Category Archives: nursing

600th post! Day 3 – Forgive myself.

The thing I need to forgive myself for, well, I believe I have nearly achieved that. My drug addiction. The way it threw my entire family off kilter. The way it effected their lives, my life. The fact that I haven’t fully recuperated from the post traumatic stress that comes along with being a recovering addict. I did this on my own. No country club rehab facility. I laid on a couch for nine long days, near death, punishing myself for what I had done to myself. I suffered purposely, to make each moment an agonizing one. I wanted to feel every ache, every pain, every cramp. I wanted to choke on my own vomit. I wanted my head to feel like it was going to implode. I wanted to bleed out of my eyes and ears. I prayed for a heart attack to shut me down for good, the pain…both emotional and physical were unbearable.

But I chose to feel it. I chose to go through it without the benefit of the hospital so I would never, ever forget what the pain of addiction did to me, to my family, to my friends, to my career. God was incapable of punishing me more than I was punishing myself.

Even now, I find myself dwelling on the fact that I lost nearly two full years of my life, first to addiction and then, to my subsequent recovery.

I need to grant myself the ability to look in the mirror, 1 year and four sober months later and say “You did good, kid”. I need to be brave enough to walk outside, knowing full well that I disgraced myself as a nurse…but that doesn’t mean I have to give up my life. I sinned. I atoned. That should be enough. Enough for everyone…but most of all, enough for me.

I need to allow myself to start living again. Forgiveness is coming easily.

It is forgetting that’s a bitch.

Long time gone…

I haven’t written in here since May. I said I was going to take June, July and August away from writing. I’ve missed it and while I have had a lot to say, the words were escaping me. It seems my inner voice has been a bit battered as of late. I wanted to write on September 11th, the way I always do. I couldn’t. I couldn’t even bring myself to honor the people lost on that day because I have been utterly swallowed by my depression lately.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had reasons to laugh in the past three months. Lots of reasons. There were a lot of fantastic things that happened over the summer. There were also horrible things, like my trip to Israel. There was pain, rejection, loss of connection and the annual celebration of the day I was torn via C-section from Esther’s pristine uterus.

44 years old. Happy birthday to me. Another day closer to death. The way I figure it, I am probably halfway to dead by now. If the average woman lives until 88 years of age, I am dangling on the halfway point this year. I did a quick assessment to see if I am anywhere near where I wanted to be at this age. The answer was a resounding…perhaps.

I’m a grandmother to two beautiful babies. I am married to the most amazing man to roam the earth since Christ himself…if you believe in that shit. My children are thriving in their lives. My daughter is happily married and a fantastic mother to those to babies I mentioned. My son just started his first year of high school at a brand new school and loves it. I am on decent terms with Esther. My dad is well, not healthy, but well enough for now. So those things are amazing and incredible and perfect.

But where am I? I’m not really any where. I am clean of my drug addiction for well over a year now. I gave up my nursing license and now, in retrospect, it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I realized how miserable nursing made me and how it contributed to my depression. Whoever tells you that nurses get to help and heal patients, well, they obviously never worked in long term care. You don’t get to do any of those things. You get to shove pills into their incoherent slack-jawed mouths and then onto the next. There is no comfort. There is no care. There is no time to sit at a bedside holding a hand. All that bullshit you see on soap operas…it’s a fantasy. A fairytale that surrounds the beautiful myth of the nurse. At least it is in that setting.

So, back to school I went. Off to get my degree in Social Work. I decided I want to go for my Masters in Social Work and Human Services. Why? Because I need to hold that hand. I need to bring that comfort. I need to smile into pained and troubled faces. It does them good. Selfishly, it does me good. I decided that I am going to be an interventionist and work with addicts. Does it scare me? Definitely. I am scared shit to be around those who are using actively again…but now that I have been there and by the blessing of my Higher Power, found my way back…I feel this is the path I am destined to walk.

I love being in school because it is something I am good at. I am an “A” student, a perfect 4.0 GPA. The professors love me, they always embrace the returning adult students more than the new, fresh out of high school kids. They know we care a lot more and are a bit more hard pressed for time. There is no room for us to fail. We don’t have the opportunity to fail because we don’t have the time. The money. The lack of desire. Our grown up hearts are on fire to do something, anything relevant with the time we have left, however much that might be.

The way I figure it, I will walk out with my degree in 2 more years from now. 46 years old. Still enough time to begin a life, still enough time to put in about 30 years worth of employment.

I ain’t quite dead yet.

But in the interim, I am suffering. I have stopped taking all my psych meds. I just don’t want anything to do with them any more. And, it has its good moments and bad ones. I don’t feel fucked in the head any more. I have my memory back. My sense of humor has returned and it is whip cracking sharp the way it used to be. On the flip side, I cry at the drop of a hat. I fall into depressions very easily. And, my old friend insomnia has returned to fight me nightly. And while the bottles of Cymbalta, Lamictal, Buspar, Xanax, Geodon, Ativan, Klonopin and Trazodone all look tempting…I mainly find myself having staring contests with them. They dare me to open them and to indulge. And the temptation is always there. But, I don’t. I could. Nothing wrong with taking one now and again when needed, but I feel like one will be death of me. Just one pill will open up a can of worms for me. I can’t revisit the days of bottle dependency.

