Saturday, April 12, 2014

Leaving Work

It is 3:30 on Saturday morning.  I can't sleep.  I can blame it on my night shift sleep schedule, but truth is my mind and heart are racing to keep up with one another.  I decided to get up and write.  Hoping to clear my mind.   This will be long.  I'm writing it for me to remember later. 

Thursday night was my last night of working at the hospital.  It was much harder than I had anticipated.  Saying goodbye to the co-workers who have become my friends was hard.  I'm usually pretty tough.  I can usually hold off the tears until I am alone, but there was one hug from one extra-special friend that put me over.

She told me how they would miss me and I thanked her for everything, telling her that she had no idea how much I had been forever changed by working the third floor.

For the readers who don't know the 3rd floor at this hospital, it is the main floor, the only MedSurg floor in this hospital.  We get every variety of patients and it is a difficult floor to work.  It is busy, it is stressful, it is constant change as patients of all varieties come and go.  There is a great sense of teamwork on that floor...teamwork being the only way to work on this type of floor with such a wide variety of different illnesses and patients.  The nurses/staff on this floor are amazing.

I thought a lot about how this place changed me.  I know that God needed me to make a short layover there before moving on.  He had people He needed me to meet.  He had people that I needed to cross paths with so they could help me become a better person, and hopefully I helped them too.

I made friends who then let me see where I can grow.  I made friends who then cheered me on.  I made friends who changed my perspective in life.  How that I have a little bit of value.  That is the biggest thing I walked away with...they convinced me I have value to others.

Working as a secretary, at the station-the central hub of the floor, forced me to be stronger, made me more confident, helped me to see my strengths and my weaknesses.  I am learning to let things slide.

Starting out, I wanted to quit.  I didn't think I would be able to handle it at first.  I can't handle someone yelling at me, or snapping at me.  And I felt like I was constantly being snapped at.  I was clueless and had endless questions that I'm sure drove everyone nuts and it took me awhile to realize the stress load of everyone and they weren't snapping at me they just needed someone to listen to them vent.

I decided, in my mind, to change the role of the secretary.  Of course I had my duties of order entry, phones, etc., but I decided to take on the role of taking care of my nurses and aides.  And I didn't take that responsibility lightly.  In my heart they did become my nurses and I decided I would do all I could to help them through their shift.

I've heard stories from my sisters, two incredible RN's, of how difficult their job was.  I tried to imagine all the stress they have.  I knew I was limited to how I could help them, but I decided I was going to do everything I could to make their job easier.  Sometimes it meant helping a nurse prep themselves mentally (and get files ready) to call that mean, nasty, crabby doc they knew was going to bite their head off.  Sometimes it meant simply making them a cup of coffee.  Sometimes it meant making them laugh.  Sometimes it was simply listening to them vent about things. Sometimes it was just cheering them on, telling them they were great nurses and they could get through even the worst of nights.  

I didn't expect it to be noticed.  It wasn't supposed to be noticed.  I just wanted to help them the best I could.

What I didn't expect was the amount of love and support I would be given when the time came for me to leave.

I'm still pondering it all in my heart.

It started with Monday night.  A co-worker ordered us all pizza and then the secret slipped out...they had planned on surprising me with a DQ cake the following night.  I always work Tuesdays and that would be the last night I get to work with that team....except this week my schedule was shifted and I was off on Tuesday.  So the cake didn't work out, but in my eyes, it happened.  The thought really does count.  And I love them for that.

Wednesday was my last day working 2nd shift.  My last day working part of day shift and part of night shift.  Wednesday I left work in tears, speechless.

I first was given a gift from a special friend Sharon.  We have had many gab sessions and she has helped me see me for who I am.  To embrace the things about me that I once disliked.  She gave me a special hang in my car and remember she is praying for me.

Then, one of the docs came to the desk and told me he had something in the break room for me.   When we walked in he told me that he and another doc wanted to get me something.  He pulled down a cake, but before I could see it, he told me that he wasn't sure what happened but that the cake he ordered wasn't what came.  He wanted it to say 'Best Wishes Julie' or something to that affect.  What came was:

I thought it was rather awesome.  I told him that I thought it was so perfect...hilarious actually.  The only thing that could have been better was if it said 'Happy Birthday Howard' or something equally off the wall. haha.

Honestly, I didn't see a cake that was wordless.  I saw a cake that one busy doc took the time to order and the other extremely busy doc took the time to pick up.  I saw an act of kindness that will never be forgotten.  I felt something that I don't feel too often:  I felt valuable.

I'm not sure what I stammered to him.   I hope I at least said thank you.

