Sunday, July 29, 2007

A day in the life of a mom…

i.e...I'm an ER Nurse, I can handle anything, right?

What a sweet experience I had this weekend, as Tiffany brought her 3 girls for an overnight visit – Morgan, age 6; Starley, age 4; and Olivia “Livvy” age 3. They came by Saturday afternoon, and stayed till Sunday afternoon.

Saturday, after a brief rest, we took them out to dinner at Red Robin, where they did pretty well. Starley, sadly, had some diarrhea, so we had multiple trips to the bathroom, but we managed, bribing them to finish their dinner with the promise of swimming in the pool later. Tiffany and I decided that I would take the girls swimming, while she took a much-needed break and went shopping for the things I did not have. She asked me multiple times if I was okay with this plan, because “they can be a handful”. I told her…I’m an ER Nurse, I can handle anything. Besides, how hard can it be, right? (Famous last words…)

So, we get home and all change into swimsuits. We collect towels, pool toys, keys, and children. Right before we left, Starley gets a bloody nose, so I grabbed Kleenex too, which I stuffed into my bathing suit (yep, I thought I’d finished “stuffing” years ago…). Halfway to the stairs, Livvy gets a bloody nose too. I grab more Kleenex. We head to the car, and they are both holding their noses to get them to stop before we can go in the pool. We load up the van, and I drove down to the pool; as I’m parking, Tiff drives by in my car and honks and waves…she’s FREE! The bloody noses have stopped, but then as we’re getting out of the van and walking towards the pool, Starley says “I think I pooped in my swimsuit”, and Morgan pipes up with “yep, Starley pooped in her swimsuit”. Okay…I can do this…I say to myself, “I’m an ER Nurse, I can handle anything, right?” We get into the pool area, drop the toys, towels and keys onto a chair, and march straight into the bathroom where I wash the swimsuit in the sink while she finished in the toilet. Yep…no gloves…not quite the ER, but then everyone knows children aren’t as toxic as adults anyways right? I’m actually laughing to myself about this situation. So we finish with that…still no more bloody noses…things are good.

We go out and hop in the children’s pool. I sit on the side and blow up the pool toys, and we play. These aren’t children, they are FISH!!! The light and excitement in their eyes as they play and swim in the water, is something I’ve not seen in many people, but have always felt within myself. They love the water as much as I do! Then Starley has to go to the bathroom again. Everyone had to sit out of the pool and on the side while I march her back into the bathroom. They mind me, and I’m thinking – this isn’t so bad. No accidents this time, just a minor bloody nose which went away pretty fast. More playing in the water. Then Livvy gets out and announces that she has pooped in her swimsuit…are you kidding me?!…I mean, what are the odds? Everyone gets out of the water again as Livvy and I head toward the bathroom to clean up. Yep, I did it again without gloves, still laughing about the whole situation. The joy in their faces and their love of the water is worth it all to me!

In the beginning, I’d told them that we’d stay until someone got tired and grumpy. Now we’re an hour into the pool experience (from the time we hit the water), and still no one is tired and grumpy. I’m thinking, “How am I ever going to get these fish out of here? We can’t stay too late, it’s already 8:30 pm and we have to get to bed so we can get to church at 9 in the morning.” So I mention that it’s almost time to go. Yep, sure enough, they remembered what I’d said first and pipe up with, “but no one is tired or grumpy yet”. What now? Then it comes to me, the pool “closes” when the sun goes down, and the sun is definitely going down…5 more minutes and two more games of “who can hang onto the raft the longest” (while I spin it around the pool and try to shake them off). (Starley won every time except the last time when Morgan won.)

So a few minutes later, we gather everything and head to the van, come home, take baths, and they go to bed. As I shared with Tiffany the story of it all, she is amazed that I’m still alive and even more that I’m still smiling about it all. I reminded her that it could have been worse...that I was just glad we didn’t leave any poop floating in the water…true story…that was my proudest accomplishment today. And those children slept well ALL NIGHT LONG! That alone was worth it to me, that everyone was able to get some good sleep.

Aren't they beautiful?!

We dressed and went to church today, and had a good afternoon…again, LONG naps! Then this evening, we packed up and loaded the van so they could go back to their grandparents’ home. Little tears came to my eyes as they pulled out, yelling “love you’s” and blowing kisses. What a sweet weekend for me! I'll be looking forward to another visit sometime! :-)

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Are There Really Coincidences in Life? I think not…

This experience was a “first” for me in Nursing...

I was working last Thursday night (the 19th) in the ER, and had gotten to work a few minutes earlier than usual so that one of the nurses could leave early. She gave me her two “easy” patients, and left, and I started picking up a couple more patients from other nurses going home. Then I started checking on the patients I’d picked up, one by one. As I got to the last one, I walked into the room and started my spiel (Hi, my name is Wendy and I’m going to be your nurse for a while…) I’d just gotten to my name when I heard the patient say “WENDY MARTINEZ”??!! I looked a little skeptical at first, knowing only my first name shows on my badge. Then she told me her name, and I knew instantly who she was…Tiffany Felt…a DEAR friend of mine from Seattle, whom I’d lost contact with about 5-6 years ago, and her husband Brian Felt. I didn’t recognize her at first, but as I looked closer, she is still as beautiful as she always was when I knew her in Seattle. Amazingly enough, and because I’d just checked on everyone else first, I had 20-30 minutes to sit down and we talked non-stop without interruption.

