Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Date That Wasn't

I was kind of excited when I met a pretty attractive dude and he asked me to go skiing with him. I'm a beginner skier, and he's a seasoned pro, but he was earnest in his pursual to get me back on the slopes and increase my skill set.

Maybe it was how he took three weeks to confirm a date that would work best for the both of us.

Maybe it was how he was 30 minutes late picking me up, and never stated why, or that he was sorry, or whatever. But it's cool. People run late. I'm flexible.

Our adventure begins on a cool winter day.

The drive up to Winter Park wasn't really that bad. His taste in music was questionable, with many curse words, but I've really grown over the past year and try to accommodate anyone and everyone. Meet people where they're at, if you will.

I tried engaging him in conversation, but man, conversation just did not flow. There'd be moments of talk, and then long moments of silence. Trying to engage him in why he chose his specific career didn't even work, because even though he's well-educated, apparently he wishes he had actually become a nurse and joined the Air Force. I get it. Being a nurse is the best ever, and sometimes you have regret for not being cool, like me. I kid! He's got a great job and is better educated than I ever hope to be, so I'm not sure what the deal is.

He had quite the mouth on him, and on occasion during the drive up, I was pondering what am I doing with my life, and how did I wind up in a car with a near stranger on a two hour drive. But hey! Life is an adventure.

He talked a lot about his best friend/roommate/"platonic wife" (...), but whatever. You do you.


Image result for expert skierAnyway, we get there, and he was rather kind, bringing me a helmet, and insisting that I change my wonderful, warm (purple) socks out for some of his socks. (Odd? I don't know. He thought his socks were better than mine. Were they? The world will never know.)

The first few hours were great. He's skiing the slopes like this  >>>



<<<  And I'm skiing the slopes like this

But it works, you know?

So life is going pretty great, and I'm starting to feel pretty good about this new sport I'm learning. I'm figuring out how to get back up with grace and ease when I fall, I'm getting comfortable with going faster, avoiding crashing into people, starting and stopping; this is good.


So this guy, let's name him Rocco, tells me that he thinks I'm ready for a more advanced slope. At this point, I trust him intuitively; he's former ski patrol. So we go up the lift, and it just keeps going up, and at this moment, I'm pretty sure we're ascending Mount Everest. We just keep ascending skyward, and the mountain below us is getting increasingly steeper, but Rocco assures me that this is just a small step up from the greens I've been getting comfortable on.

Image result for mount everest
Me

Having a minor heart attack, we begin the descent down the mountain. At this point, I'm trying to stay in perfect peace, so I'm humming some nice Christian songs, telling myself "Sarah, he said it's just a titch steeper than the other runs you've been on. This ain't no thing but a chicken wing."




Also me
And it goes okay for the first bit. Then it gets steeper. And steeper. And suddenly I'm facing a steep vertical slope and realize....there's no way I'm making it down this mountain alive. So that's pretty cool.


Rocco tells me to not focus on the mountain, and to just look at it like the summit that was nursing school. When I first began, there was no way I thought I could accomplish it, but bit by bit, I made it.

...Except, my life wasn't in danger during nursing school, and this is beginning to be the worst decision I've ever made, ever.

I tell him to tell my parents that I love them.

And then the falling begins. Head over bum, careening down the mountain. A cliff to my left, a cliff to my right. There was no way to save face at this point, because you just can't get a grip on reality when you're on two pieces of whatever skis are made out of and you're careening down to your death. But I was brave. And wasn't really scared, but I was apprehensive. I dreamed of better days, simpler days, when I wasn't flying down a mountain with a guy who I didn't actually know, who was doing this descent backwards as if it were the easiest thing ever. It was great.

At some point, ol' Rocco realizes that I'm struggling a bit, and he's like "Do you think you can make it?"

Gee Rocco, I don't know. Maybe if I decide to take my skis off and hike down? Maybe if I jump off this cliff? 

He tried to help me, and this sounds weird, but bear with me; we did this strange maneuver where I held out my poles in front of me, while he also held onto the poles, and he skied backwards, while I held on for dear life, and Rocco effortlessly glided with me down most of the mountain.

Image result for positivity
It took about ten decades, and the descent just kept going on and on, and I tried really hard to be cool and graceful, but at this point, it was pointless. At one point I fell, and my hair got trapped underneath my ski, and I was like "This is so great, lying upside down on a mountain, my ski behind my head with my hair trapped. Maybe my hair will be ripped off. Maybe I'll be decapitated when the next skier or snowboarder comes down and accidentally runs me over."


Positivity is power, dontcha know.

Somehow, I make it down the mountain alive, and Rocco is like "What should we go down next???"

And I tell Rocco that now would be the best time ever for a break. So, we take a break, and Rocco is like *chuckle* "I thought that run was a blue, but it actually turned into a black diamond."

Small talk ensues, and much like the ride to Winter Park, it's marked by long moments of silence. Until he starts picking his nose, which by the way guys, is super attractive. He's like "Do I have boogers? You'd tell me if I have boogers, right?"

And to town he goes, pulling out a nice juicy green one, and then wiping it on his pants.

I can do a lot of things, and I see a lot of nasty things at work regularly, but snot always gets me going. I had another moment there of self reflection and wondering how I got to this point in my life.

Image result for thumbs upSomehow, we got to talking about the Zika virus, and macrocephaly, and he mentioned how if he knew his significant other was going to have a child with such a medical impairment he'd want to "Get rid of that thing." Glad kids are "things" now. But don't get me started on that topic.

The rest of the afternoon goes relatively well, minus one extra stint down what was comparable to a Colorado Fourteener. So while I'm focusing on staying upright, he's cruising downward and looking at his phone. Sometimes you just gotta text.

At one point, he's like "It's a good thing we're not dating, cause you'd be so mad at me for when I took you down that black diamond!"

...A good thing indeed. I don't know how differentiating between dating/not dating could make someone mad at you for inadvertently taking you down a black diamond when you're only a beginner skier, but hey.

The end of the day comes, and he's like "Should we get something to eat in town?"

At this point, while I'm kind of over him, I'm also pretty hungry.