I keep them all over the house. Some on my desk. A few in my purse. More on my bedroom dresser. They stare at me and say, c’mon CP, let us take the edge off. And me, I scoff and say “no, let me empower myself, dammit”. “But you have a disease,” they retort. “You need us.” And that may very well be, but I want to try to go this alone. I want to feel like myself at every possible moment I can, however fleeting it might be. For those few hours, life is so perfect.

Then, the depression comes back, wraps me up in its itchy wool blanket and says, “No, no Dear. You don’t get to make the decisions around here. We do. Me…me and all your pills. Come down the rabbit hole, CP. It’s not that long of a drop.”

But it is. I’ve taken the trip before. For the five minutes I jump into the deep end, it requires a lot of swimming to get out of the murky waters again and I simply don’t have the energy to do it over and over again.

I’ll probably be writing more frequently now, but not daily. Just when I need to…like in the beginning. And tonight, I needed this to be here, like an old friend with open arms letting me fall into them and just cry. Let it all out, rubbing my hair til I fall mercifully asleep.

I need this.

"Hello, Ex-Nurse!"

The first time I heard these words, I almost shook with fright.

What am I to be if not a nurse? Where do I go from here?

I made a decision during my 12 weeks of intensive outpatient therapy. I opted not to reinstate my nursing license. After a lot of soul searching and mulling the process over, I decided that nursing was no longer going to be a part of my future.

When I received my contract from the nursing board, they made some extraordinary demands of me; demands that I know I would never be able to comply with while attempting to get out into the workforce again. I thought long and hard about this decision and I decided that it would be in my best interest to let it go. The past 12 weeks in IOP taught me a lot about myself and the things I want to do with my future.

That’s when I came to realize that nursing was not a part of what I wanted to do with my life.

I called my counselor and told him this. He said he wasn’t really surprised, as this wasn’t the first time he heard me allude to this.

“It’s not in my heart any longer,” I told him.

And you know what? That’s okay. A long time ago, I had a first love. That first love was writing. It always has been. It always will be. While nursing was a challenge, it never fulfilled me the way my writing did. I have been published a number of times. When I walked away from that to pursue a career in nursing, I felt like I put a part of my soul away.

I am 43 years old. It is getting late in life not to pursue dreams.

With that said, I am going back to my dreams of writing for a newspaper. I have written editorials for magazines before. I have a vast collection of work that I have done over the years, work that I am very proud of. When I went to college a million years ago, my major was journalism.

With the support of my husband, I am going to pursue this dream of mine.

I realize that newspapers are a dying breed, so more than likely, it will mean writing for online news journals, but I am ready to take on this challenge. In the interim, I will probably work as a medical assistant in a doctors office, as I will no longer be able to represent myself as a nurse. But, having nights and weekends off will allow me to pursue this dream of mine. The flexibility will allow me to write creatively once more.

I am 97 days sober and I have never seen anything more clearly in my entire life. I am ready for this next stage, this next step. Careers are one thing, passions are quite another. I am ready to forgo my career and let my passion run rampant once again. It will be a dream come true to parlay my passion into a new career.

I don’t know if it is smart to start my life over at this juncture, but I can’t allow myself to look back and know I never tried.

One door closes. Another opens.

I am ready to step through this new door. It’s time.

Down to the wire…

At this moment, I am 72 days, 13 hours and 53 minutes sober.

Had I not had that unfortunate slip up (read:relapse) back in August, it would have been 174 days, 13 hours and 53 minutes.

Oh well. Can’t look backwards. Must keep forging ahead.

This is week 11 of my 12 week intensive outpatient program. I remember at week one that I scarcely knew how I would get through it. I walked in there angry at having to be there. I felt like I was being punished heavily. And, in some aspects, I have a right to feel that way. But, I Have since let that go. I have gained a lot from these classes.

So much so, that I think I will continue attending a few of them even after graduation. I doubt I will go five days a week like I am doing right now, but once or twice a week? Definately. It’s keeping me on the straight and narrow.

Finishing up next week now leads me to a whole new area to ponder. What’s on the horizon next? The Nursing Board mandates that I finish this program successfully. By next week, I will have accomplished that. After this, they send you out a contract that will state how long I must continue to be monitored. Sometimes it’s a year. Sometimes, three. I’ve also heard they go as long as five. I will get my license back, but there will probably be some restrictions like the inability to dispense narcotics for a set period of time. This is going to make finding a job very difficult.

You also have to disclose to your prospective employer that you are being monitored by the program. I don’t know too many places that will want to take on a nurse in recovery. There will be mandatory random drug tests at 3-5 tests a month. They also limit where you can and cannot work. No home health. No night shifts. No surgery centers, which is upsetting to me since surgery is my specialty.

