Tuesday, April 22, 2014

This Weekend: Thursday-Sunday

I’m a little behind in keeping up with writing.  

It was a crazy last 10 days, to say the least.

I was going to write in chronological order, but instead I’m going to jump around.

I’ll write about my first week at work later.  Right now I’m going to write about the past weekend and the past few days.   I won’t have internet at my place for a while so my blogging may be scattered here and there.   


I left work around 2:20.  Just in time to make it downstairs, out the door and catch the 2:34 bus.  I made it to my car a little before 3 and then headed west, towards Ohio.

It was a nice drive home, stopping only a few times, once to take a quick 45 minute nap at the NY/PA line.  I made it back to Rittman around 1:30 am.  I crashed on the couch and slept a few hours.

Woke up late at 9:30 and started finishing up a few things around the house.  I called the owner of the house (will explain the details later) that I would be renting to make sure she (current tenant) had in fact moved out the previous day like she agreed.
She hadn’t.  And was refusing to leave.

Which meant I had a trailer coming to load up my stuff at 1pm, a job to get back to, 
and no place to live.

The current heart palpitations I had started to have their own chest pains.

I made a few phone calls, and the word was spread.  I needed a temporary place to move into and needed it quick.

Within 2 hours, we had a place.

The truck and trailer arrived promptly at 1 and people started showing up to help.  I was rather scatter brained, tired, and fighting emotions.  I hope I thanked each one who helped.  I couldn’t have done it without them.

We loaded everything up within a few hours and the trailer was shut and driven to my brother in law and sisters house to wait for Monday morning.
Friday evening, before Good Friday service, I went to the hospital to see everyone.  I knew if I went at 6:30p I would get to see 2 shifts worth of friends. 

It was so good to go back.  I needed to see everyone again and spend a little more time with them.

The kids and I went to church and heard a wonderful service on the death of our Savior.  It was bittersweet to look around and see all the familiar faces and know that in a few days I would be leaving this place.  Memories of the past 30+ years came flooding back.


Saturday morning I spent more time at the house.  Cleaning a little more, checking things, etc. 

Saturday evening my friends, Diane and Gail, had a farewell party for me and the children.  I’m not sure how many people came, but there were a lot of people that showed up and I was overwhelmed at their goodness.

I did good not crying until the end when they pulled out three little scrapbooks.  Even in the rush of the past 2 weeks, a couple friends found time to give a scrapbook page to each one of the children’s Sunday School classmates.  Each page was loving done and decorated with memories, pictures, Bible verses, and songs. 

It was then the tears started to flow. 

They had also sent a blank card to everyone who was invited.  They were to put words of encouragement, pictures, etc. on it for me to take with me. 

I loaded up the gifts (yes, there were even gifts!), cards, and flowers from the centerpieces and went back to my moms.

The children and I opened our gifts and then I started going through the cards.  I sobbed through most of them.  So many kind words and memories were written.  People gave so generously.  It wasn’t expected or necessary, but it has made the financial aspect of this move so much easier.

After getting the children settled, I ran out to the store for some treats and then into the hospital to see the other team that wasn’t there the night before.  I snuck in through ER and spent a little time with them down there.  I snuck up to the 3rd floor and surprised everyone.  I spent an hour or so with them and then headed home.  I was tired and it was late.   It was hard to say goodbye again, but it was great to see them all before making the big move.


Went to church knowing it was going to be an emotional day.  The day was beautiful and so many people offered their prayers and support.

Everyone I spoke to said they would pray for God’s blessings to be upon me.  For the first time in my life, I stopped and really listened to that.  To think about the words and the depth of them.  To have someone ask God to pour blessings upon someone isn’t to be taken lightly, and until this point I always did. 

After the second service, the minister announced that we would be moving.  He said a few words and then said the desire of the Rittman congregation was the same as the words Moses said to Aaron in Numbers 6:24-26:  “The Lord bless thee and keep thee.  The Lord make His face to shine upon thee and be gracious unto thee.  The Lord lift up His countenance upon thee and give thee peace.”

At this  point I had no control of the tears.  To sit among my brothers and sisters and Christ and feel their love and support, in agreement of the words being read, was so touching.  It is an incredible feeling to have that blessing put on you.

The congregation then sang “God Be With You Til We Meet Again” It was so hard to mentally digest the reality that I was leaving.  It was real and I was really moving. 

After church, I slipped over to the cemetery.  I needed to say goodbye to my dad.
I took one of the flowers that were on the tables from the party the night before and planted it at dad’s grave.  I’m sure it will die, but it felt good to give him something.  It felt like I was including him somehow.

I asked my children to stay in the car.  I needed time alone with my dad.

Sunday evening we had dinner at my moms.  The whole family was there and it was good.  We had a great meal and then as the evening went on, we all knew that the time to say good bye was coming soon.

We took family pictures and later realized that when Riley was taking pictures with my sister’s Iphone, he was really videoing.  It was so much fun to see and hear us interact.  My brother would pinch us girls while we were trying to get a picture and in the video you would hear the scream of whichever girl he got. 

We said our good byes and the tears started.  I was doing okay until my little niece started to wail.  She was sobbing and hanging on to me.  It was so hard to say goodbye to all of them.

After everyone left, the kids and I stayed up and spent some time with my mom.  I knew I should get to bed, but wanted to spend time with her and Riley (he is staying with her until the end of the school year).  Finally around midnight I went to bed.  I had to get up at 2 am to load up and head east.

To be cont’ with Monday-Tuesday…..

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 angel...to 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 too...so 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 case...you 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.