Friday, June 29, 2007

on the line

My training at the hospital has just about come to an end. I made it. It feels good to know that I can do this. I really love it. Now I'm a full-fledged part-time employee in the hospital. I bought my preceptor some great products from Kiel's and a round of cupcakes for the rest of the staff to thank them for making me feel so welcome and for patiently teaching, encouraging, and supporting me through eight [often] nerve-wracking weeks.

I spend so much time trying to avoid anxiety, I only hope that next time I'm avoidant I will remember this moment. It feels so good to meet it head on and survive. This is what living is. To do nothing is just that; nothing.

Now if only I could fall asleep. Sleep is still not always my friend. A little help here, a little help there... I'm using the time waiting for the 'help' to kick in, writing about all of this.

So I'll be back at my desk in addition to the hospital work now, running a research fellowship program this summer, among other things. I'm looking forward to that part too. Not only will reuniting with my girls be fabulous [the party is already in the works], running the program is totally up my alley. It's a little like running group therapy for these over-achieving student recipients [of whom I was one only 7 years ago] and I think I'm going to like it. Group process is my kind of thing. It's right up there with interpersonal process. There's nothing more interesting. I'd like to say it's titillating, but I hate that word.

I've also come to understand that attempting to venture out of my quasi-celibate safe-haven, even if it was to hang myself out on the line for Harry, has given me something else. It has reminded me that I'm human and I need not live like I'm not. I'd say it was a real indicator. I realize now that one part of the dissapointment in the aftermath was that I wasn't going to be getting any action. I'd kind of thought I was going to and for the first time in awhile, I was more than ok with that. What can I say? A girl's got needs.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

ruthless living

Not forced to fall in love or hate
But like.
Like butter.

Not pandering to every human moment
Or impending doom.

Sometimes I am afraid
I will laugh and cry
Unable to stop.
I fear exploding
From every orifice
Gushing from the weak points.

Not like my grandfather
Who tried to seal everything
Then leaked until he died.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

what luck, the nurse is me

Right before I left to go away to the wilderness for a few days [and by wilderness I mean large open-concept cottage on a river in the Kawarthas, deep in the forest, with a hot tub, fully equipped kitchen, good food, drinks, cuban cigars, multiple bedrooms and a great group of friends; my perfect wilderness], I was faced with my toughest day of work yet. While I can't go into detail, it surprisingly did not involve a dead baby or death at all for that matter, expect maybe the death of any hopes of perfection. It was a complex ethical dilemma, so to speak, as well as the building up of and possibly the inadvertant collapse of the trust of a patient. More than that, it was the simple heartbreak of seeing someone living a difficult life and knowing there is nothing I can do about the damage inflicted on them by a whole lifetime of circumstances really.

It was excrutiating and I was helpess. I don't think you can ever learn how to deal with that and if you think you can, I pity you. Not only are there no level playing fields in life, the variations that exist are unimaginable to most. It's a fucking shame.

So I'm back from a much needed few days away, and normally I feel good after getting fresh air and sunshine, but my skin is bad from the heat and the chocolate [I ate crap for three days}, and I feel old suddenly. Maybe part of it is that in the morning I have another of the appointments I've been trying to pretend aren't happening. I haven't been dwelling on it, but I guess it's gotta be dragging me down a bit at some level.

The other day, one of the women I work with told me I looked like a flight attendant. She meant it as a compliment but it got me thinking. When I'm really invested in taking something seriously or when I care a lot about something I'm doing, I become stiff. I think that's part of what's been going on here. The more pressure I place on myself, the more seized up I am in life. That in turn makes the things I want out of life seem more and more impossible. I am going to make sure I don't lose myself like that. I'm sure the women that said that was mostly referring to how at work I tie my hair back neatly in a ponytail and how I often wear those librarianesque glasses, but her observation was a cue for me. The truth is I'm not stiff. I'm quirky, emotional, and sexual in addition to all of the other qualities I tend to value in making me a good nurse, friend, or catch. It's all important though and I have to remind myself of that.

