Monthly Archives: September 2015

Winter Is Coming

Labor Day has passed – the unofficial end of summer. Today the calendar says “First Day Of Autumn” and the weather will change accordingly or has, depending where you are. Many of you are looking forward to fall… the cooler temperatures, the changing colors, all things pumpkin and fall fashion. By “fashion” I mean, jackets with shorts, sweaters with shorts, and Ugg boots with shorts.

Although summer is my favorite time of year, fall isn’t so bad. The only thing I don’t like about fall (other than the ubiquitous pumpkin and the bizarre outfits) is that it’s the entryway to the bane of my existence… winter.

 
Some say that hate is too strong a word to use for anything other than pure evil. That being said, I hate winter.  I love the sun (see post on Happiness). I love swimming, going to the lake or the pool, baseball, wearing just one layer of clothes, green grass and trees, flowers in bloom, and blue skies. I love all things summer. Winter in the south means frigid temperatures without the benefit of snow. Plus the usual dreary, gray skies, dead plant life, cold and flu season, football, and layers of cold clothes that only seem to trap the cold deep inside me.
I don’t just dislike cold, it literally causes me physical pain. It sinks all the way to my bones and I’m unable to get warm. I’m also unable to focus on anything other than getting warm and relieving myself of this pain! People say that I can always add more clothes, but unless the clothes are heated, it doesn’t help.  My clothes absorb the cold that I’m trying to avoid. It doesn’t matter if it’s the chill of winter or an air conditioner blowing way too cold in the summertime, it is painful to me.

There was a time when we southerners endured our sweltering summers by sitting outside on our porches with a fan and some iced tea. But somewhere along the way, we (not me, of course) became dependent upon the AC. As soon as Spring arrives, before I have thawed out from winter, air conditioners everywhere are blasting frigid air. I haven’t worn a pair of shorts in over a decade because everywhere I go in the summertime is freezing… restaurants, movies, the grocery store, shops, you name it. If I had known how cold hospitals are kept, it might have altered my decision to become a nurse. (Do I have to write “LOL” here, or do you get my humor? I love being a nurse!)

I’m outnumbered at home, so my house is also colder than I would like in the summer. Every winter, as soon as the temperature drops, my husband starts complaining that it’s “too cold” outside. And every year, I say the same thing… “What do you mean it’s too cold? This is how our house feels all summer!” I can guarantee that this conversation will happen verbatim sometime in December.

Before you start commenting that winter is necessary to kill mosquitoes, or some nonsense like that… how do you explain tropical areas that have no winter? I’ve been to the tropics and I’ve never been carried off by a mosquito that failed to experience winter. The trees and plant life don’t appear to be exhausted from their constant bloom with no winter break.

I’ve never heard anyone utter the words, “Winter went by too fast!”

There’s an actual, real medical condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD for short). It should be called WAD – Winter Affective Disorder because NO ONE gets it in any season other than Winter. NO ONE gets SAD in the seasons of Spring, Summer and Fall! (Please don’t misread that. People can be depressed any time of the year. I’m speaking of the medical condition called SAD). It affects mood, energy, and sleep cycles. One well documented cure for SAD is Springtime! Seriously, read the literature.

Therefore, I vote that we do away with this cold, dark, mental-illness-causing nonsense known as Winter. Immediately!

This is me in the winter – or at work all year!

 

View This

You may have heard, seen or read that roughly 3 million nurses banded together this week to talk about our profession: what it means to us, what we do for others and what would happen without us. It was prompted by our profession being disrespected on a public stage by a few Mean Girls who host a talk show called The View.

If you didn’t see it, the panel was ridiculing a Miss America contestant, Miss Colorado, who delivered a monologue about being a nurse while wearing her scrubs and stethoscope, during the talent portion of the pageant. The ladies women of The View made fun of her, stated that her profession is not a talent, referred to her wearing a “nurse costume” and wondered why she was wearing a doctor’s stethoscope around her neck. The stethoscope thing is what offended most people, but I found the “nurse costume” particularly odd. It made me wonder if their entire perception of nurses is what they’ve seen on soaps and at Halloween parties.

