Monday, March 24, 2014

I? Am the Drunk whisperer...

I really do believe that God has a plan.

My plan this morning was to ride my bike to work (taking a change of clothes) and then go to Martini Monday after my shift since I'm off tomorrow. 

See, background:  I have a couple rules about drinking that I don't bend. 

1. I do not drink within 12 hours of a shift.  Ever.  I just don't ever want to worry if I had too much or that I might be hungover at work or something (though my days of drinking to a hangover are long since over, I think)

2. I never, ever, ever have even one drink if I plan to drive.  Ever.

I've seen what happens to the people I love and the people around them when they drink and drive.  Saw some pretty awful stuff happen to people I loved when I was young that was a direct result of them drinking and driving.  And I just won't do it.

So -- if I wanted to have a martini or two after my shift, I needed to ride my bike to work and then ride my bike to the pub and then ride my bike home from the pub. 

However, this morning, it was raining.  And then I remembered that the forecast was that it was supposed to rain all day.  So, I drove to work and intended on going to the pub after and just eat dinner and hang out and not drink alcohol.

That's what I did.  We had a good time.  My orientee is currently gestating, so she wasn't drinking either and we just had dinner and then some of the usual Martini Monday crowd arrived and I ended up hanging out a bit later than it seemed I would.

Then it was time to head home.  I texted the Rickster to let him know I was on my way.

I turned from a side street onto the main road here by me and out of the corner of my eye, I saw a woman off in a grassy area flop over on her back.  On the ground.  In the rain.  I went slow to see if anyone was with her.

She was alone.


So, I turned around and came back and as there was very little traffic, I called the Rickster to let him know I'd be longer than I thought, that, apparently, I am never off duty.

I pulled my car up next to her and put on my emergency lights.

She lay, flat on her back, saying, "Ahhh aaaiiight, Ahhhh 'kay".  Drunk to English translation: I'm alright.  I'm ok.

I laughed.

"Oh honey.  You are so far from ok."

I got out of my car and came around to where she was and she tried to get up.  When she finally got to her feet, she nearly fell over again.  I made her sit on the bus bench.  I tried to figure out why she was alone (she was obviously not homeless).  "Don't you have any friends?  What are you doing out here this drunk all by yourself?"

(slurred, but translatable due to my many years as an ER nurse and by virtue of being the granddaughter of Dirty Gert, the town drunk): "I left them.  I'm going home."

I tried to see if she had a cell phone so we could call someone to come get her.  There was no way in hell I was going to call police or EMS and let her end up in my ER (even if I was off duty) just because she was drunk.

She didn't have a cell with her, she said.  She kept trying to get up off the bus bench and walk and nearly took us both into the busy road. Even though there wasn't a lot of traffic at that moment, it's a generally busy road and people drive on it much faster than the posted 40mph.  Also, I was worried she'd fall over and crack her skull.

Finally, I just got her to tell me where she lived, she lived in an apartment complex less than a mile from where we were. 

I poured her into my car and drove her there and then got her inside the lobby door of her complex. 

I'm going to assume she got into her apartment.  If she didn't, the worst it could be is that she passes out on the floor, inside the lobby.

Had I ridden my bike, as I had planned, I'd have been pedalling my ass home an entirely different way and would not have seen her or been able to get her home.  I guess God was looking out for this chick.

SO, night shift.  For not having to deal with this sad, lonely, drunk chick tonight?  You're welcome.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

I can't go on...I'll go on...

First, nerd points if you get the title.

So, my training for this race started great, then in the last few weeks sort of...dropped off. 

I felt it, but still felt strong.  And, I felt pretty confident that I could post a respectable time, but held no hope for a PR.  Gorgeous morning at the start that became a glorious, sunny day.  I saw all my usual running pals as they lapped me and we heartily greeted each other.

The run out and across the Sarasota Bridge, around St Armand's Circle and back over the bridge went really well.  At St Armand's, one of my running friends caught up with and passed me, but we had a minute or two to say howdy and commiserate.  Then, someone passing me on the right almost tripped both of us, but managed to just halfway pull of my right hobbit foot.  I never got it properly back in place.  That happened at ~mile 5.  By mile 7, the irritation from not being able to get my shoe back on appropriately had begun to be really painful. I knew I wasn't far from my car and, for the first time ever, I considered taking the DNF and just heading out.

But, then I realized I really wanted the cool metal and, also, I knew lots of folks who ran with blisters.  I tried to keep doing my intervals, but the impact was just agonizing.  By walking, I could manage my foot placement better and keep it from rubbing so badly, so shortly after mile 7, I just walked.  By mile 9, I was able to pick up my pace walking, though, and decided to just enjoy it.

Also, by mile 9, we were in a gorgeous neighborhood with views of Sarasota Bay and lots of shade (it was nearing 80F by then).  I found I was really glad I'd stuck it out.

At mile 11, the time clock showed "2:47" and I thought, "Damn.  Last time I did this race, I was finished by this time."  And felt pretty defeated.

Then, at about mile 12, there was volunteer cleaning up cups who had been shouting cheers to the folks ahead of me.  As I passed him, he shouted, "Hey!  You're a nurse!  You took care of me!"  I smiled and asked, "Yeah?  Did I take good care of you?"  He answered, "Yeah, real good!  Thanks!  Keep going, you're almost finished!"

That?  That made it worth it for me. 

It was a great race.

Thursday, March 6, 2014


First Descents Fall Affair, me and my Moll.

In a cabin in Colorado, living it up

Her wedding, *mostly* on her own terms (her mom is also a force to be reckoned with)

Cold, waiting to start the Colorado Half Marathon, 2011

Vegas, Baby

at Maggiano's in Denver, one of her faves

Celebrating after the Really Big Free (ha!) Half Marathon
I haven't posted in a while.

Life, and the closing of the life of a most spectacular human being just kind of got in the way.

                                                                  ^ this is my "Your argument is invalid" image

When I find myself feeling weepy or angry or self-pitying, I think of this.  Erica in clown shoes, her flapper hat, a hospital gown, an IV pole and a big smile.

I happen to know that she HATED being in the hospital that day (all the times she was in the hospital, in fact) but that she consciously made the decision to make the best of it.  A friend brought her the clown shoes and the rest is history.

In the days since February 23, when she finally lost her fight with fucking cancer, I haven't done a very good job of living up to her example.  I have, instead, found myself curling into a prickly little ball like a porcupine, attempting to protect myself from the sadness, the pain, the fury.  Now, I have decided to uncurl and to let in some light in the form of the love and support of all the other incredible people I am fortunate enough to know, who also loved her.

Lots of times, when someone dies, their loved ones will create a very pleasant, hazy memory of them as saint-like and set them up as something sort of false, but fairy-tale wonderful.  In this case, I defy anyone to find a person who did not leave Erica's presence better than before they met her.

Never can I hope to achieve the kindness and generosity of spirit that came so naturally to her -- frankly, it absolutely does not come naturally to me, but I will make it my life's mission to try.

What I'd like to ask anyone reading this to do, though, is to help find early detection methods and more effective treatment for ovarian cancer.  70% of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer are already Stage III (as was Erica) or Stage IV. 

Also, if you are so inclined, a group called First Descents has been important to Erica as a way for young adults (ages 20-40) who are fighting cancer to live life and not let it be defined by cancer.  They are a worthy recipient of any extra dollars/time you can throw their way.