I'm doing really well in my work at the hospital. I'm so glad I took that chance and stepped out of my comfort zone. On a more personal front, I have been and will continue to answer first to myself, and not be afraid of being vulnerable. I even have a couple of different dates in the works.

I am starting to get excited again finally; excited about the possibility of a yet to be determined future.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

in situ

My guess is that the curve of my underarm
Is just a little too deep.
So no matter how many times I run the razor over the skin
There are always one or two hairs left.
And so here I stand
At 5:30 PM
In front of the bathroom mirror
Getting ready for another night shift
Trying to tweeze this one lone strand
With shaky hands.
The first attempt misses.
Pinching the delicate skin.
Fuck, I say aloud.
The second gets a good grip at the base.
I pull, but the hair remains
In situ
Now curled tight
Like the tweezers were scissors on a ribbon.
Third attempt, success.
Lucky number three.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

money's worth

I’ve kind of let myself get lost in my days off. I’ve drifted along with the flow and spent some time out in the sun, getting my sweat on. Lately I’m all about hill and stairs-training. It’s killer, but it feels so damn good. The other day I hiked around Rattlesnake Point, an hour or so out of the city, with a couple of girls. I realize, besides my stint in SF, I haven’t been out of the core of the city since last December. That's too long. Another night I met friends for dinner and drinks in Kensington. After last week’s drunken disaster I thought I would never drink again, but you know what they say about saying never.

Today and yesterday I have plodded leisurely through the things I need to do in preparation for working this week, like laundry and groceries and food prep. I’ve kept busy, but at a relaxed pace. After this next stretch of work I’m leaving directly for a cottage to spend a few days with my Aussie friends who will be visiting.

The other night Harry called to ask me [again] to go out with him and his nieces. The original plan was for the four of us to spend the day together for lunch and then for a trip to the museum, but after last weekend I told him I wouldn't be able to join them. He said he understood, but he called me the other night, and asked me if I would at least come and meet up with them for a little while. I wanted to say yes because I love those girls and because I miss Harry, but it just wasn’t the right thing for me. I can’t just fall into the girlfriend role because it works for him in the moment or because it works for our little foursome dynamic. I don’t have it in me to be that for them after all of this and I kind of find it amusing at some level that, as smart as he is, he doesn't get that. So against my natural inclination to be what people need, I said no. Not at my expense. Sometimes you need to get your own money’s worth. Sometimes you have to let people feel the lack.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

that's for sure

I know I said I'd be gone for a few days, but I had a pretty good day at work and I feel better. It was a long day, but I learned a lot and I managed pretty well. I knew working would be good for me today.

More than that, I am so lucky and thankful to have such an amazing group of friends. Even the two with the babies dropped what they were doing, for me. Lana brought me over gatorade and food when I was imobile, Shosh forced me out of my apartment that night for a walk, and then Anna picked me up and took me home with her the next day to hang out, do yard work, and play with the baby. Her husband even took me for a spin and then through the car wash in his brand new convertible, which so reminded me of my Dad in the good times. And then there's my best guy Josh who always knows how to make me feel better, even if it's by phone. I have great friends.

Finally, thanks for YOUR kind words here and via email. I may have even received a video serenade from someone...not mentioning any names.

I feel better already and I have my friends to thank. All of you.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

i've been told

Ever heard of a two day hangover? Well i've got it, in the worst way. I think it's still mostly the hangover, but it's a bit of a broken heart in there too, and that's a horrible combination.

You know, people say all kinds of things. I've been told I look like Kirsten Dunst. Or like Lisa Loeb, but only when I'm wearing my black plastic frames. I've been told a number of times I have keen senses, but like I said, people will tell you all kinds of things. Much of it is shit, especially that last one. It has to be. And sometimes you say things that you can't take back, and there's been a lot of things being said, some of it shit and some of it irreversible.

Two nights ago I went out for dinner with Harry. I got, in hindsight, deliberately shit-faced. At the end of the night, when I knew I'd had too much to drink but didn't really care, I propositioned him.

