Albeit trivial, I felt like I was constantly traveling—my life was always in flux. If I needed my red shirt on Wednesday but left it at my Dad’s on Sunday, I had to go without. And when I forgot my makeup over the weekend & needed it for school on Monday morning, I went to school looking like a zombie.

My departure for college meant that, officially, my “visitation” requirements were null—although I will add that both sets of parents were increasingly understanding of my desire to spend the weekends on retreats & with my friends during high school. I was looking forward to my time at Gonzaga—it meant new opportunities, new challenges…and quite ridiculously, that I would no longer feel like I was living from a suitcase. Or so I thought.

Do you know how small those little tiny closets are? WOW. I ended up leaving some of my clothes at home—the clothes I had gathered from my closets at my Dad’s, my dresser at my Mom’s. Winter came—I needed my sweaters…but they were back home in storage. We had a surprisingly warm day in October…I wanted my jean shorts…but they were back home in storage.

And wouldn’t you know, I’m still living the life of two closets (at least it isn’t a closet life, huh?!). My work clothes stay with me on my rotations…the remainder of them have their home in North Carolina. But when I want to take a trip to Walmart on a Thursday night & all I have to wear are black pants & a button-up shirt or my pajamas, it causes a bit of issue for me! It is no secret that I’m a planner—I like schedules, I like to know what is happening next…I like to be prepared.

{Note: Let me just say that I did not plan on writing this much about my clothes…who knew closets could be so interesting!?}

My closet “situation” has, in my psychologically minded-brain, lead to an increased inclination towards clothing. I LOVE CLOTHES. There, I said it.

And unfortunately, I have lots of them. I realized last week that in my mind, I’m prone to buying more (always on sale, mind you) because I can’t see all of what I have--& my brain is filled with ridiculous pathologies & useless medical information—so I can’t remember what I have, either.

I’m realizing that God doesn’t want me to be so focused on clothing. The truth is that I treasure it—I love what I have… (do you have any idea how ridiculous that sounds when I see it in a sentence?!). But lately I’ve found myself overly drawn to looking, to wanting more. And in the meantime, I’m missing the simpler pleasures of life: rolling in the hay, running through the apple orchards, spending an afternoon on a nature walk.

Time has given me the insight—although difficult to swallow—that, in an odd way, my clothing has overwhelmed me. Washing it. Caring for it. Loving it... (again, ridiculous…). My tendency to feel like I “need more” has taken its grip…and I’d like it to stop. Now please don’t think that this “love for clothing” as caused any problems in our marriage, damage to our bank account, or violence at the after-Thanksgiving Day-sales…it certainly has NOT.

The “clothing” category of our budget has rarely gone over (aside from a few times with unexpected purchases)…and I always make it a point to buy items on sale. We haven’t suffered because of this…the point, though, is that it is consuming.

I want my treasure to be somewhere else…whether it is in creativity, relationships, service, or all of the above…

And so…I’m instigating a change—on my part entirely. I’m challenging myself in a new way—one that will certainly be difficult for me over the course of the next year (especially living with two cute, stylish sisters who socialize by shopping). I’m going to try to abandon my tendency toward more while Jon is deployed. With the goal of saving as much money as possible, I’m going to honestly assess the motives behind my actions in buying clothes. Given, there will be some items I need (hello yellow pit stains??!)…but realizing that this will be difficult for me, I’m going to try.

What is at the back of your closet? Where do you find your material idols? How do they consume you?...and what steps can you take to get rid of them?

Friday, March 27, 2009


randoms 029

She was, by all accounts, a granola girl. Her mesh grocery bag sat beside her on the folding chair, jaw quietly moving as she chewed on a dehydrated apple.

The class seemed long, but her nods of approval didn’t fade during the 2.5 hours. Her lips occasionally curved upward, the corners of her eyes squinting in anticipatory approval.

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When we all moved to the floor, the four couples around us chatted quietly & chuckled at the awkwardness that was about to ensue. She sat alone, smiling, in the darkened front corner. The instructor asked me to be her practice partner.