We get back to his car, and he hands me a beer and triscuits. Little did I know, that was our dinner. The beer was nasty, and I have disliked triscuits for years, but I munched. I will give him credit though; he gave me a cute little chair to sit in, and that was nice.

So I'm drinking my nasty beer, and eating my unsavory triscuits, while he stands by picking his nose, and then snorting his snot out onto the ground. I had a moment there where I almost vomited, not gonna lie. It was right there, so close to a full-on vomit fest.

Parked across from Rocco's car was a vehicle with a pro-life  bumper sticker. Again, I'm not getting political here, but I am pro-life, sorry friends. (Actually, I'm not sorry, but I digress). He makes fun of said bumper sticker, and then we notice another vehicle down the way that's stuck. Rocco says "There's no way I'm helping that idiot, (Insert a number of curse words here)". But I'm like "Well, maybe they need a push...."


I guess he changed his mind, because in the next second, he's pulling out a shovel and headed over yonder. Turns out, he knew the dude who was stuck (awkward, eh?) and wound up pulling him out of the ditch. Said driver of stuck vehicle turns to me and asks "Are you the girl who..."

Rocco says "NO. This is Sarah. You don't know her."

I head back to my nasty beer and covertly dump the remainder out, because there's just no way I can finish this thing. He heads back my way and comments that if the driver of the vehicle with the pro-life bumper sticker needed help, there's no way in heck that he would help them. How nice.

We start the drive back, and after I realized that dinner was triscuts and beer, I settle in for the remainder of the long drive, yearning for home.

He picks his nose a lot, and I pretend to not notice.

Conversation topics vary, and I learned he'd like to try crack sometime because he doesn't have an addictive personality, and all things can be done in moderation. He'd also like to "snort crack off a hookers ass, but he doesn't know of any hookers he can trust." (Direct quote).

He was genuinely shocked to learn that I've never tried drugs, and told me that he'd like to try and get me high sometime. That sounds really great, but no.

He'd also like to try and get me drunk sometime, but also, no.

We talked about favorite foods (I'm a known picky eater), and he says:

"I feel bad for any guy who tries to take you on a date, because you're such a picky eater."

Up to that point, I really wasn't sure if this was a date or not, but all day long, I was praying that he'd have no interest in me because it turns out, you can be super attractive and well educated, and yet be completely unappealing.

The latter end of the drive, he got very talkative, and I remained enthusiastic while we talked about how many bowel movements he has a day, and how pets are such a waste of money.

By the time we got back to my house, I couldn't get out his car fast enough. I just started walking, and he's like, "Give me a hug goodbye!" So I did, feigning that I had an absolutely great day, and thanking him for pushing me to the limit.

He then says "And have a great Valentines Day, okay?"

Okay.

He did text me this morning to ask if I am sore today, which I am not, and he stated "You're a baller!"





Saturday, December 31, 2016

Years End

Upon reflecting back on 2016, I don't know what to say, except that it has been a year of learning, as this is what life is made of.

Here's what I learned this year:

Sometimes, prayers really don't get answered how you want them to. Sometimes you sit at your friends bedside while they're dying, and no matter how much prayer, faith, and hope is given, the Lord's ways just are not our ways, period.

The heartache and grief I experienced at Rachel's funeral and memorial service is some of the worst and raw pain I have ever experienced. I still can't go a day without thinking about and missing her. With her death, I learned that life is full of tragedy and heartache. Yes, I had glimpses of this pain many times before, but losing a human being who was so fully integrated in my life story has been exceedingly difficult. The emptiness that I have carried within me has been overwhelming on some days, and others has made me a better nurse at the bedside, when tending to those who are terminally ill.

The triumph and joy that I have experienced in becoming an RN has been nothing short of phenomenal. I have said it over and over again, but it bears repeating; being a nurse is what I was made to do. With absolute certainty, I can say that this career was God's calling on my life. He wants me here. He's given me a gift that I intend on utilizing for as long as He will allow.

When I accepted the position at the hospital I now work for, I took a total leap of faith. I was toggling between four positions offered to me. Two were easy to eliminate, the other two were equal so far as options were concerned. One job was logical, the other was a faith move. I chose the faith move and while the job in and of itself has been amazing, everything else surrounding it has been hard.

 My living situation turned out to not quite be what I had anticipated.

The church I chose to attend was also a faith move that just led to heartache, as I learned that the past sometimes is not a thing of the past, and old wounds cannot be mended. I learned that saying "I'm sorry" doesn't equate to forgiveness, and that was a really hard lesson to learn. Rejection in church is hard.

Well, rejection in any form is hard.

I met Jordan* in August, and from the first meeting, he made my heart flutter. I spent so long not feeling much of anything, always putting my heart on hold because I thought I knew, for the past five years, who God intended for me to marry. (Gigantic fail, this story is not quite bloggable yet), and so in the waiting period of my life, I met Jordan.

There were factors working against us (sorry, this story is also not quite bloggable yet). Jordan and I began to spend time with one another. I allowed him to do the pursuing; it was unexpected and fun.

I took a chance on this man because I sincerely thought that he was worth the risk. I appreciated going on adventures and doing life with him. From late night drives to Denver, a work party, learning how to golf, walks, hikes, movies, playing volleyball, phone calls, making dinner together, attending church, looking at his baby photos and watching home videos, star gazing, nearly daily photos of sunrises and sunsets, and some of the most vulnerable conversations of my life, I thought maybe, just maybe I had found what I had been praying for.

But then the ghosting began (definition here), and a final conversation took place. I remember him telling me that the time he spent with me, our conversations, introductions to family, friends, and co-workers, and holding my hand was all just to see if he could feel something, and unfortunately, no, he felt...nothing. Well, nothing romantic for me.

So there we have a great tragedy where one party feels all the feels, and another tries to feel the feels, but feels nothing. So great.

He hugged me and told me how special I am. I took a few days to think about what I wanted. He wanted to remain friends (ooof), and I pondered it. I contacted him two days later to offer friendship, as that was my initial commitment to him, and he told me he didn't want to talk to me any longer, and there was nothing more to say.

Ouch.

So there was that.

Sometimes you're just not enough. Sometimes you're used.

