Saturday, August 30, 2014

Take Me to Church

I'm not a religious person. Spiritual maybe, I believe in inherent human goodness and the golden rule. I'm fairly convinced that after this week if I did believe in a god I would be pissed off. But I don't, and I'm not. I'm sad, still disbelieving that a week ago my child lived a different life. A friend said this week, that while life isn't fair, this seems inequitable. And it is, but I can't believe it was for any reason or failure of positive thought or visioning for my life.

 Fuck you, The Secret. Yeah, you. I'm talking about you. 

Anyway, it is a thing. It has happened. In the scheme of the universe and billions of stars it is tiny, and we are insignificant, and it is this thing that happened, and we are now moving forward into it and with it.

It's out in the universe, our natural world, that I feel most connected to whatever it is that we are a part of. In the spaces where elements meet, toes in sand and water, in the thin air that meets ancient rock at a mountain top... That's my church, my breath is my prayer. I went out for a paddle this morning, just me and the wind and birds. I really thought that would be the time I could cry, on my knees as my legs can't hold me. It feels like that, this week. I learned today that the tears won't come until I know they will stop. I'm not ready to grieve this. Not yet. That would make it really real in my heart. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Dumb and Lucky

"She made some comment about being thirsty at the end of school. It was right when it was really hot. Then the wounds that took a while to heal. And the insomnia... And I didn't know she had actually lost weight until they weighed her at the er. Each thing could be explained alone, and none was so glaring. But put it all together... I had an actual conversation with Rich musing that sometimes I thought she might be diabetic, but then put it off until her physical. I'm just so glad she wasn't in dka. I'd feel so guilty then. Now I just feel dumb and lucky."

This was a conversation with my friend C, written last night. This post will not be eloquent, or cogent. I'm too raw for that.

Isabella has diabetes. My daughter is a diabetic. MY DAUGHTER HAS A CHRONIC DISEASE. IT WILL NOT GO AWAY. IT MIGHT EVEN KILL HER. And I had an inkling, a hunch, and I ignored it. I wrote it off. I am a fucking paramedic and I didn't see it. My baby was sick. I did not see it.

I took Isabella to have an infected finger drained Sunday morning. In the evening she ran a temp so we went back to our local ER as per discharge instructions. They did a urine dip just o rule out a UTI. It came back. Our focus then changed. Massive amounts of glucose in her piss. A finger stick. 438. Fuck fuck fuck. There's no other real reason. An IV, labs,. Some good news, no DKA yet, only slightly elevated creatinine, her kidneys were not yet in a bad way. Transfer to boston, drive to MGH in the middle of the night because GOD DAMMIT I will not be that medically unnecessary BLS transfer at 1 am. Pedi ER, insulin, IV fluids, tears creeping up when she isn't' looking. Admission. Specialists. So many doctors. I give our history just like she was my patient, they call me on it. Time to be a mommy.

We met our team. Dr McGill is sweet and kind, reassuring. First round of education so we can go home. I give my girl her insulin. It feels unreal. I haven't slept. Rich went home, Kat came to be a ride home and the rock that she is. I pick up all of our medicine and syringes, we are discharged. Home. 38 hours. No sleep.

"I'll never feel like a normal kid again."
"I can't believe I have to do this for the rest of my life."

Me neither.

She is amazing, my girl. The next day she did her own finger stick in the morning, and by evening had done her own insulin injections. She's taking this and running with it. New normal. We will find it.

Let's talk for a moment about insurance and gratitude. Before insurance a month supply of insulin, both kinds, and the test strips and syringes, all the bells and whistles... TWO THOUSAND FUCKING DOLLARS. After...Two Hundred and Thirty. Gratitude.

HOLY SHIT. Isabella is diabetic. It sounds so strange. She tells everyone she meets, strangers. I ask her if she's trying it out, to see how sounds. She nods.

I blinked. Life changed.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Bearing Witness

There's a list of calls, the ones you hear about and shudder. The ones you hope you don't see but know if you work the road long enough you will. I've slowly checked various ones off, the eyes of those patients making a mosaic on the insides of my eyelids, the few of thousands of patients and families that I remember, with terrible visceral clarity. Those are the calls where as I step on scene, I have a brief moment where I wonder, will this be the one where I spit the bit, then I make my assessment and go to work, despite and because something terrible is in front of me. 

It's said this job makes you hard. I don't want that. I want to stay soft, stay present and human and bear witness to these moments. I want to shepard my patients and their families through these horrible scenes. There is a beauty in the spaces, in those moments where we know the soul before us is leaving the body, in the sound of a mother's heart breaking open. These spaces are just as important as the triumphant save, and they occur so very frequently. It's in these moments our humanity is tested, in the foul and the dark and the desperation. I want to hold sacred these places, in the minds of those left behind, that their loved one was valued and cared for, that there was some glow in their darkness. I want to be the person I would want there for me, or my family. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014


I got divorced today. I am divorced.

When this becomes final in 120 days I will have been separated for 2 years and 51 weeks. I have become so accustomed to the limbo, that this resolution is welcome but so foreign. There is relief, nostalgia, sorrow, joy, grief, unnamed swirling within. Mostly though the lightness. I can move forward now.

This is my year. It begins now.