And so I sat, Indian style, next to her on the fuzzy cotton blanket she’d brought. Her back was straight against the two fluffy pillows leaning on the wall—the years of yoga training was obviously benefiting her growing belly.

Her skin was glowing.

I stuck my hand out, I’m Jlyn, I said quietly.

Hey, she responded, I’m April.

So, when are you due? I noticed her simple gold wedding band as she contemplatively scratched her head.

Umm….May. But I’m hoping he comes earlier…we’re ready to meet him.

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So it’s a boy?


The instructor started talking. We listened to the couple next to us obnoxiously laugh & poke at each other—I was worried they might playfully start a pillow fight in the middle of the birthing class…something high school girls do at sleepovers.

Aaannnndddddd…..deep breath, the instructor said.

April closed her eyes & filled her lungs with fresh air. She was totally calm, relaxed. My mind wandered to her baby’s birth and I wondered if the serenity would last.

randoms 003

Hold it, I said shyly, annnddddd….10…9…8…7…6…5…4…3…2…1…good job!

She opened her eyes & smiled. I could tell she was excited; excited to be in the class, surrounded by other women with growing bellies just like hers. Excited to be part of this miracle. She laughed at the obnoxious teen couple next to us, her belly moving as she giggled. I was amazed at her joy.

The instructor asked a question. She answered with a brief story…and a chuckle.

So, is this your first? I whispered.

Yeah, yeah…this is our first. We are really excited.

No other kids at home?
I said.

Nope. This one will be the first one!

But…didn’t you just say in your story that you were pregnant before? I boldly inquired.

Her eyes darted away from me.

Well, I’m kind of old—I’m 39. She looked down & playing with a cotton string from the blanket. We’ve, umm…..we’ve lost quite a few.

Oh, I coyly replied, instantly regretting my boldness.

Yeah. We’d planned on having kids right after we got married…but things were kind of…unexpected. She looked up again & took a breath. But…we’re pregnant now!! The baby is healthy…and….

The instructor started again, ….take a breath….hold it….10…9…8…7…

My face was red—and I was instantly thankful she’d picked the corner of the room with the least light. I was embarrassed at my audacity, my total emotional detachment. During the day when I’m seeing patients, I’m taught to ask questions. Personal questions about fears, relationships, STD’s, sexual activity, bowel movements, the smell of urine…

I left the class and said goodbye to April, wishing her luck & health with her pregnancy & parenting endeavors. I just couldn’t think of anything else to say—my comforting words immediately & unexpectedly deplete. I'd walked into the class to fulfill my service learning requirement, I was walking out preoccupied with our future.

Jon didn’t call that night—he didn’t have cell phone reception. My eyes did not close easily, and even 45 minutes after my head met the pillow my gaze was still fixated on the same speck above my bed.

We want children. Our desire is to raise a family. Most couples who commit to spend their lives together aspire to parenthood. And the truth is that we have a plan…a plan that, in our minds, is darn-near perfect.

But I think April & her husband did, too. And almost ten years later, they are finally pregnant with their first. After repeated joys of the blue line on the pee-stick…and repeated heartbreak when the beta-HCG stopped increasing, they were finally part of the miracle of creation.

randoms 002

Their friends’ kids are in middle school—and April is just setting up her nursery. Together they’d watched other family’s grow, received Christmas cards of plump toddlers in snowsuits, & tasted chocolate poop at baby showers. Did they fake the smiles? Did they cry together at night, alone, in the darkness & solitude of their bedroom? Did they doubt that it would happen for them too?

randoms 005

We have our plan. But April was a poignant reminder that God has His plan, too. I can plan. I can fill calendars & write pages of dreams in my journals. We can talk, we can scheme, we can set goals of kids & houses & pets & vacations. We can even make investments accordingly.

But the truth is that life doesn’t always unfold as we have planned. Babies are lost. Spouses are killed. Parents lose children…children lose parents. Accidents happen. Tragedy strikes. We find joy in the unexpected & happiness in hidden treasures.