A week later, one of my closest friends came by and told me that he wanted to give "us" a try. Double ooof.

I have learned that life is unpredictable.

But every now and then, I see glimpses of beauty.

Like when you contact a friend when your heart is aching and you're falling apart, and without question, they bring you candy and ice cream and hug you tightly and gently ask "What happened?"

When you're on the run and need a place to stay, and someone offers you their home.

When you've screwed up bad with a friend and they offer forgiveness. Total and complete forgiveness; God's mercy made evident.

When, after a month of separation and silence, a friend returns and helps you move out of a place in a disorderly and hilarious fashion, hashing out feelings while hurling items into a car with reckless abandon. Or on a day when you have the worst cold you've had in years, and they stop by with chicken noodle soup for you, having driven nearly an hour out their way.

It's letting go of the idea of who and what I love, recognizing that sometimes (most of the time), life doesn't happen my way. It's healing found in a labrador puppy. It's down by water, praying and finding healing when life doesn't make sense. It's a four year olds birthday party. It's seeing a friend again I  haven't physically seen in nearly a decade. It's winning an award from my school for academic excellence. It's in every time I meet someone new. It's the date in the middle of a snow storm. It's in letting people know how much I love them. It's graduating nursing school, surrounded by the people that I love and who supported me through this journey. Running a marathon with my closest friend. It's saying goodbye.


It's taking the NCLEX, passing, and thereby officially becoming a nurse. It's in the hikes with friends. It's beautiful rainbows, sunrises and sunsets. It's going to a funeral. It's going to Winterpark for a few days to heal. It's getting closure. It's going to a Hillsong United concert. It's getting a name badge that identifies me as a  registered nurse. It's the hours of conversation and memories with Mallory. It's seeing sunflowers everywhere I go and remembering Rachel. It's going to a Lindsey Stirling concert. It's spending the day with an old friend and who was your first kiss. It's the hard talks with people who have differing theological beliefs. It's going to a Bronco's game for the first time. It's a home of my own after years of praying. It's helping to ease someone's pain and being present for their final breath. It's coming to the place of surrender with God, crying more tears than one thought possible, and letting go of what I thought my life was supposed to look like.

That has been 2016.

*Giving his real name would be crazy town

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

How lucky I am to have had something that makes saying goodbye so hard

Grief is unique; no two people grieve identically. We may all process through those five stages (Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance) but the emotions are never expressed the same.

I wrote this as a way of grieving but also remembering and celebrating the friendship I shared with Rachel Marie, a woman who significantly impacted my life.

We grew up together, having met within the first few weeks of me being home-schooled. To me, Rachel was the definition of my teenage and young adult years. She made home-schooling bearable.

Through navigating the complexities of life, like how to properly kiss a boy when the time comes (we practiced with pillows) or what to do when a boy held your hand (her hand was held first, at youth group, by Zach, mine came about six months later with Seth) we grew up, and learned about life together under the guise that life would be just grand.

We dreamed of what life could be; being successful nurses, having husbands and children, enjoying independence and freedom. We confided in one another, gave dating advice, practiced highlighting hair naturally with lemon juice (FYI: ...it doesn't work).

We fought frequently, then would make-up; it was the nature of being young and ill-prepared to communicate effectively. We learned how to dress much cooler (read: how to stop wearing our mother's clothes from the 80's) and went from the styling "homeschooler hair" (read: hair down the back, un-styled, often with an awkward middle part) and stepped into young adult-hood.

I remember when Rachel told me she was engaged; a mutual friend of ours from our teenage years had pursued her, surprising her, and requesting permission to court her with the intention of marriage. Oh, it was the stuff dreams were made of.

After the wedding, Rach and Mark moved to Georgia, and our friendship and communication waxed and waned. She had her first child; a true beauty.

Once upon a time, I used to be a jerk, and I am ashamed to say that at one point, I had reached this place where I couldn't take hanging out/around with happy couples, so I walked away from my friendship with Rachel.

For several years, we went our separate ways; she went on to have two more children, I continued on with college. But I never forgot her; I'd touch base every now and again, never owning up to the fact that I had attempted to give up on our friendship due to my immaturity and jealousy.

But God, in His merciful way, worked on my heart through a series of events, and in the summer of 2013, He told me I needed to mend my ways with Rachel, and apologize. I reached out via email, Rachel being the beautiful soul that she was, responded with forgiveness.

One month later, she informed me that she had just been diagnosed with cancer. It was the most shocking, take your breath away moment of my life, but I vowed in that instant to partner with her in this journey, no matter what.

Two and a half years came and went, so quickly. I remember the day that she told me that her cancer was now at a stage four after a tumor recurrence and emergency surgery. The cancer, she explained, was being spread through her lymph system. It was vicious, unrelenting, cruel.

We were sitting outside a coffee shop, the day was warm, summer was blooming, and I knew at that very moment that she was going to die, that cancer would win, at least on this side of heaven.

After that, I made it a point to visit her as often as I could; one never regrets time well spent. Our days were full of conversation, reminiscing, and laughter. We talked about who we are, and who we used to be. It was always seasoned with grace, inside jokes, and discussions of living until she was an old woman; certainly we'd grow old together and live till the bitter end.

November 2015, after experiencing abdominal pain and hoping it was a GI obstruction, the scan revealed multiple tumors in her abdominal cavity. It was a dark day when she told me of the recurrence, but a plan was formulated; get her to Mexico for treatment.

In May 2016, ascites developed. We still talked as if time was all that we had; surely this cancer would be a thing of the past; I'd work as an oncology nurse, and she would be a representative of her cancer clinic; she'd share her story of healing. We would travel the world, friends forever. I had felt the Lord urging me to get a passport a few weeks prior, and Rach and I made tentative plans to go to Mexico in the fall to visit the clinic she was receiving treatment at.

On that May day, in her mountain home, which will now always be etched in my mind, she shared with me that she doesn't mind so much if she dies, for she knows where she is going. What bothered her most was leaving behind a husband, three girls, her siblings, parents, in-laws, friends. She didn't like being treated as though she was dying, and she lived in such a way that death would never have its victory over her.

The Lord granted her a vacation that next week with some bumps, but upon her arrival home, cancer decided to kick it up a notch, and give her a run for the money.