Just to set the record straight, we are overworked, underpaid, and literally holding lives in our hands. We don’t have time for sex in the linen closet with unbelievably good-looking doctors with equally unbelievably buff bodies. We haven’t worn stockings in quite some time, especially not the fishnet, thigh high version. We don’t wear stiletto heels to work either. Running to a code in those things really slows us down.

If you’re familiar with The View, then you know that nurses were not the first group of people to be insulted on that program. It used to be a fairly benign show featuring women from each decade of life giving their view of current events. Somewhere along the way, they noticed that if they were mean, people reacted. Much like the class clown in Jr. High school, they decided that negative attention is better than no attention. So they began bashing entire groups of people, insulting their guests and attacking each other.

Joy Behar says offensive things while hiding behind the cover of being a “comedian.” Likewise, another alleged “comedian” recently posted a mean-spirited, cyber-bullying video on YouTube called Dear Fat People. Before these two came along, I always thought that being funny was a prerequisite for being a comedian. Apparently, I was wrong.

Both “comedians” in one photo. What luck!

There has been a call among nurses to boycott The View, but I already wasn’t watching. Plus, I’m giving them free publicity on my blog. So you could say that they’re right about negative attention. People are talking about them. People who don’t watch the show are watching replays online. They’re reading about it on Facebook as nurses flood the newsfeed. Or reading it here, on my blog.

To be honest, I’d like to thank The View for giving nurses a reason to unite. Within the circle of nursing, we’re known for “eating our young.” We haven’t always been kind to each other. WE can talk bad about us, but VIEW cannot! (Did you see what I did there?). Now we’re one cohesive unit of proud, supportive, angry nurses. And for that, I’m grateful.

I’d also like to thank The View for doing something so egregious that the focus is finally off of that court clerk in Kentucky. I didn’t think she was ever going to go away!

Me in 1991

 

Happiness: Pursue It!

 

A friend once asked me to name three things that made me happy. Without thinking I rattled off “sunshine, chocolate, and ice cream.” The fact that two of those are edible probably reveals more about me than I would like. To be more specific, sunshine and warm temperatures make me happy. Milk chocolate not dark chocolate. Real ice cream not gelato or frozen yogurt.

It’s not that I don’t appreciate the sun on a cold day. It’s that I don’t appreciate cold. At all. Ever. In the movie Water Boy, Adam Sandler’s character believed that happiness came from little rays of sunshine. I’d have to say that I concur.

I’m not sure exactly what it is about chocolate and ice cream, but something gives me an instant all over feeling of happiness at first bite. Whatever it is, it’s not in dark chocolate or frozen yogurt! I get that same eyes-rolled-back-in-head look that Darrin Stephens used to get when he took that first sip of a strong drink at the end of the day. (It’s a wonder that we didn’t all become alcoholics growing up watching that show!)

Two years ago, my husband and I bought a house on a lake. I call it my Happy Place. It wouldn’t be wrong to call it My Antidepressant – but that’s just too many syllables! Just being there makes me happy. We don’t have to be doing anything special. When we first got it, it was like having a new boyfriend… I thought about it all the time, I wanted to spend all my time with it, and I wanted to move in with it!

There are many, many other things that make me happy… childhood memories, friends, family, a good comedy, summertime, my dogs… too many things to list here. Happiness often comes from external sources… From God, ocean waves, mountain tops, cool breezes, running, swimming. I feel sure that I will find happiness in the faces of my grandchildren, if I ever get any!

I’ve heard all kinds of theories about happiness. Some say it has to come from within, that another person cannot make you happy. Others say happiness is a choice. I call BS on all of those things. External things most certainly can make you happy (see list above). And of course another person can make you happy, just as another person can make you unhappy, angry, uncomfortable, etc. I am certain that you have made someone happy at some point. The idea that happiness is a choice drives me bonkers. Why would anyone choose to be unhappy?

Seriously?

If you’re unhappy, you can choose to pretend, hide it, suppress it, fake it until you feel it, but I don’t believe that you can choose to be truly happy. Even America’s founding fathers knew that happiness is something to be pursued.

Happy people don’t know how lucky they are, but the truth is, happiness doesn’t come easily to everyone. Depression is very real illness that steals joy and replaces it with hopelessness. It will lie to you and it will try to kill you. For some, depression may be mild or temporary. For others, it can be a profound lifelong battle.