April was a moving reminder of our human need for daily surrender to God’s plan…her story a tender memo to take heed of God’s work in our lives--& his voice in our hearts. I need to be more diligent about meditating with Him on the small things…

Lord, should we watch this movie tonight?
God, do I really need to make this phone call?
Lord, what is your desire for my time on the internet?
God, what food do you have planned for my body today?
Father, is this what you planned for me? This meal? This new shirt? This donation? This investment?

I need to work on meditating with Him on the small things…so that when bigger waves break, my prayers are effortless. In the face of adversity with a backbone of commitment, feet having walked paths of the unexpected, I want my faith to glow.

We are all worms.
But I do believe that I am a glowworm.
-Winston Churchill

Thursday, March 26, 2009

i miss him.

this was pushed across the desk to me today.

randoms 025

right before i walked into a patient's room.

...God's little reminder to pray for him.

i found out later he really needed those prayers.

7 more days.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

the weekend.

someone came to visit me.

we had fun together.

i showed her around.

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she bought me a new purse.

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we drank wine. and ate ice cream.

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the car drove us to antique stores.

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her plane was delayed leaving...

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so we got an extra day together.

i miss her already.

thanks, mom.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


She walks into the coffee shop at 8am every morning. And at 8:05 she reaches the counter where the barista knows her order & calls it out without question: one skinny decaf white chocolate mocha, lite syrup, no foam, no whip, grande. Her manicured nails reach into the designer bag plopped on the counter. Diamond-decorated hand slides black bar of plastic through numbered machine, total $4.68.

The staunch of grease permeates his nostrils…but he breathes it in: familiar. He saunters across the tile floor, shoulder missing the shelf of gum aside the register as old habit. Calloused hands, stained with grease push $8.72 in wadded cash & loose change across the blue laminate. He pockets his two packs of Camels in the faded square in high left chest pocket and tips his baseball cap goodbye. He’ll be back again tomorrow for another double hitter.

We hear the sputtering exhaust pipe from inside the office. His boots, worn with holes, step out of the old pick-up truck & take him inside.

She yaps on her cell phone in the waiting room, moving to the other side of the room to avoid the stench of cigarettes & grease the sun-worn man just brought.

But doctor, I can’t pay for those medicines,” he shakes his head in disbelief: yet another doctor’s appointment, yet another bill…yet another week of 80 hours & overtime trying to avoid delinquency.

You want me to pay what to sit inside a tube to look at my brain?” she exclaimed from the exam table, obviously exasperated by the suggestion of an MRI. “Yeah sure…whatever…do they take credit cards?”

She signs out, driving away in shiny new car.

He leaves the office, worried about another expense. We hear rusty ‘clank’ as he puts the truck in gear.

I lean against the white wall while we talk.

My own priorities flood my mind. The last $4.68 I spent at Starbucks. Chapstick in my pocket, organic with pomegranate oil for $3.99. Black Merrell shoes, $60. Bottled water, $1 at the gas station last week. New song on iTunes, $0.99 at 11pm last night.


She didn’t seem to have any--& poured the loans she took from the credit card company into her external appearance, impressing others.

He worked hard…worried about medical bills…& spent $300 this month on cigarettes.

How are my priorities, physically, materially, medically, healthfully, & emotionally speaking about my life? How is my life influenced by my spiritual priorities?

It is no secret that the American healthcare system has gaping flaws. And today I was reminded that as humans, we are flawed as well. Instead of trying to fix the system, perhaps it is time we take a look in the mirror & reexamine our own priorities: cigarettes or medication to decrease morbidity; manicures & Starbucks or an imaging test that might save your life….

Just a thought…

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

back next week.

it's been crazy here--and by "crazy" i really mean that i have nothing to write & feel the need to study my brains out for the sole fact that i feel like i might fail Step 2 of my Board exams (which, by the way, aren't until September).

i'll be back next week.... (promise).