 Back with a vengeance, Rachel messaged me one day that she was consulting with hospice, but was hopeful that this was just a stepping stone in an effort to manage her tremendous pain.

At the news of hospice, and perhaps because I am in healthcare and know the implications of end of life care, I came uninvited to see her; how could I not? She, my best friend, confidant, lover of life, and the one who knew me best, was worth it all to me. I met first with her husband, parents, children and siblings. When I was ushered into her home, my mind disconnected, refusing to believe that this was real.

Before me lay my beautiful friend, abdomen swollen from the tumors, fatigued from the pain medication and the disease eating away at her. I felt her pulse; tachycardic. Her pulse was bounding from her neck, skin wet with perspiration.

In that moment, nothing, literally, nothing mattered. I spoke of my love for her, the love of Jesus, I told her stories of our homeschooling days, we discussed who we liked when we were in high school, I told her how beautiful she looked. She began apologizing for doing unkind things to me when we were young, telling me she's been thinking and wondering what went wrong during our glitch in communication years back. I told her all is forgiven, and then I apologized, too. Told her I was a jerk, and immature, but here, in this moment, grace and mercy were present. Jesus was with us; He had restored what was once broken.

Next to her lay my graduation gift, the one she had planned to give to me for a celebration; we had had plans for a lunch and one-on-one time after she returned from vacation.

She apologized that she hadn't had the time to write me out a card. This beautiful gift will forever be cherished. Her father, sister, and daughter all told me how much this gift meant to Rach; how excited she was to give it to me. This passport holder is now beyond precious to me.


Life is a fine line. It is undervalued how precious it truly is. But when you see someone you love dying, nothing else really matters. It stops you in your tracks, it reminds you of the need to live without regrets, pointing to Jesus, and being genuine. I have lived parts of my life that are most certainly regrettable, but I have also learned through this experience of the grace and mercy that Jesus Christ offers.

I shared a soul connection with Rachel; whenever she would have a medical set-back, even when she didn't tell me right away, my soul always knew, always became burdened and troubled; heavy. I'd get on my knees, pleading with Jesus, hoping that I was wrong, that she was healing, that the God of miracles would touch my friend and remove the tumors, remove the pain, remove the cancer.

When she messaged me that she was admitted to the hospital with an infection, she told me "Circumstances surely are not looking good. Trusting my Jesus." I don't know how she did it; maintained such a positive outlook, even at the end. She served, and will always serve as an inspiration to me; she changed my life.

I was blessed to receive text messages from her about once a week with an update. Her pain was clear, but so was her love for Jesus. She never faltered in her communication to remain faithful to our Savior.

The day she died, my soul was burdened all day. Such a strange thing, being connected in that way, and prayer was the only thing that could ease the burden. I prayed for a painless transition from earth to heaven, and I felt almost jealous of the fact that she now gets to be with Jesus, while I'm stuck here on this planet, a sin-torn world, where grief and pain abound. She now sees, face-to-face her Maker, and is at long last, at rest, free of cancer, free of fear, free of the things that bound her.

I don't know why the Lord didn't heal her earthly body, I don't know why she didn't get to live till 90, why she had to leave earth at 28 years of age. But I do know that I serve a God who does know, and while my heart is heavy, I lift my eyes to the Maker, the One who knows, and who has promised that all things work to the good of those who love Him.

Rachel, I will miss you, so much. My heart is broken, but I know that you are with Jesus, and the pain is no more. I wish we had more time together, more hours of laughter, and sharing life. I'll miss spending time in your warm home, your hospitality, dance parties with your baby girls, and the feeling that no matter what was happening in my life, I was safe, I was home when I was with you. I don't like having to face this life without you, because you were my sister, my friend, but how thankful I am to have known you. I would never trade the hours we shared for anything this world could give me. Thank you for showing me Jesus, every step of the way.

Earth has no sorrow that heaven can't heal.


Thursday, July 23, 2015

A Case of Alveolar Osteitis

Many years ago, I was told that my wisdom teeth needed to be removed.

I ignored that advice, but felt bursts of fear whenever I'd develop headaches, or soreness in the general area of said wisdom teeth, for fear that they were abscessing and I'd die a slow painful death before I could become operated on.

However, as the years have progressed, I found myself very recently experiencing near-debilitating headaches and a penchant for sinus infections.

So, off to the dentist I went, knowing it was the wisdom teeth causing the headaches.

Have I ever told you how much I hate going to the dentist? I do. I really do. It's not fear of pain, it's fear of nausea. I have to fight vomiting all over the hygienist and dentist each time they go poking and prodding in my oral cavity.

After I received my last set of x-rays (and almost puked on the assistant) my dentist diagnosed me with a sinus infection and prescribed antibiotics, but only if I promised to get my blasted wisdom teeth removed this summer.

As a dutiful patient, I located an oral surgeon and had an initial consultation with him. He seemed so pleasant, that I scheduled surgery with him.

The first snag in the plan was the day I consulted with him there was a glitch in the system which meant my insurance company never actually received the prior authorization to help pay for said procedure.

I took care of that issue, requesting a STAT authorization because a) I was dying from head pain and b) I re-worked my entire lifes schedule for this procedure, and it needed to be done.

Surgery Day

"So, you're going to be put under, right?" The assistant asked me.

....No. I had requested local anesthesia because I have an irrational fear of whatever will happen to me if I ever have general anesthesia.

"Well, just so you know, surgeons are not known for being gentle, so you're going to get at least 12 shots in your mouth."

Awesome.

Assistant leaves old school country music playing on Pandora for me.

Surgeon arrives, changes the music station; begins to blare the Yeah Yeah Yeah's, and starts dancing.

Injects my poor little mouth. Pain sears across the left side of my face, and my eyes suddenly decided to lose the ability to focus, so now I have new-found nystagmus.

My throat feels like it's constricting, but they tell me this is normal.

Twenty minutes pass. I am clearly not numbed, but my tongue sure is, so I've now developed an attractive slurred lisp.

Surgeon comes in, injects me again, multiple times. He's clearly becoming annoyed at me, but I can't quite pinpoint why. He repeatedly tells me that general anesthesia sure would be the easiest way to go. He leaves.