"Stay over at my place."

"What? Why?"

"Because. Just stay."

"Will you have sex with me", he asked, cool as a fucking cucumber.

"I wasn't asking for sex."

"Well I'm not coming over to have a 'sleep-over'. I have way too much to do tomorrow and I never sleep well with someone else in the bed. If you wanted to have sex, that's a different story, and even then, you're drunk. I wouldn't have sex with you when you're drunk. Only an asshole would do that."

We were outside my building now.

"Besides, what's the point of me coming over just to sleep?"

"I, uh, I don't know.", I stammered. "Can't there be something in between?"

There was a long pause.

"Rachel, I love you, but like a sister."

My heart sank like a weighted bag of kittens.

"I love you like a friend. I wouldn't do something that would jeopardize our friendship."

That last line, as I recall, he repeated several times.

This isn't happening, I thought. I looked at my feet.

"Are you crying?"

I couldn't look at him. Now I kind of wish I'd had that one last look.

I hate that he pretended his rejection of me was for a noble reason. We all know that's shit. I just don't understand how I misread him. I always got the sense that he had feelings for me. I always thought the reason nothing ever happened between us was me. In the beginning, when I said we were too different, he argued with me. In fact he still does whenever it comes up.

He said he was sorry if he'd mislead me. Maybe I'd mislead myself. A part of me had always thought fate had put us together. That it was just a matter of time.

"Look Rachel, I'm attracted to you but that doesn't mean it would last any longer than the other relationships I've been in lately. I'm just not there and it's not worth the risk. I don't want to lose you."

But the saddest part of all is that I was already lost.

I passed out crying like Paris Hilton going back to jail, but when I woke up the next morning, the strangest thing happened. I didn’t wake up treading water in a pool of guilt, the way I would even on the most typical night of drinking. While I woke up incredibly hung over, nauseous, my eyes almost swollen closed, crying again even before I opened them, my head wasn’t crowded. It was clearer than it had been in a while. Maybe it was because I finally told the truth, in the truest sense of the word. My truth.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

when harry met sally

The invitation went out and it was not accepted. It's a done deal. It's over.

Monday, June 04, 2007

get hung up feed the ducks with a bun

I found it easier to come home and blog when all I had to work with was a mundane subway ride home. When my days are packed with everything from joy to tragedy, it's a little paralyzing. As I was typing that a line from the old song Itchycoo Park [which I love] jumped into my head.

'It's all too beautiful...'.

Except some of it's really horrible. Even the most horrific of circumstances has an element of beauty to it. Still it's excessive, even for the seasoned professional. They say the bad stuff comes in threes, but this week has me asking, how many sets of three?

I don't know...example? The other day, I was involved with my first bereavement; taking care of a dead infant. Part of this kind of care is to take photographs and hand and foot prints and then transport the body to the morgue. It was a difficult thing to do, no question, especially after getting to know the family so well. It's also uncomfortable and frightening. Maybe that part gets easier. I imagine it will, down the road, but still... To make matters worse, as I was transporting the patient to the morgue, I passed another patient of mine in the hall, walking with a visitor. Keep in mind the transport container is well disguised so they had no idea what I was carrying. As I got up close I realized this visitor was a guy I went on a blind date with about six months ago and had never called back. He recognized me right away and I said hi but kept on walking. I was afraid he would confront me in the hall or that I'd have to talk to him with the package heavy in my hand. I didn't want to be going to the morgue and I couldn't get the image of the photographs and the tiny hands and the feet out of my mind and all I could think was, 'please don't stop me, please don't recognize me'. I felt like I might implode.

And that's just one little moment of many. Sometimes it's too much to even put into words so I'm being vague. And it's too much to call a friend and talk about. Trust me, no one wants to hear.

I forgot what it was like to be forever haunted by this kind of stuff and not know where to put it. I guess I wait until it's a little less raw and then write it out in some way.

So thats part of why I haven't been posting. I've been writing, but just in no form that I can leave it with you.