Thursday, March 12, 2009

ugly confessions.

we all have them. ugly, hidden...shoved in the closet of our thoughts, the back of our minds...hidden from the world. and i'll be the first to admit that when i kindly arrange those sacred monsters in the back of my closet, more often than not i'm trying to hide them from God.

but He knows. He always does.

and i want you to know too. because i've hidden too many things for far too long. in many respects, these aren't earth-shattering, heart breaking, or even vaguely exciting. but i need to post them here. in this public place. one-by-one. because making them public, drawing them out & dusting them off makes them more apparent to me and me more transparent to you.

i started reading Idols of the Heart, kindly recommended by Beth P....and while the book is written in a straight-forward non-read-between-the-lines style, the message goes so much deeper. as i've slowly watched the page numbers grow, my life has been chopped up into tiny pieces...exposed, torn, & separated. and the things i've held dear for so long have come into question...habits, pleasures, guilt, anxiety, relationships....

we'll take these one at a time. i'm obviously not going to share all of them--i don't like airing my dirty laundry. but i feel the need to publicly share at least a few...hoping only to make more of a commitment to change for myself. i could do it with the pen of my journal...but this seems more permanent, more open. in the back of my mind, i feel like my own personal conviction to make the necessary changes will be challenged if i open myself up here.

first installment coming soon....

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

oh if only....

tara whitney, one of my favorite (FAVORITE!!!) photographers based out of Orange County, Cali started offering dual photo/video shoots after she paired up with a well-known videographer. i'll be honest that at first i thought the idea was a little "out there"....

but after watching this video, i'm totally dreaming.

take a look....it'll make you smile :)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

recipe:: light wheat bread.

i found this glorious loaf of goodness through another blog...which lead me to the original recipe. and golly-be! does this woman know how to cook & bake! she certainly channels june cleaver...

anyhow...jon & i were out of bread a couple weeks ago, so i decided to try my hand at making a real loaf of bread, sans box of pre-measured ingredients. and yesterday when we went to pick up apples at the grocery store, we opted out of buying bread because this recipe is just that good.
minimal kneading required...& no sugar!!! i've adjusted the ingredients to basic "staples" we always have, instead of including fancy things like "self-rising flour"--the yum-factor is still the same.
2.5 cups whole wheat flour
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
1.5 teaspoons salt
3 Tablespoons milk (i use soy milk)
1.5 teaspoons yeast (this equates to just about 1/2 the envelope if you buy packets)

Mix all ingredients in large bowl or better yet, your electric mixer...

1.5 Tablespoons honey
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups water, room temperature

Add honey, butter, & water. Mix again until ingredients are combined. Knead by hand approx. 10 minutes or better yet, 6 minutes on medium speed in electric mixer.

Oil large bowl. Place dough inside. Cover with plastic wrap & let rise for 1.5-2 hours.

Remove from bowl, press into rectangle, roll dough (like a cinnamon roll) & place in bread pan with ends of dough touching both ends of the pan (for even rise). Let rise again 60-90 minutes.

Heat over to 350. Place small bowl of water inside with bread. Bake 30 minutes, rotate 180 degrees, bake another 30 minutes. When you remove bread, inside temperature should be at least 160 degrees--tested with meat thermometer. Let cool until room temperature...(good luck with that!).

Eat entire loaf in two days.

Not that I did that or anything....

Monday, March 09, 2009


Four. Four days a week her weary feet, tired from homemaking made their way to the local YMCA. And four days a week she left: muscles fatigued, a forehead covered in salty beads. Her hope grew with each strained muscle, with each dab of a sweat-soaked cloth; her hope grew that she would somehow be skipped.

She’d watched her mother die. It was slow, painful. Keys forgotten, memories faded, strange faces in family pictures, foreign visitors providing warm embraces…until finally, one day, she cried her last guttural groan & finally slipped into God’s peaceful embrace.

An article said that exercise might prevent or delay the onset of early Alzheimer’s Disease.

And so she went, four days a week.