Nothing happens. I am told I must have a fast metabolism.

He convenes a meeting in his office with his assistants in my direct line of view. Awkward eye contact ensues. He closes the door.

A long while passes, my heart is beating quite rapidly I'm so nervous, and my right foot begins shaking.

Someone stops by, asks if I'm doing okay. As the anesthetic works everywhere except for where it's supposed to, I state in my sexy slurred lispy voice, that it sure would be nice to know what's happening. I am asked if I want a cup of water. Hey, remember when my throat was constricting so I couldn't exactly swallow?

Surgeon returns, asks if I am numb. I reply that I have some numbness in my face. He replies that he doesn't care. He only wants my lips to become numb.

A while passes. Surgeon returns: "Are you numb?" He asks.

I reply "My top lip is"

He states, in a lovely make-you-feel-good tone that he doesn't care, at all, that my top lip is numb. He only cares if my bottom lip is, as well as my chin.

Well then, bucko, the answer would be "no"

He leaves. I try not to cry. Here I am, sitting on an ugly yellow plastic covered chair, pinching myself,  working on trying to breathe, nervous/anxious/scared, and conjuring up reasons why I should not leave.

He returns again and tells me this is the last time he is going to numb me. After that I have two choices: reschedule or consent to general anesthesia.

I choose to pray. I ask God to anesthetize me enough to complete the procedure.

It works. Surgeon returns, and his assistant asks why he's upset. He replies that he's just stressed, but is pretending that he is not, and that is why he is choosing to sing and dance.

Trying to alleviate the tension, I apologize for taking up so much of his time. I had no idea that I'd react to local anesthesia this way. He berates me; asking if I feel like he's spending too much time with me.

  Uhhh?

He turns up the music, starts dancing, and begins removing my teeth. I can partially feel it, but I'll be darned if I tell him that.

He and his assistant begin talking about how hot Nicole Kidman is. "Her red hair is SO attractive. Actually, all red heads are. And remember how hot she was in Eyes Wide Shut?"

Nicole Kidman, FYI, you ruined my surgery.

My four teeth successfully removed, my surgeon informs me that because I felt like he was spending too much time with me (even though I never said that) he would fly through the discharge instructions and leave.

...

My recovery was initially difficult. At the pharmacy picking up my medications, they wanted to know why my surgeon hadn't explained what medication to take first, and how to alternate. The pharmacist also instructed me, no matter what, not to take ibuprofen with my other drugs.

I should also mention how attractive I was, getting those meds. My mouth wouldn't stop bleeding, my gauze could no longer contain the blood, and I was drooling. It was really nice.

My mom transported me home where I spent the next few days recovering.

Early Friday morning, having had no prior problems, my body decided that now was a good time to start vomiting.

And then I kept vomiting.  And suddenly, the pain which had been almost non-existent, decided to rear up, to the point that I could not get comfortable.

 I called my surgeon, hoping for zofran, an antiemetic. He decided I was dehydrated and told me to go the hospital.

I instead went to a new doctor in town. He asked me how quickly I wanted my pain and nausea to be alleviated. I replied "immediately"

Hoping for an IV, he decided to perform acupuncture on me, in an effort to stay away from medications. His idea, not mine. (Bear in mind, at this point, due to my vomiting, I had been medication free for many hours).


He places needles in my abdomen, and along my right ear.

I experience pain relief for two seconds.

He places more needles.

Another two seconds of relief.

He decides enough time has lapsed and notes that because one of the needles in my abdomen is red and because my right ear is now bleeding that is indicative of inflammation and I would probably benefit from more acupuncture at a later date.

Then he writes me the glorious prescription for zofran and for a lower dose of pain medications, due to the suspected sensitivity to the narcotics.

My pharmacy does not want to fill my pain med prescription because I had already received a vicodin and percocet prescription two days prior.

Yup, totally get that, but do you not see my swollen face and look of death?

Prescription was filled.

The pain continued. I consulted my pharmacist friend (really pays to have a pharmacist friend late at night, by the way.)

The pain still continues into the next day. Dramatically so, I experience my first tears since the procedure because I have a constant throbbing pain in my right lower jaw, across my face and into my right ear.

I called my dentist; he told me I should call my surgeon since he's the one who did the surgery and knows my case best.

*cringe*

I call my surgeon.

He tells me if I was really in a lot of pain, I wouldn't be calling, my mom would be calling for me.


He asks if I can take ibuprofen. I reply that I can, but was told not to....

He cuts me off. "Ma'am, ma'am. Are you listening? I asked if you can take ibuprofen."

@!%*$#

I tell him what the pharmacist told me about not taking ibuprofen. He replies "That is the craziest thing I have ever heard of in my life."

If that's the craziest thing you've ever heard of in your life, you've been clearly sheltered.

He tells me to take ibuprofen and I'll be good.

Guess what? I had a few moments of pain relief, but every time I thought I had kicked it, the pain returned repeatedly.

I kind of wanted to die.

I returned to work on Tuesday, six days after the surgery. Working with nurses, and reiterating the story and my persistent pain, (which returned ten-fold whilst at work) I was told that something was wrong and I needed to see a dentist.

The next day, seven days after my surgery, I called my local dentist, the one who initially recommended the worst surgery of all time.

I explain that all I need is for him to LOOK at my extraction site and tell me if it's normal or abnormal, cause hey, I'm kind of dying over here and my surgeon is rude.

They squeezed me in, and it only took one look to be officially diagnosed with dry socket.

What's dry socket, you say?

Oh, just the absence of a blood clot which aids in protecting the bone and nerves, which leads to said bone and nerves EXPOSED TO EVERYTHING. No biggie.

I was properly treated, apologized to, and went on my dandy way.

Finally, today, I am not only feeling human again, but also (almost) pain free.


Monday, July 14, 2014

Suspect



Hello friends, family, former co-workers, police.

In November of 2012, I landed the job of my dreams.

In May of 2013, I began to be bullied at work, which sounds so silly, and feels even stranger to write, but this is the truth, and it needs to be told. I'm tired of hiding something that has so profoundly impacted my life.