A few minutes later I told them I was going to slip over to the cafeteria to grab a bite to eat and return the ultrasound machine to ER.  They had to tell the surprise that pizza was ordered and was going to be delivered at five as a going away party.

I quick ran the US to ER and when I was down there an RN vocera'd me (called me on the little call system) and told me to get back to the break room.  I ran over from ER and walked in.  I saw tons of pizza with a card and a little package, wrapped in purple paper, sitting on the table.

I took it out to the nurse's station and was swallowing my tears.  I did not expect this.  I opened the card and read all the notes the day shift nurses, aides, and other secretaries wrote.  At this point the tears were almost coming out.   I opened the gift and a gorgeous pen was in a box.  Ann told me they wanted to get me something I could take to my new job and remember them all. That they wanted to do something for me because I took care of them.

Seriously.  I was in shock at this point.

I said good-bye to the docs as they came in that evening for their rounds.  I shared my cake with some of them that had been nice to me and told them I appreciated them being kind.

My favorite was the response from the infectious disease doctor.  "You can't go.  We will miss you."  I assured him that if he missed me, I would be willing to page him in the middle of the night and bug him...then he wouldn't miss me anymore. haha.   He asked if it was a good opportunity and I said it was.  A great opportunity that will give my children and I a good life.  He said "go then!"  He asked where I was going and I told him.  He said "Oh. You can't go there.  They have Lyme Disease."  I busted out laughing and told him that I thought I would be okay, but would consult him if I ever became ill with Lyme Disease.  (And I'm quite certain you can get that in Ohio I'm not too worried. lol)

Wednesday night I finished the night and said good bye to those I wouldn't work with again on Thursday.  D and L:  You know who you are.  I love you both and will miss you terribly, but I'm so thankful we crossed paths in our lives. God truly had that orchestrated and had that planned.

Thursday night was my last night.  I was working third and was working with some of the co-workers I have become closest too.  I knew it was going to be a hard goodbye.

One nurse, A, had the night off...and it was her birthday.  She drove in from 45 minutes away and brought in pizza for a goodbye party.  She gave me a card, which made me laugh until my stomach hurt...written with many of our inside jokes...and a gift card to Kohls.  I was stunned at the generosity.

Remember the Date Nut Cake  I attempted to make?  Jerry brought in the real deal to show me what it tasted like.  And he was right.  It was awesome.

He told the elderly baker that I was a co-worker who was moving to CT.  Her response? "They don't make cakes like this Connecticut!"

Then he told her I make my own clothes.
(A joke...but one I don't ever want to forget so I wrote it here so I won't :-)

We all ate pizza and cake until we were almost all admitted for abdominal pain.  It was so good we just kept eating.

Later that night, another RN, 'N' slipped me a card.  I opened it and found a gas card and a kind message written.  He told me later that he bought a small frozen cake and put it in the freezer.  Not for us to eat that night, but for me to take and eat with my kids and celebrate when we get moved.
I found him getting a new patients bed ready and I thanked him.  He told me that he couldn't have made it his first few months as a new nurse without my support...and all the times I helped him get ready to call a certain grouchy doctor.  (Which funny enough, I got to help him prep one more time later that morning:-)

Day shift soon started trickling in around 6:30.

The time was coming when I was going to leave for good.  I knew that this had to happen for me to move forward, but it doesn't make saying good bye any easier.

There were a few nurses I was glad I was able to say good-bye to in person, two in particular.  To be honest, I was almost dreading it.  I knew I would cry and I hate crying in front of people.

'Nic' came in and we immediately hugged, knowing this was it.  She started crying and that was it for me.  I had kept composure for 2 days, but I broke.  I became friends with a lot of people on that floor; but felt exceptionally close to 'Nic'.  She had helped me out so much and cheered me on.
I said good bye to everyone else, giving hugs, and well wishes.

Then I took the coward's route and left before saying good bye to the other nurse I knew I would have a hard time saying good bye too.  There were a couple nurses on nights that I took on as my little sisters and one of them was there that night.  I just couldn't say good bye.  I'm planning on popping in next weekend and seeing her then.  So that was part of my excuse...I'll say goodbye later. Plus, it was time for her to give report to the next nurse and there were too many doctors coming in and too much going on. I knew I couldn't say good bye without breaking down.  So I snuck on the elevators and left.

There have been times that I wondered why God took so long in having me move after He told me to go.  But looking back I see things that happened that needed to happen to allow me to be molded into the someone I needed to be.  One of those things was working the 3rd floor of WRH.

I miss you all, already.  

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Odds and Ends

I'm down to the little things to pack. 

The odds and ends that really don't have a specific box they can go in.