I looked at her. Flaking skin. Shiny cuticles, the dry hands from her days of scrubbing sinks & folding laundry long gone. Matted hair, graying & oily. Rotting teeth. Cracked lips. Empty, lifeless eyes.

Small remnants of toned calf muscles remained, evident beneath the scars where she’d gotten her legs caught in the Geri-chair.

Now she sat, restrained. She’d had too many falls. Too many scars. She’d had too few words. Too few functions remained to leave her to her own resources.

Her helmet was flung at the secretary. Her strong fingers found their way around a nurses neck. She screamed when she was cold, lashed out when in pain. Her words were gone, emotions robbed.

She was reacting. Reacting to her environment, reacting to the pain she felt but couldn’t express.

Keys forgotten, memories faded, strange faces in family pictures, foreign visitors providing warm embraces…words, executive function, emotion, and most apparent humanity stripped.

Her daughter called once a week but rarely visited. Too painful. Too heartbreaking to watch the woman with once-weary feet, tired from homemaking strapped to a leather chair. Too upsetting to see her buttocks raw & reddened, caused from scooting back-&-forth, back-&-forth in the chair. Too unfair to see her bed surrounded by zipped nets--reminiscent of a childhood crib.

Too sorrowful to know that it, the disease—the horrid, memory-robbing disease—would likely come for her too…

Friday, March 06, 2009

goodbye, psych.

i've been here a month. MONTH!!! time really has gone by quickly, despite my complaining & moaning about being so isolated. and above all else, my time away has allowed me to recalibrate myself...to spend time each day in the Word...& to appreciate my family, my husband, & my health on an entirely new level.

the purpose of these rotations is to open our eyes to what we love...& sometimes they do the exact opposite: this was one of those times. i don't like psychiatry. i don't like pumping my patients full of medication. i don't like not being able to laugh with them, talk with them, be real with them...i don't like the lack of mutual appreciation or the annoying tendencies so many of the patient's have.

my respect for psychiatrists has sky-rocketed. i'll be honest that prior to this rotation, i thought they were deep intellectuals who enjoyed pharmacology & analysis. and they are ...but they are so much more than that.

Thursday, March 05, 2009


the patient's here have serious mental illnesses. many times, they are admitted and re-admitted to the hospital because there is no where else that can successfully manage their conditions. many patients take months, even years, to reach baseline after an exacerbation because they stopped taking their prescribed medications.

Ms. Layman is one of those patients.

she was admitted only a couple months ago, but her condition is severe. she has schizophrenia with some mood component...and she really truly believes that EVERYTHING in the world is about her or in reference to her.

officially, the term is "delusions of reference"--Ms. Layman thinks that the nurse who answered the phone is talking about her, that the doctor & patient chatting in the hallway are scheming against her, that the CNA who made her bed stole her lotions, and that everyone is out to get her.

Ms. Layman roams the hallways each day, interrupting conversations & making her presence known by shouting & carrying-on about her stolen lotions & tainted medications. she cannot be redirected or told to return to her room & wait--her attention span is that of a 3 year olds.

and although she is incredibly annoying at times, she actually is quite entertaining. here are some of the conversations she has kindly "responded" to, because you know, they are about her!

to top it all off, Ms. Layman suffers hearing loss...

[nurse. talking to another patient]...
Oh my! Is that what you think??
You got MILK!?!? I WANT SOME MILK!!! I knew it! You've been hiding it from me all day!!!

[nurse, saying goodbye to another staff member]...
Okay honey, have a great weekend!!!
MONEY!!!?!? I knew it! I KNEW you took my MONEY!!! Give me back my MONEY!!!

[nurse, on the phone with a patient advocate]...
...& you understand the risks??
Hey!! Hey you, on the phone!! Why you talkin' bout my breasts? There ain't nuthin' wrong wit' my breasts!

oh the joys...

Wednesday, March 04, 2009


210 miles apart.

starbucks on a wednesday night, one week ago.

same method. same moon. same Man in charge.

highlighters. coffee. iphones. review books.

technology is a blessing....