A co-worker asked me to have their child because they/the person they are in a relationship with was well past childbearing years.

Then, a dirty joke was told to me and after the employee was corrected, it all went downhill from there.

For six months straight, I endured ridicule, gossip, co-workers refusing to look at or talk to me, co-workers sifting through items on my desk, perusing through my work computer, mocking me, false accusations, and ultimately being cornered in a room, being told that I was "going down."

I turned to my boss, asked for help. None came. I turned to HR, pleaded for help. My concerns were dismissed.

And so, I moved on, heartbroken. I was insecure, messed-up as they come, certain that my new job would be just as vicious and malicious as the environment that I had just come from. But in time, I slowly healed, and I began to trust in people again.

Life began to change for the better, and I thought, "Out of the rubble comes good."

A nasty rumor about me began in February of this year. It quickly died.

And then, May 2, 2014, my life changed.

I was at work when a police officer entered, asking to speak with me and to bring my phone along.

I was questioned about what my involvement was in a crime that had been committed regarding a former co-worker.

I was clueless. The officer informed me that he had a warrant to confiscate my phone. Dumbfounded, I handed it over, trying to cooperate. I was innocent; I had nothing to hide. The officer placed my phone in his pocket, not a sealed evidence bag as is protocol when seizing evidence. I found this to be strange at the time, and more alarming as the weeks have gone by. What did he do with my phone?

As the shock wore off, I grieved. How could I be accused of a crime? Certainly the police would quickly realize their error, apologize, give me my phone back and clear my name.

Saturday, May 3, the very person who was accusing me of this crime followed me in public. My sister placed a call to 911. Officers arrived and dismissed the incident.

Monday, May 5, I went to the police department to obtain a copy of the warrant.

Instead, I was read my miranda rights. I was interrogated for over an hour, told time and time again that I was guilty, there was overwhelming evidence against me, that I was having the wrong reaction, and that I would be arrested.

And then, I was released. Told to live my life as normally as possible until subpoenaed information came back.

A week passed. I still didn't have my phone back. I waited, I called, I was treated poorly, and then, after my phone was lost by the police department, it miraculously resurfaced and was returned to me, albeit in damaged condition.

The following six weeks were torturous. The officer involved told me that the case was still open, no comments could be made, and the report, along with charging documents were sent to the district attorney's office.

Two weeks later, members of my family were arrested, for (surprise, surprise!) false accusations linked directly to the night my accuser followed me. My family, now part of this madness, all because of a cop and a former co-worker hell-bent on getting charges pressed against somebody, anybody.

At long last (nearly eleven weeks total) I received a copy of the police report. The untruths were innumerable.

I have learned one thing through this ordeal: If you have enough power, and the right connections in this little town of mine, you can make a false claim to the police department with absolutely no evidence, yet state that you "know" who committed the crime, and the police will believe you 100%.

You take a girl who has a totally clean record, not even a speeding ticket, and accuse her of suddenly losing her mind and doing something completely stupid and uncharacteristic. I worked in a temporary job for this same police department two years ago, and was told  in my interrogation that I am still "adored" by them, even though they believe I am guilty.

You take a girl who endured months of emotional abuse and bullying and believe her accuser, because you are, after all, friends with them. Because my accuser declared that I was guilty, with no proof except for their word, you, a sworn officer of the law, buy it hook, line, and sinker. You take a lie, and present it as fact to the judicial system.

At times, the grief is overwhelming. Those that I trusted best, those that I had once worked with, that I considered my friends, my allies, turned their backs on me, and attempted to convict me of a crime that I did not commit, nor had any idea that it had even occurred. I don't know how to move on, how to be okay. I am fearful each time I see a squad car driving by me, certain that new, false allegations are being made against me. The betrayal by those I once loved is almost too much to bear.

I am fearful for my safety, and my family's safety. Constantly looking behind my back. Indeed, if such allegations can be made and believed, and if I can be followed by my accuser without repercussion, who is to say that my safety is not in danger? I am scared.

I will not be silenced.


Monday, December 23, 2013

Nicholas Sparks Has Nothing On Me

The past three months of my dating (or lack thereof) life have been nothing but a jumbled ball of confusion.

I'd gone on various outings with a pleasant gentleman caller, and spent hours upon hours texting the man, but because there was never any "determine the relationship" conversation, I was left to believe we were "just friends" with the idea that one day, it could turn into something more, but maybe not.

Last Friday, December 13th (Holy cow; I just realized it was Friday the 13th!) started out as an ordinary day.

Actually, it was a day where I took little notice to my appearance, wore mismatched scrubs, had greasy hair and a general "eh" attitude about life.

My doctor and I were just finishing up an appointment where the client was thrilled to discover her dogs lump was not cancerous, but a mere lipoma. As the appointment wrapped up, I saw two men, and a dog being escorted into the next exam room.

I cringed.

 Why? Because one of the guys was cute, and I can't handle a cute guy. I can handle just about anything else; give me a dead body any day.

I headed into the exam room, determined to be cool. And you know, I was cool, if I do say so myself.

The two guys were co-workers, one had come along with the owner of the dog for a break from work. For simplicities sake, we'll call the owner Johnny and his friend Bob.

As the appointment continued, I became consciously aware of a connection with Johnny, one of those moments where you can sense a mutual attraction, but you're not really sure what to do about it. We made small talk, and when the veterinarian left the room to mix up some ear medication and Bob went out to the car to retrieve the other dog, I realized I had nothing to say.

Johnny's dog, however, really liked the smell of my shoes (coincidentally, his dog bared the name of one of the greatest crushes of my life; we'll call the dog Bocephus). So, we talked about my shoes. They're great shoes, really. Barefoot technology (plug for the makers of barefoot technology shoes).

By the time Bob came back, it was clear that Johnny was single. He kept making mention of how alone he was, and (jokingly) how he had no friends in the area. It was a bizarre appointment, really, and when the time came for him to go, and I passed the dog leash back to Johnny, I knew, I just knew that things were going to be different this time.

That difference came about five seconds later when after Johnny left, the veterinarian I work for squealed that she had always wanted me and this guy to get together since the very beginning of time. I was peppered with questions, and asked if I felt the "spark" between us. I acknowledged the said spark, but I also was cautious.