As I learned of their reason for being here, my heart went out to her, and I realized that I’d be able to bless her life over the next while. She has had some medical problems lately, which have so far gone undiagnosed…everything comes back “normal” and yet it is affecting her ability to function in her life. They drove 1000 miles to this hospital for testing and hopefully to find the right doctors who can help her, but her husband has to go back home to Washington to attend to his responsibilities there. He is going to have to leave her and their 3 girls with his parents in the area, which is a blessing. But the Lord knew she needed a friend here as well while her husband had to go back home, and He sent me. I was the first familiar face in a sea of blue scrubs and white coats, and it was a comfort to her.

As I thought through the night about it, I realized all of the seemingly small events that had taken place that allowed our paths to cross for one hour in the ER. They’d been there for several hours, and the admission paperwork had been turned in for quite a while, but it had taken longer than average for them to get a bed-assignment so we could move her to her room upstairs. Right after we met and talked, I got a bed assignment, and was able to get her transferred upstairs. If I’d come in at my usual time that night (or even 5-10 minutes later), she’d have been assigned to a different nurse, and I wouldn’t have even known she was there. The fact that they came in that very day, one of my 3 shifts for the week, was a small miracle in and of itself. And the final one that I see is that over the last 2-3 weeks or so, things in my life have wound down to a point that I just don’t have a lot of extra stuff going on right now that takes my time…and I will be able to spend some of this time with her and her family, through the doctors visits, and the long hopeless hours at times. I know that the Lord will bless me with the time when I need to be there.

I recognize that the Lord plays a role in our lives even when we don’t notice it, and He blesses us with the things that we need, sometimes in the very hour that we need them. I needed to see her just as much as she needed to see me that night, and we’ve both been blessed tremendously by the experience. We’ve had time to spend several hours together this weekend, and I’ve had a chance to get to know her husband and two of her three girls. What a wonderful family she has! How thankful I am for a profession where I’m allowed to “walk with angels” at times, even when I don’t always recognize that I’m doing such. It is my calling…my life work…and I feel that I’ve been blessed the most!

My Trip to Cali… a nice getaway

I took off for California on Thursday, the 12th of July, to get out of SLC for the weekend, and had a great time. There is something about being on the open road that I LOVE! It was so peaceful, and was exactly what I needed. I spent the night in Elko, and made the rest of the drive on Friday morning.

Friday, I got together with friends…Tiffiny (who moved to San Francisco at the same time I moved to SLC last year), Nicole, Christina, and Mary. It was so good to see and talk with so many friends there. We had a great time catching up!

Saturday, I attended the wedding and reception of another friend, Jenn, and then FINALLY was able to see and attend the Sacramento Temple. It is BEAUTIFUL! I cannot describe how I felt there, as I realized it feels like “my temple”, even though it’s the first time I’ve been in it. Nicole was one of the workers and we were able to see a lot of each other in there.

Here’s the history: we’d been anticipating the Sacramento Temple for years, but there was a lot of opposition in it being built, and it was delayed many times. Consequently, while I lived in the area for 3 years, we traveled 100 miles one-way to Oakland to attend the temple. I don’t regret those days, as I had some marvelous experiences (do you get as many blessings if you RACE the entire way to the temple on a ward temple trip?...I won...). Anyways, they were building the Sacramento Temple and I wanted to wait “just a few more months” before I moved to Utah, so I could work in it during the Open House (like EVERYONE I know got to). But I’d put off my move several months already because I was unwilling to move to UT in the winter (who in their right mind would move from CA to UT in the winter?!). So I missed the Open House and Dedication by about a month. The Lord’s answer to me in that request was “Am I not sending you to a place with MANY beautiful temples? Is that not good enough?” It has been good enough for me…I have thoroughly enjoyed all of the temples in the SLC area, but as I attended the Sacramento Temple on Saturday, it still felt like “my temple”.

I went to a pool party at someone’s home on Sat night…is it just me, or do the “young single adults” keep getting younger? ;-)

Sunday, I was able to see Alena and Sam, along with a few other friends. What a great experience to visit and catch up with them! They are amazing people, and I am blessed to call them friends. (see her blog at "") Church was amazing…sadly, I’d forgotten what it felt like to truly be fed by the Spirit at church. I was left with such a feeling of how much the Lord loves me, and all of His children. I was “centered” once again in my life.

Monday was another great drive across the state of Nevada, my home-state. Whenever I enter, I have to sing the state song “Home Means Nevada”, as I learned it in grade-school. I am so thankful for the opportunity I had to visit a place I once called home, and the wonderful friends I still have there. :-)

Sunday, July 1, 2007

My Niece -- a funny story

Not long ago, my 5-year old niece, Makaela, was here in Utah for a visit. At one point, we were visiting at someone's house, and to help keep her entertained, I let her play with my digital camera. Turns out she has quite an eye for taking pictures (for a 5-year old). Her first picture was of me, and she lined it up and then said, "Oh, move over just a looks like you have more hair!" This is the picture she took...