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

only in a psych hospital...

i'm just going to go ahead & make it clear that i'm not holding anything back in this post....so i apologize if you finish reading & realize you just learned way more than you ever wanted to know about me...& my bathroom habits.

i have gas. like bad gas. and although that was a part of me i was never planning on sharing with the world, if you've spent any extended period of time with me you'll quickly realize that YOU ALREADY KNOW THAT PART OF ME. unfortunately, i was born with an overly sensitive digestive system: white flour, processed foods, & dairy products typically don't bode too well. sure, i eat them anyway...i just have to make sure that i have a functioning bathroom nearby & a husband who falls asleep quickly, if you know what i mean...
so needless to say, my "diet" the last three weeks while i've been away hasn't been stellar. i pre-pack all my food, scared of what the cafeteria food might do to me. oatmeal each morning for breakfast with pumpkin & flax seeds. salad + protein for lunch. and dinner? well, dinner is another story...
on this particular day, i had to go to the bathroom. LIKE RIGHT NOW had to go to the bathroom. i was getting ready to leave the hospital but needed to pick up my bag & coat in the computer room. just as i rounded the corner of the stairwell, it hit me. i needed to find a bathroom...& i needed to find it five minutes ago.
i fumbled with my keys and managed to make my way through 2 locked doors in record time. i charged down the hallway & into the bathroom, conveniently located across the hall from the computer room.

i had 2 choices: stall A or stall B. i'd used stall A earlier in the day & decided, on a milli-second whim to go with stall B. so while i did the "potty dance", i threw myself into stall B, turned myself around to face the door, pulled my pants down & went to sit down...
which is when i realized that gravity was working far too well.
i caught myself just in time before my bare butt hit the cold tile floor.

in my dire effort to get myself to the toilet, i failed to notice that the glorious stall i had chosen DIDN'T HAVE A TOILET.
only in a psych hospital....

Monday, March 02, 2009

remembering "i do."

Hey, hey you…

She grabbed my sleeve as I tried to slip by through the locked door to the nurses station. But my escape was nearly impossible—her grip was strong & she was determined to talk to me. Her wheelchair sits parked by the entrance to the nurses station each day—from morning to night, only leaving for meals in the solarium & her daily washing by a nurses aid in the afternoon.

Hey…you know what?

What, I replied, trying to be patient. She still had a death-grip on my sleeve.

You know, I’ve been thinking.

Her eyes sparkled—i noticed that they were more alive than many of the patients on the floor. And behind the mask of age spots & wrinkles, underneath the overgrown gray hair & stained lime green sweatshirt, I saw a young girl. Twelve years old, or so.

I’ve been thinking that, when I grow up…I think I’d like to be a counselor.

Well you should! When you get out of here, you should be a counselor! I bet you could help lots of people after what you’ve been through…

Well, she hesitated for a moment, face coy she looked down, I just don’t think I have the mind for that….

I missed Jon. My mind just couldn’t wrap itself around the fact that our time living apart may someday be a thing of the past…and although this labile patient’s mood was kind today, I just didn’t want to listen to her. i wanted to be with my husband. Away from this place. Away from these people. Away from being forced to learn things I had no interest in.

…but you know what I really want to be!!?

Her grip on my sleeve loosened. The edges of her chapped lips curved upward.

I really want to be a wife. a really good wife to a good husband.

i was taken-aback.

Well…maybe someday, I replied as my mind tried to grasp what God had just shouted at me through an old woman pinned to a wheel chair.

I am one of the lucky ones. Of the millions of women in this country, this world, who long to find “their someone”—the ONE they feel that connection with, I HAD HIM. and certainly not by my own doing.

How had I ignored so much? Become so calloused as to not even breathe in the miracle of marriage? Of our marriage?

My keys jingled in my hand & after a few seconds I found the one I needed to unlock the door. But as I walked through it, I couldn’t help to glance back at her.

Thanks, God. I needed the reminder to be grateful for our marriage, our friendship, our love. Help me to trust you more.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

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