"Oh my gosh," stated my doctor "You and Johnny would be so perfect together. He loves his dogs!"

*Squeal*

Johnny stayed on my mind for the remainder of that day, so much so that I sent my mother a text stating:
"Had an attractive dude come into the clinic today. He was kinda flirtacious. He's cuuuuute."

Saturday, December 14th, my veterinarian and I were scheduled to work together once more. She asks:
"If Johnny were to come into the clinic and ask you out, would you say yes?"

I assured her this would not happen.

Ten minutes before the clinic closed for the weekend, Johnny walks in the door.

My heart skips a beat, my hands get all fluttery and try as I might to act normal, I can't.

So, I left.

Well, I ran to the back of the clinic to tell my doctor the amazing and incredible news. She squeals, smacks me and jumps for joy.

I saunter back up front, ready to take on his request for a Larimer County license for his dogs.

He says:
"I need to tell you something that might make me blush."

He proceeds to tell me how for the past 24 hours, he has been kicking himself for not getting my name, for not asking for a chance to get to know me.

I, remaining cool, tell him my name.

He says:
"Sarah. That's Biblical. I'm Johnny, also Biblical". (His real name is Biblical, friends).

So I reply, (with my back turned to him, because a) I'm cool and b) I'm trying not to show my flushed face:
"So are you Biblical?" (What? Does that even make sense?) I clarify: "Are you a Christian?"

And for the first time in my 200 years of life, Johnny replies in the affirmative. With that established, we quickly connect. He tells me how he spent the night before praying that I was a Christian. Alternating between hopeful and depressed. But on this day, he had to, just had to see me again.

Then he asks how he can get to know me better, I, being sly, hand off my phone number and together, a Nicholas Sparks story is made.



Except we're talking about me, and this blog wouldn't be called "A Funny Thing" for nothing.

So, later that day, he texts. And we texted for awhile, the majority of it about our shared beliefs, and the second half about how he can't believe what a lucky guy he is, and how you never know unless you take a risk, and that this is from God, and this is the start of all good things to come forever and ever amen.

He calls me a few hours later, and with his Nicholas Sparks mode turned fully on, he tells me:
"You know, instead of hearing your voice, I'd love to be sitting across from you, seeing you, hearing you talk."

We agree to dinner, and he comments that this is the fastest first date ever.

And oh, dinner was grand. He told me how pretty I look with my hair down, with my hair up. How expressive my eyebrows are (awkward, but I guess it's true), how funny I am, and finally, how he's never going to stop pursuing me unless I ask him to, because this is it, this is the real deal, and he's committed to seeing this through.

Okay, guys, I get it. He was a little eager, but having spent the last three months of uncertainty in the dating world, it was really nice to finally have a man who was clear with his intentions. And he was cute.

We went for a walk after dinner, because he felt our two hour dinner wasn't enough; he wanted to know me better.

On our stroll (which, by the way was in negative temperatures), he asked if he could hold my hand.

I'm going to admit something here:
 I am a serial hand holder.

I have held way too many hands in my past, and *sniffle* have made a choice in recent months to only hold hands when it's the real deal. None of this hand holding intimacy allowed anymore.



 So, I told him "no". Pretty freeing for this former hand-holding-aholic.

As we strolled, he told me about our future dates he was going to be planning, telling me once more that he wants to date me, and he will be the most romantic man ever, ever, ever.

We paused at a shop window. I turned to look at him, and he says:
"Don't look at me."

I ask him why. He grabs his chest and says I make his heart go "Pitter-patter".

Pitter.

Patter.

At the end of our date, he asks if he may formally call upon me again. I reply in the affirmative. He hugs me, then tells me that, yep, I'm a good hugger too amidst my many admirable qualities.

For the next few days, a string of calls and texts follow, all telling me how he is pursing me, this is great, this is grand, this is it.

Awkward side note: He did mention how he had to shoot and kill a feral dog once (he wasn't sure what to say about my awkward silence, though he did ask numerous times if I was crying).

But I put aside the killing a dog business, and instead focused on a man who came out of nowhere.

Sad story: He's friends with one of my co-workers. She texted him to see how it was going with me, and I accidentally discovered their conversation when I was looking through her phone at a photo she had taken.

Like a creeper, I read a text message conversation about me. Indeed, he was enamored. I felt secure, for the first time in years upon years.

One night last week, he made mention of a past, a past he needed to tell me about.

His turn came when last Wednesday,  when we met together again. I shared with him a few woes of mine.

He in turn tells me he's still in love with his former fiancée.

Allow me to repeat. Johnny is still in love with his former fiancée.

They broke up a month and a half ago. They spent the week prior to meeting me fighting every night.

He lies awake at night, wondering if she is worth fighting for.

I stare at him.

I offer words of encouragement. I can see him mentally shutting down.

He then asks to go grocery shopping with me.

So, off we went, heavy food shopping. He buys me a beautiful purple water bottle.

At our last stop before dropping me off at my car, I can see this man is fading from me. Any vested interest is leaving. He's conflicted.

Because he's still in love with his former fiancée.

I could say that phrase a million times and never get sick of it.

He sends me a text one night that everything is "tough, confusing, complicated" and the timing is "really, really rough."

And: "I don't know what to do with you, but I'm suddenly afraid to do anything more, even though you're just right."

I suggest he stops talking to me. Because you know, I had no real emotional attachment to this man, and wanted him to be happy, because I'm nice like that.

Plus, I don't want a man who is still in love with his former fiancée.

He tells me he "doesn't want to."

So, while I offer to be his friend, and to encourage him in any way, he does the manly thing and disappears for a few days.

Until tonight, when he tells me he's gone back to the former fiancée that he's in love with, and he hopes to make it work, but oh, he feels horrible for/about me, and he'll never forget about me, and maybe we can be friends, but it's hard being friends with someone you have feelings for, but he wants me to be in touch, but he feels no peace, and he's not very happy, and so on and so forth.

Then he told me he couldn't text anymore tonight because it was making him "feel bad".

If you're going to pursue someone, make sure you're not still in love with your former fiancée.