But can't really get thrown out.  

I'm thinking of making a box that is labeled 'LEFTOVERS'

So thankful for everyone who has helped.  

A few things to work through, but it looks like its all falling into place. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Street Lights

Its dark outside.

The sun has set and the street lights are on.

I should call the kids inside

and have them start taking showers

then tuck them in for the night.

But something tells me

a little less sleep

and a little more time

spent playing with the neighbor boy

and a friend

is more important.

Sunday, April 6, 2014


One week down; one week to go.

I have so much to do and am slightly overwhelmed by all of it.

Then I look back over the past week, and realize it was only a week, even though a month's worth of stuff happened.

*I found a place to live.  There are some obstacles that we have to work through (getting current tenant out), but it will be worth the wait.  And one thing I can say I have learned over the past three years is that sometimes if we wait, it is better than we could have dreamed:

It has 4 bedrooms with plenty of space to fill up with guests, excellent price in rent, acres and acres of property the boys can hike, a pond they can go fishing, landlord says a few bedrooms need re-painted and he would love to let the kids pick their colors so they feel at home.

Seriously?  Is this reality?

Its like asking for a pair of shoes for Christmas and assuming your mom/dad will go to Payless and get a practical, but cheap and ugly pair of shoes only to be surprised on Christmas morning by a pair of shoes that are the most incredible shoes you could ever dream of having.  (Yea, pathetic analogy...but I love shoes and couldn't think of anything else. lol)

I was assuming that God would provide something practical.  Something where we could live that would 'work' but assumed it would be a difficult transition.  Assumed it would be something small and hard to settle in.  Instead?  This house is big, an old New England colonial (completely my type) AND it has a stone wall out front.

I really shouldn't be surprised...isn't that how God works?  But yet, I am reveling in the amazement of it all.

The glitch is that I potentially will need to find temporary housing for a few weeks, but I have options so I'm not going to stress about it until I find out for sure.

The landlord and I both say that it is obvious to both of us that God had a hand in this.  I needed a place; he needed a reliable tenant.  This evening I was over-thinking things and trying to come up with Plans A,B,C,D,E, and possibly a Plan F. (Just in never know:-)

Then the thought of 'why don't you just ask God to make it go smoothly' crossed my mind.  I guess that needs to be my only plan.

Many of you have offered to help in anyway you can.  One thing is to join me in asking God to make this housing obstacle be wiped away.  Not really for me, but for the gentleman who owns the house and is working through the process.

*I may (or may not) have found someone to rent my house.  I'm in a lease and there are some gray areas about my responsibilities of the financial aspect of breaking the lease.  Someone knew of someone who knew of someone who needed a place to rent in the next few weeks.

They wanted: a 2 bedroom ranch in Rittman and needed it by April 19th.

I live in a 2 bedroom ranch, in Rittman, and am loading up April 18th.

Too good to be true?  Or another God-thing?

That's something else you can pray for.  That they like it, want it, and take over the lease.

*I have been in contact with the team at Travelers.  Getting everything scheduled and lined up.  I have a time of orientation, a lunch scheduled, and other interesting things.  I can't wait, but I'm sure it will be tiring to adjust to it all.

*I've been packing.  And packing.  And packing.  I don't work as much this week, so I'm hoping to get it all finished before I leave so I don't have to ask anyone to come in and do it for me.  I had a friend come help last week, and have some others coming this week.

The week was a whirlwind.  I worked 8 nights in a row (or was it 9?) and that alone makes me tired, plus all the added mental stress of moving.  Plus I had a kid with the flu and one with strep.


I went to a friends house tonight.  She made us dinner and we were going to spend one last evening together.  I couldn't wait for this evening.  But in my exhaustion, I fell asleep for the entire evening on her couch.  This was after chugging a Mt. Dew.  I think I'm tired.

The kids are adjusting to the idea.  They are nervous, which is understandable.  I'm hoping that once the transition happens, it will be much easier than anticipated.

Thank you for all your kind words of love and encouragement.  It is amazing how many cheerleaders I have that have cheered me on through reading my rantings on this blog.    

Friday, April 4, 2014

Jumping In

Just a quick update:

The past week has been a whirlwind.

A little over a week ago, I was still waiting to hear if I had the job or not.

One phone call changed my life.

10 days later, I am halfway packed and made significant progress with the moving process. (Packing, finding a place to live, securing a trailer, getting the paperwork done to start my job, figuring out bus passes/routes, enrolling kids in school, finding childcare...the list goes on and on)

I have one more week of work at the hospital.  As ready as I am to start my career at Travelers, I know it will be so hard to leave the unit and all my awesome co-workers.  Tonight is my last 16 hours shift.  If it is like the past 2 nights, I'm in for a wild ride.

