Don’t Call it a Comeback…

Like LL said,”Don’t call it a comeback, I’ve been here for years.” But really it is a comeback. Back to mine, back to my roots, back to what is important to me. I realized that even if it would mean a pay cut, somethings are more important than money. Call it karma when an offer came through for extended severance in light of looming lay-offs. I’ve been thinking about all of this quite a bit and while I haven’t arrived at a full decision, the beginnings of a plan has emerged. If things go like I hope, big things are transpiring in the next couple of months.



I’m done.  Stick a fork in me.  Cooked.  Tired.  Knackered.  Straight up worn out.

Y’know how I know?  Every little bug knocks me down.  I want to sleep but can’t.  I wake up more than I’m asleep it seems.  Even with chemicals.

That said, I’m taking the rest of the year off.  I get on a plane tomorrow and head for Arizona hoping to recuperate and recharge and maybe stem the bleeding that is my will to continue as a nurse.  Burnout is a terrible thing.  So I’m going to enjoy a white Christmas in the White Mountains with my family.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and a great New Year.  I’ll be seeing you in 2012.  Promise.


Tumbleweed Christmas Tree in Chandler, Arizona

Image via Wikipedia


Maybe What It Could Have Been

I’m sitting out on my minuscule deck enjoying the remnants of the day and getting slightly misty-eyed. Can’t help it.

I hear the neighbor kids playing and having a good time. Normally, they annoy the heck out of me, but it seems fitting. I hear their parents further in the distance, laughing, telling tall tales and generally having a good time as well. It’s all so Mayberry-like. Sure I can’t understand a word of what they say, but happiness and joy are universal in their sound.

But it is this time of the year, August. Too many bad memories, too much repressed pain and anger, but I thought I had it all licked, tamped down, under control. But no. Not even close. It’s fucked up how things that happen around you can re-open old wounds with a violent force that takes your breath away. A co-worker recently lost her babies in a somewhat similar fashion to my wife and I and that brought all of it back with a vengeance. That day I sat in a cold sweat, heart racing recalling the feelings of the 10 days our daughter was alive. I shivered through the cold icy grip of fear as I vividly recalled walking into her room, crowded with staff trying to bring her back and having to tell them to stop and let her go. Even as I write now, underneath the beer I can feel the shakes, the racing heart and cold pit in my chest. It never seems to go away completely.

So I laugh and joke it away, smile through the pain deep inside. I sit and wonder if I need to go back to the numbness of chemical happiness because at least then I didn’t feel anything. I sit and worry if there is something wrong with us, with me, how almost 5 years later,with no contraception there hasn’t even been a scare. I feel like we had two chances but they failed and we don’t get a third. It sucks. The sounds of family seem so comforting, yet so alien. Like something out of reach that we will never know.

We would have been having her 5th birthday this weekend, surrounded by friends and family, all so Mayberry and suburban happiness. Instead I’m sitting here listening to someone else’s family having a good time and pondering what it may have been.

Thanks for listening, I’ll be back to normal soon.

It’s Our Day, Baby!

To my amazing wife,

Nine years ago you made me the happiest guy in the world.  That was the day you said “I do.”

Nine years.

We’ve been through Hell and back and we’re stronger now than ever before.  No longer are we those wide-eyed kids amazed by the wonder of the world, but wide-eyed adults living in that world.  And enjoying as much of it as we can.

I often wonder how I got so lucky?  What did I do to deserve a woman like you?  You kicked my butt into nursing school and supported me all the way through.  You always seem to know what I need before I even know I need it.  I love the fact that you’re just as happy curled on the couch watching old movies and sci-fi as you are getting out and about.

I’m proud to call you my love, my wife, my best friend and partner in this great adventure of our life.  Thank you for being there for me, pushing me when I needed to be pushed and catching me when I fall.  I hope that I’ve made you as happy as you have made me.

Happy anniversary baby.

Nurses Commuting by Bike

I got this comment on my Scrubs are My Uniform post and thought it needed a full post to reply:


I found your blog when I was searching for nurses who commute to work via bicycle. I am considering giving this a try. I live 2.5 miles from the hospital that I work at, but I am concerned about riding in my scrubs. (I guess this post is somewhat on topic of your blog entry). I don’t think it would be very smart to ride in scrubs seeing as how they are my professional attire and I don’t want to damage them. What would be best to ride in? I don’t want to show up at the hospital in tight spandex… but I need something that will help me sweat less.

Thanks for your help!

I’ve never felt qualified to give advice on my blog, it’s an aversion to taking a stand maybe.  But on this topic I have more than a little experience.  I’ve been commuting by bike for the last 4 years.  While it hasn’t been full time for the last year, it’s been rather frequent.  A caveat here though:  I do not bike the entire ride to work.  I’m not going to ride 13+ miles then work a 12-hour shift on the floor, just not that fit.  Yet.  I ride anywhere from 1-3 miles (depending on weather, how I feel etc.) to catch a light rail train then a mile or so on the other end.  But I’ve done it in every kind of weather.  Rain, snow, howling winds, >100 degrees <10 degrees, have suffered through it all, and loved it.  Enough of my cred though…

Yes, riding in scrubs is a bad idea.  They are not built for athletic excursions and depending on weather conditions, not very versatile either.  This doesn’t mean you have to go full on spandex kit either.

Full kit and Hardcore.

There is nothing wrong with plain old shorts and a t-shirt.  During the summer months it’s what I ride in.  I do wear bike shorts underneath the regular shorts to alleviate chafing and add a little extra padding which is especially nice when I decide to go for a ride on the way home.  I stay cool enough in that and don’t end up looking like a superhero.  Winter/Fall commuting is a whole other can of worms which deserves a full post as well.

There are complications though.  First, sweat.  Starting the shift sweaty isn’t the best, in fact it really sucks.  In the depth of the Summer when it is 80+ I sweat heavily.  Let’s face it:  I’m a big sweaty guy.  There are wipes out there that some folks use, but I use water and paper towels in the restroom at work.  And I carry deodorant in my bag.  Second issues is hauling your stuff.  I started using a backpack, graduated to a messenger bag, back to a back pack and now use panniers.  Besides a sweat issue where the bag meets the back, the bags did a number on my back that went away when I started using a pannier.  I abused the Banjo Brothers Waterproof Pannier into submission and ended up replacing it with ones from Ortlieb.  There is enough room to carry my scrubs, wallet, keys, cell phone, afore-mentioned deodorant, lunch with room to spare.  I use the restroom to change on arrival, so I have to build in extra time for the commute to allow for this.  With clean scrubs, a quick towel off and a swipe of deodorant you will smell better than 99% of your patients and maybe some of your co-workers.

The benefits of commuting by bike outweigh the complications.  I get exercise.  I get some alone time before and after my shift.  Sure you get that in a car, but you’re dealing with traffic, right?  I have had absolutely heinous shifts where I’m ready to quit nursing and by the end of my ride home, I’m decompressed and OK with the world and my job again.  I highly recommend it.

Here are some other links about bicycle commuting:

Commute by Bike.  Great site, has a Commuting 101 series which is a great read for those starting out.

Bike  Another site dedicated to those giving up the car commute.

Both of these sites have extensive sets of links for even more information and community building.

Yehuda Moon and the Kickstand Cyclery.  A funny webcomic to keep things light.

Lastly, just go for it.  Try it and see how it goes as that is the only surefire way to know.  Have fun!