Just saying.












Thursday, November 14, 2013

Law and Order


I recently found myself needing an attorney.

I've never hired one, so I didn't really know what I was supposed to say when I called numerous law offices.

I also thought that maybe I was crazy and didn't actually need legal guidance.

One attorney that I contacted quelled those fears and told me undoubtedly I needed some protection. We were all set to go into an agreement when he had an unexpected medical emergency and had to back out.

Nice.

...And on the back burner the finding-an-attorney dream went.

That is, until I was asked to sign an affidavit that sounded pretty fishy to me.

Mentioning this to my boss, I was instructed to stop everything, and find an attorney that day.

Making calls, the first office I called told me they couldn't help me because I needed a specific kind of attorney.

The second law office, upon hearing my tale of woe, asked me to come in immediately.

My boss prepped me that I'd only have 15 minutes with the guy, so come prepared and expect to pay $250.

And off this girl went.

I waited in the lobby, hearing a variety of depressing songs, anxiously awaiting my turn, nervous and preparing what I would say. My legal dilemma you see, is a very long tale.

At long last, we met. I'm about an inch taller than my prospective attorney, but at this point, it doesn't matter. He's got the required initials after his name that I needed to utilize, and so I told him my sad story.

Somehow though, my story kept getting turned around into personal matters, (mine and his) how I got involved in medicine, discovering that we had many mutual acquaintances, being married (or not being married) divorce, affairs, the whole shebang.

Admittedly, I was worried that the short amount of time that we  actually spent discussing my legal matter was stretching into hours of personal conversation. I was imagining the bill I would be receiving.

Until my future attorney said:
"Sarah, you need a cheerleader, and I'm going to volunteer".

Now, does "volunteer" mean what I think it means?
vol·un·teer noun \ˌvä-lən-ˈtir\
: a person who does work without getting paid to do it

Our meeting continued, and while he spent a lot of time staring at me and asking me what I'm thinking when there were long stretches of awkward silence, I tried not to look deeply in the matter.

Honestly, I've been kicked pretty hard lately and have no memory of what it's like to be treated decently by the outside world.

Also, I forgot my lip balm, so I spent most of the meeting trying to moisten my lips without appearing seductive (Is this real? Why do I have burned into my mind somewhere that licking your lips appears sexy, even if unintentionally?)

He also kept telling me that the Universe is in charge. The Universe this, the Universe that. Apparently, everything comes down to the stinking Universe and how it decides this, that, and the other thing. Great. I'm really excited to leave the fate of my life in the hands of planets, stars, galaxies, the contents of intergalactic space, and all matter and energy.

At the end of our meeting, still unsure about pricing, I asked "Is this going to cost me a million dollars?"

He patted me on the back and said "Don't worry about it; I've got you covered."

Okay, okay, the meeting was odd, and I certainly didn't anticipate 2.5 hours of fun-in-the-sun talking, but how is an attorney/client meeting supposed to go? All I know about attorneys is from watching Law and Order and that really didn't prepare me for anything in life.

I recall thinking during our meeting "Man, if this were a date, I'd be telling all my friends that it went really well! Two and a half hours of talking! I think we hit it off!"

When I mentioned the details of my meeting to a co-worker, she asked if I clarified to my attorney:
"I'm sorry, I didn't plan on paying you with sex."

Four days passed, and I received an email that was incredible. For the first time since my legal dilemma began, I had someone on my side who had the ability to defend me. Things were well on their way to getting resolved, hallelujah.

Today, I returned to my attorney's office to sign some papers.

The paperwork sitting in front of me, I keep waiting to actually sign the blasted document.

But our conversation went into how I'm doing, to what I do for fun (Decidedly, I hate this question. It always leads into troubling matters. Is this a guy's secret weapon question? When all else fails ask a girl what she does for fun?)

And into "Sarah is really boring" mode I go, where I explain that while I have a select group of peeps, I much prefer being by myself. Alone. In silence. I do this intentionally, like an insect who pretends that it is dead. Defense mechanism. I create an even more boring version of myself than you would think humanly possible.

He responds that he too is just like me. He prefers a low-key life. In fact, he just read an article that spoke to his heart. It was about how he just doesn't find people to be all that interesting.

Great! The matter is settled then.

This is when we begin discussing the great flood of 2013 and the marriages that crumbled apart because of it.

He tells me that it really makes you start wondering about what "Till death do us part" actually means, and why so many people do not take it literally.

He tells me about how secret communication, texting, sexting, and emailing all leads to the destruction of wedded bliss.

He tells me you graduate college, you're young and full of yourself, you're full of hormones, you marry someone, spend 25 years raising kids that you've created and when they're grown and gone, you find yourself eating dinner with a virtual stranger and all you can think is "Ew. You are not my type" and just like that, their interests are no longer yours, their dreams are not your dreams, nothing about the two of you is the same anymore and you have no idea what even brought you together in the first place.

He tells me "I'm sorry, it looks like I burst your bubble."
 
I tell him I'm speechless. Because really, what can I say? I've never been married, and while I'm not  living in denial that marriages fall apart, I'm just here to sign some papers and go on my merry way, not feel depressed.
 
Then he asks: "But the real question is, how do you feel about children?"
 
And so, I give him my thoughts on marriage and children.
 
And then I wonder "Why am I telling my attorney how I feel about marriage and children?"

He gently starts asking questions about my dating life, since I expressed concerns over my life (you know, because of this legal issue). I begin stuttering. I can no longer speak English. I say something about "interpersonal communication with people" Hello, oxymoron.
 
Finally, when he hears his next client comes in, he asks if I'm ready to sign said documents.
 
I sign, and I thank him for the work he's done for me.
 
He says "Let's go out to lunch next week to celebrate."
 
Hey guys? There's nothing to celebrate. No court case, no arrest, no suing, no damage transpired.
 
The blood drains from my face. A first! Usually, it runs straight to my face and I look like a loblolly (a new word I learned; definition here)

My response was somewhere along the lines of:
"MaybebutIdon'tknowifIamavailablepleaseandthankyouforallyourworkIamdyingontheinside"

I'm really, really bad at turning people down.

I don't even know what is going on anymore.