I have a prospective house to rent in CT.  It is still in the works, but at least I have a lead.  Simply having a lead has taken away so much stress.

I know in my head that God won't leave me now.  He told me to go.  He lead me to Travelers.  I know He won't leave me without a home.

I just wish I could convince my heart.  I'm tired of the rapid pounding.  If it doesn't slow down soon, I'm afraid it will gallop out of my chest and across the floor.

Keep the prayers coming...this past week has been overwhelming, but amazing to live through and see all the miracles as they unfold.

Monday, March 31, 2014

In all honesty, I should be packing instead of blogging.

But somehow it feels more important to write instead of work. I need to pause to write down the past few days so that I won't forget them and the emotions that came.

Wednesday I was sitting in my recliner writing the post about my dad.  The week had been hard, physically the emotions were wearing on me and I was tired.  I was sitting there, thinking of him and how the last day I saw him I said "I love you" and to not hear it in return.

When my phone rang, I wasn't sure if I had the emotional capacity to handle what she would tell me either way.

From the previous post, you know the news was good news.  And from the previous post, you know that one of the first things I did was to run to my bed and hide my head under the covers.

Honestly, it took me a few days to completely process this.  At first I thought I had a month. Which wasn't what really made my head spin.  What made my head spin was that this was actually happening.  That my dreams were becoming a reality and the work I put into it was paying off.  I was feeling shock and disbelief that it was really true.

Thursdays news of 'we need you in 2 weeks' was what sent my head spinning.  That took a moment to process.

One friend asked how I felt.  'Numb' was the only word I could think of.  Definitely excited.  But the shock of 'I'll be living in Connecticut in 2 weeks' took a little bit to process.

I'm a organizer my nature.  All the things that needed to be planned were being tossed around in my head.

That night a friend came over.  Bonnie told me that 'don't even try to be just won't have time'.

Bonnie: 2 weeks??  ALL THE MORE REASON TO BE ORGANIZED.  hahahahaha. 

Friday night at work I kept checking my pulse on the little handheld machine.  At first it was pushing 110, then I calmed myself down and kept steady in the mid-nineties.  All the constant thoughts rolling around in my head had to slow down before my heart raced right out of my chest.

I am trying to plan a solution for every possible problem so that when any possible problem arises, I already have a solution in my notes to take care of it.

I need to stop trying to do that.   :-)

After a few phone calls this weekend and some planning, my heart slowed down, and my thoughts quit racing.

I came up with a plan and if everything goes as planned, it will all work out.

With my plan in action, I can finally enjoy the moments that I have been waiting on for so long.

EEEKKK! I'  In.two.weeks!! 

I thought about the past three years.  I thought about all that has transpired and how much I have grown emotionally.  I am a completely different person than I was a few years ago, and that transformation is what will allow success.  If I had moved a few years ago, I would have failed.

I thought about the timing.  I heard about the offer on March 26th.  I received the official letter on March 27th.  Two days out of the year that are the hardest for me.

Thinking back to those days, I am always reminded of the sentence my dad left for me.

"Get your head on straight"

I've always questioned if he would think that I did get my head on straight.

And even though I've made better choices in the past few years, deep down I knew he would know that I wasn't performing to my greatest potential.

But now?  After the past year of so many changes?  Now I feel like he would say he was proud of me.  The words every daughter desires to hear from her parents...especially her father.  Now I finally feel that he would be so proud of me.  And that makes me happy.

Do I think my dad had a hand in this?  No.  I don't believe that someone who had died can change the course of time and influence people.  But I do believe that God knew I needed this.  I needed to be able to let go of that note.  He knew that to succeed in all aspects of my life, I needed to put that to rest.  To really know that my dad would be proud of me and loved me no matter what.

I wouldn't change the timing of this for anything.  It was worth the fight.  It was worth the battle. It was worth all of it.

There is a lot that needs done.  A lot that needs to happen in a very short amount of time.  There are a lot of things that need to line up perfectly for this to go smoothly.

Please pray that the bumps in the road be minimal.

I plan on leaving Ohio on Saturday the 12th and starting work on the 14th.  I'll head back to Ohio on Thursday (they are generously giving me a few days off to get things moved and kids settled...this is seriously an amazing place I get to work!)  Friday and Saturday I'll pack up the trailer and then spend Easter with my family.  Monday morning early we will head East with the trailer.  Kids start school Tuesday and I go back to work Wednesday.

It will be a whirlwind and exhausting 5 days.

Please pray that they adjust well and it all goes smoothly.

