Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I Hope I Die Before I Get Old


Only young people think that way. Now that I am getting old, I very much want to live.

So it turns out that middle age is depressing.

Indeed it is. There are good days and bad days, but for me the depression is realizing that someday I am truly going to die. There's no escaping it.

For many years I got away with not thinking about it - it seemed so far off. Now that I've been in nursing school and have seen people my age shuffle off the mortal coil, the reality is clear. I was really freaked out to see people my age unable to turn over in bed, suffering from dementia, having limbs amputated from complications of diabetes and unable to finish a complete sentence after years of smoking.

I can't get away with not taking care of myself. In the past I told myself I would eventually get around to eating right, exercising and not smoking. No longer.

My daughter and I started a pact this week. She went for her anual check-up and found that she had gained some 30 pounds over the previous year. She decided to change her eating habits and exercise more. I want to quit smoking and so will cut down gradually. Our pact is that we will check in with each other once a week and talk about our progress, our obstacles, any problems we're having, and to give each other moral support.

If I do nothing else, at least I can be an example. My hope is that I will get back to the state of health I was in before I started nursing school. It seems like an eternity. With the end in sight, it feels doable though. Watching my daily habits will help tick off the days to graduation.

And, no, I have no idea how many days it is. It's less than 100. That's all I know.

It's probably about the number in years that I would like to live to.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Take the Long Way Home

Today begins the final stretch to finish nursing school. If I keep repeating myself either slap me or get over it because I'm getting old. But I can't believe how close I am to finishing. I spent 4 years getting into nursing school, plus 2 years actually being in nursing school. My mind is boggling about actually having a life once this is through.

It has been difficult but I know that I've grown a lot. And none of that "what doesn't kill us makes us strong" bullshit. I'm talking about how I've learned to prioritize and problem solve; how to communicate; how to work as a team. It has leaked over into other parts of my life and made me a better person. Well, not better. More effective maybe.

Still, I have noticed that now I can see the big picture where before I tended to get caught up in the mundane; the right now. Part of this has to do with actually having something to offer the world in the form of a service or a skill. It feels pretty good knowing that I can do something that makes a difference. I'm not just a body in a chair.

Maybe tomorrow I'll talk about dialysis hijinks. There have been many.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

US Places Last on Preventable Death

Okay yeah, blah blah blah. What are they going to do about it?

Monday, January 7, 2008

Dream A Little Dream

As of tomorrow graduation is 4 months away.

Wow. After so many years of struggle it hardly seems possible. I spent years getting into nursing school. I'm trying to imagine a life where I just go to work and come home.

(thoughtful silence)

Oh, and enough money to pay bills and buy stuff just because I want it.

(more thoughtful silence)

Okay, so in no particular order, this is my wish list for after graduation

1. A laptop
2. Student loans paid off
3. A vacation - a REAL vacation where we go away for more than a weekend, stay in a hotel, eat in restaurants and go on interesting day trips and tours
4. Coming home after work, putting my feet up and watching TV until I'm in a coma - well for the first week or two anyway
5. Hobbies
6. A social life
7. A new bicycle - a nice bicycle - one that costs more than $50 and one that I can ride without feeling like I carried it the whole time
8. Laser hair removal
9. Dental care - specifically the crowns I have needed in the front for almost my whole adult life
10. Plane tickets for me and my family so we can see each other more often
11. Truck paid off
12. Swimming lessons
13. Personal trainer

There's more but that's a start.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

WIBNI If E1 Would STFU During Class?

I'm not in school at the moment there isn't much to talk about, so I thought I'd discuss issues about school that have come up in the past that gave me pause. Today I'm thinking about cell phones.

Last year our instructor had a rule that I loved. If a person's cell phone went off during class, the person had to bring snacks for the whole class the next time we had class. We only have 30 students in the class so it was doable. I don't think it would work in a class of 100 or so. If a phone rang a cheer went up in the class. There was no way we would let the person off the hook for bringing snacks. We were all over that.

Still, it helps to drive home the point that while cell phones are a technological marvel, people around you would appreciate if you would be considerate with regards to your cell phone.

1. Keep your cell phone off. Putting on vibrate is distracting.
2. If you have an emergency, the person will leave a message and you can call them back on break. Yes, you can wait a few minutes. Truly, what could you do in five minutes anyway? If your kid fell down and split his head open, whoever is responsible for him or her while you are in class can run him to the ER and you can meet them there. Five, ten minutes won't make that much difference.
3. If you feel it is absolutely necessary to answer the phone, please get up and leave the room.

I hate to sound like my grandmother, but I can't help it. When I was your age we didn't have cell phones. If there was an emergency, a person could call the school and someone could get the message to you. In my 20+ years in college this only happened once. I arrived in class and about 10 minutes into it, someone came in the room and handed the professor a slip of paper. She said "is License Pending in this class?" I said "Yeah, that's me." She said "Do you mind if we step outside for a second?" I thought I was in trouble but once we were out of the room, she told me my child was ill and I needed to go pick her up from day care. No need to announce the whole bloody affair in front of the class. We went back inside, I quietly gathered up my things and left. The next day a few nosy concerned classmates wanted to know what happened and I told them. Otherwise it was my business, I took care of it, and I didn't disrupt the whole class over my child's runny nose and fever.

I am delighted that more and more people use text messaging instead of talking. At first I didn't see the point. Why not just talk to the person and say whatever it is you want to say? After spending the holidays with my children, I see the beauty of it. While the family was having a conversation, my daughter could check her messages and send a text before it was her turn to talk again. No having to stand up and leave the room for a conversation. She could stay right where she was and enjoy our company all the while staying in touch with her friends.

I also noticed it when I was in the library. In the past cell phone conversation went something like this.

Bleep bleep bleep bleep bleep bleep (insert ringtone of choice).
Hello? Hey. What's up? Oh nothing, just sitting here studying. What? Who? Oh really? No way! Yeah. Uh huh. Well tell him I'll be here for another 10 minutes or so. Uh huh. Uh huh. Yeah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah.

Occasionally they would remember to get up and leave the room for the discussion, but mostly not.

Now I see people sitting quietly texting like mad, and I can study undisturbed by the ugly details of their lives.

Yay texting!