A little over a year ago, Robin Williams’ suicide opened many eyes and started many conversations about depression. There’s such a stigma attached to depression that many who need it will not seek treatment. Just recently, I talked to a friend who was suffering from mild depression. I’m not at all embarrassed to share that taking an antidepressant is the most important thing I do every day. I could tell when I told my friend how much it helps me, that she wasn’t comfortable with the idea. She asked, “can’t I just smoke pot instead?”

Well meaning friends often make things worse for the depressed by telling them all the reasons they should be happy. As if depression isn’t bad enough, they’re getting guilt piled on top of it. No other illness brings out the damaging advice quite like depression. Imagine hearing this… Cancer? What do you mean you have cancer? You have a great job, a loving family and a beautiful home. There is no reason for you to have cancer. You don’t need chemo! You need to exercise, pray and take vitamins!” As crazy as this sounds, depressed people hear it every day.

Another friend, another conversation. Can money buy happiness? She said flat out “No!” For me it wasn’t a simple yes or no answer. Money can buy me a lot of chocolate and ice cream. It can’t make the sun shine but money can buy me a trip to a sunny location. Money bought my happy place on the lake. Money can buy retail therapy, psychotherapy and the medication that balances my brain so that I can pursue happiness. Some of those who have money, find happiness in giving it away. The important thing is that we can also be happy with things that money can’t buy, like love, kindness and understanding.

You know that saying “You can’t have your cake and eat it too”? The good news is that happiness isn’t like cake. Well, cake can make you happy, but I digress. What I mean is… You can be happy and share it without losing it! Like that old Jimmy Durante song says… “Make someone happy. Make just one someone happy. And you will be happy too!” 
(NOTE: Remembering this song doesn’t mean that I’m old.  It was on the soundtrack of one of my favorite movies – Sleepless In Seattle!)

If you’re happy (and you know it, clap your hands). Get that song out of my head!
If you’re happy, share it. If you’re not happy, I pray that you’ll find it and hold on to it. I’ve been at both ends of the happiness spectrum and happy definitely wins. Happiness makes me happy!

I don’t know who said this, but I like it.

September 10th is Suicide Prevention Day. I believe that every day should be Suicide Prevention Day.

An Open Letter…

An Open Letter to [fill in the blank]. What is it with all the open letters lately? The first few times I saw this, it was an open letter to a stranger whom the letter writer owed a thanks but didn’t know how to reach. I thought that was pretty cool. Then came the more passive-aggressive open letters to the stranger who offended the letter writer in public. Now, its a daily occurrence. Open letters to Celebrities, to Women Who Show Too Much Cleavage or Women Who Don’t Show Enough Cleavage, to My Future Wife That I Haven’t Met Yet, to Anyone Who Doesn’t Agree With Whatever Rant I’m On Today.

Then, even more bizarre are the personal letters that have somehow fallen into the hands of some website who thinks we should all read it. “This dad wrote the sweetest letter to his baby daughter. You won’t believe what it says…” Who is releasing these private letters to the public?  The baby daughters?
Since everybody’s doing it, here’s my take on the Open Letter…
An Open Letter to The Woman Who Pees All Over The Toilet Seat of Every Public Toilet I’ve Ever Used:
  1. STOP IT!
  2. If you don’t want to go in the toilet, why do you go in the restroom at all?
  3. Are you marking your territory?
  4. Why don’t you clean it up?
  5. If you don’t want to clean up after yourself, why do you think anyone else does?
  6. What are you afraid of? The back of your thighs touching the same spot that someone else’s thighs touched? Is there some back-of-the-thigh disease that only you know about?
  7. SIT DOWN! Remain seated until the ride comes to a complete stop.
  8. If you’re hovering to avoid sitting in pee, aren’t you creating the very problem for the next person that you’re trying to avoid?
  9. If you insist on hovering, how about lifting the seat, since you’re not using it anyway? Then it’s clean and dry for the next person.
That being said, I’d like to say that I really admire your skill.  I mean, seriously sister, you don’t miss one square inch of that toilet seat. You must have some amazing Tina Turner thigh muscles to get that kind of swirl motion while squatting.
Sincerely,
Grossed Out and Impressed