Now, back to packing!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Job Offer

Right now I can only write the facts.  I haven't sorted out my emotions.  They are all spinning into a tangled mess and I need to sort them out, process them before writing them down.

I feel like this post has been in the works for years.  Many of you have told me how you read and waiting with me, holding your breath, waiting to hear if I got the job and then crying with me as you heard I lost the offer last summer.   I am so excited to finally get to write this post.


Wednesday, the 26th, I was finishing writing up my post about missing my dad.  To be honest, I was sitting in my recliner sobbing, thinking about him.  My phone rang and the caller ID had the 860 number on it.  I knew it was Insurance Co. A tell me something.

Its funny how fast the brain can process a thought.  My first thought was 'I'm not sure if I can handle bad news right now.  The second thought was 'I'm not sure I can handle good news right now'.

I thought both thoughts while the phone rang once.

I picked up, not sure what I was going to hear.

She chit chatted for a moment, while I held my breath.

Then she said it. "We would like to extend a formal job offer to you".

I wasn't sure I heard correctly.

I had her repeat it.

She told me that because I am replacing someone who is retiring, they need me there the first week of May.

I gulped.

One month.  That's fast.  Doable.  But fast.

Then she went through the stuff.  The healthcare options I'll have, the 401k, the vacation time, etc.

I hope they have it written down somewhere because I didn't hear any of it.  My brain was full speed at this point.

She told me I have to do the drug screen and they had an 800 number to call with a list of places that were near me.  I had three days to do it, Wednesday being one of the days.  I had to have it done by Friday.

After we hung up, I called the necessary, close friends, etc.

Then I crawled into bed and covered my head with blankets.

This is what I have wanted for so long.  And I'm so excited.  But I just dread the process of the change.

I laid there for 10 minutes and then decided to grow up and get up.

I told the kids one at a time.  Rhianna and I had to make Swiss Bread that night for a school project, so we chatted a lot while mixing, kneading, and baking it.  At the time I was inwardly groaning that I had to do another school project.  Honestly?  I think it worked out for the best.  It gave us some time to talk while focusing on something else.

Riley said he would move if I got him a dog.  After I said "um. No" he changed it to he would move only if we flew out when we moved.  (Cost effective, right?)  He tried others ways to manipulate.  I'm sure its not the last attempt.  I'll just hug him when he needs hugged, listen when he needs to talk, but I'll have to keep saying no to dogs and moving our stuff via United Airlines.

Reagan?  Reagan didn't really say much.  He has told me "No.  He's not going."  But other than that, just follows Riley's lead.

I know they will be okay.  I know they will adjust.  I know this will be best for them.  But knowing they have to break friendships is hard for me to watch.

Thursday came and I was getting ready to go to the school for Riley's DARE graduation.  The recruiter called again, to go over a few more things.

We chatted for a minute and I told her that I could be there by April 28th.  She said "that's what I need to talk to you about.  Because the woman is retiring the first week of May, we need you to spend as much time with her as possible.  We would prefer if you could come by April 14th."


They need me there in two weeks.

I know I could tell them 'No. I need more time.'  And rightfully so.  However, this is the opportunity I've been waiting on.  The job of my dreams, if you will.

I told her I needed to make a few phone calls to see if I can make this happen and I would get back with her.

Honestly, that has been my biggest change over the years.  Creating boundaries.  The old me would have said "Yes. No problem" and then just figured it out only to cause stress on myself and more stress on my kids.

I talked to a few people and then I called back and told her I could make it by April 14th, but I needed a few days off within a week to come back and move the trailer, get kids settled in school, etc. This was big for me.  Stating my needs, justifiably, and not being scared to admit I need something.

Later that morning the 2VP called me to welcome me personally and tell me how excited they are.  She said that if I need anything, ever, to let her know...and not just professionally.  She is there to help me succeed.  It was then that I mentioned hoping to have a few days off a week after I start, to go back to Ohio, load a trailer, spend Easter with my family, move the trailer, and start kids in school.  (Phew!)  She said "Absolutely.  And take Tuesday as well.  We are asking so much of you, we are more than understanding that you need some time."

That is where I am right now.

Packing and planning.

There is a lot to do in a short amount of time.

But I think its for the best.  Lets get moved and get settled.  I think if we had 6 or 8 weeks to sit and think about it, it would be harder on the kids.  Not to mention I don't get things done until last minute anyhow, so the rush of packing isn't any different than if I had 2 months :-)

There are so many thoughts rolling in my head.

So much to process.

More on that... last thing.  What is Insurance Co A?

I am so excited to be a part of the family at Travelers!