A whole new set of challenges ahead of me. But, I can get through them.

I’m a little bit stronger than I once thought.

Things you didn’t know about me…

and probably don’t give a shit about. But, I want to let some stuff out, and…it is my blog, so here goes:

– I won a spelling bee when I was 11 years old. I beat out all the “smart kids” because I could spell the word “onomatopoeia”. I even knew what it meant. That was the crowning achievment of 5th grade for me.

– I lost my virginity when I was 12 years old. I don’t know why I did it. I was just interested. It wasn’t a good experience at all. He was older than me and I thought I was in love with him. All these years later, I still have a crush on the memory, despite the situation not being ideal.

– I fell in love at 14 years old and haven’t found that kind of love in my life since…until I met the hotband in 1999.

– I was raped outside of a nightclub that I worked at when I was 19 years old. Two men held me down and the other sodomized me with a beer bottle. He cut me from the anus to the vaginal opening. I needed 27 stitches to close the wound. I went back to work the next night. Never felt like a victim about it. Still don’t.

– I had my first baby at 20 years old with a guy that I was casually dating. He didn’t want me to keep the baby. I got rid of HIM instead. That baby is now 23 years old, the light of my life and she’s on her second child. I never regretted my decision.

– My father left us when I was seven years old. I practically packed his bags for him. I hated him. I was thrilled when he left because I knew that my family would be better off without him. I spent the rest of my life looking for a “daddy” figure in every man that walked in or out of my life.

– I married my first husband because he accepted the fact that I was a single mom. And, he was really good looking. There really wasn’t much more to it.

– I was arrested four times in my life. Two were for assault and battery. One was for welfare fraud. The last time was over a clerical error. I am a convicted felon and I have no problem with letting people know that.

– My children know that I stabbed my ex-boyfriend in self-defense. I don’t believe in hiding things from them. They know their mother is a little fucked in the head. I’m okay with that too.

– I dislike my mother. I love her, because she is my mother, but if we weren’t related, I wouldn’t choose to be her friend.

– People think I am a real bitch. I don’t even have to say a word. It’s just something that my face conveys. I do very little to change anyones perception of me. However, when you get to know me, I am actually very warm and loving. I don’t give that side of me to a lot of people.

– I don’t think I want to be a nurse anymore. I believe the passion has disappeared from my life when it comes to taking care of others.

– I watched a woman fall from 15 stories when I was 9 years old. She was raped and thrown off the roof of the building I lived in back in Queens, NY. The image of her head hitting the ground and the sound it made has stayed with me all these years. If I think about it long enough, I will cry. I never found out her name. I wish I knew her name.

– A babysitter of mine was murdered by an infamous serial killer back in the 1970’s. It stole a big chunk of my innocence and made me feel afraid for a long time.

– I am hysterically afraid of roaches. I know they can’t do anything to me, but they absolutely terrify me to the point where I cry. I do have a reason for this. I think I will make a post about it at another time.

– I have been in love with more than one person at one time. Sometimes up to three people at one time. No one person has ever fulfilled me completely. I feel empty inside about this most of the time.

– I cry in the shower sometimes for no reason.

– I am a cancer survivor. 8 years in remission.

– I have a secret that I will never share with anyone, even my husband.

– I had a two year relationship with a woman. It was probably the most spiritual thing I ever engaged in. She really understood me. I was never able to commit to her because I enjoyed the company of men too much. I hurt her terribly. I chalk it up to confusion…and college.

– I know certain family members have “discovered” my blog and think that I do not know they are reading it. I prefer to act like I am oblivious to that so it doesn’t interfere with my ability to write here openly and honestly. Just want them to know that I am aware…and really don’t give a shit.

– Most of the time, even when I am in a crowded room, I feel extremely alone.

– I was a self-mutilator for a long time. I never regretted doing it. I actually enjoyed the pain.

– I have a very deep love and admiration for my husband. I don’t think he realizes how much I admire him. Sometimes, I wish I could be more like him. It makes me jealous sometimes.

– I am not a very good listener. I am usually preoccupied with my own thoughts. I sometimes feign great interest in what someone is saying, while in my mind, I am not listening to them at all.

– I give great hugs.

– I yearn to break free sometimes. Just pack my bags and run off somewhere to be alone. I love my husband, my children and my grandchild…but sometimes, I just want to go explore places on my own. The perfect gift for me would be a weekend away, alone. I am still waiting for someone to be selfless enough to give that to me.

– I have no respect for authority but try desperately to instill the opposite in my children.

– The best sex I ever had in my life was with the person who battered me and beat me within an inch of my life. It was intense, frightening and overwhelming. I sometimes think there is something desperately wrong with me for feeling that way.

– I have spent 40 years of my life trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. I still have no clue…and time is running out.

– I love being bipolar. I feel it makes me more interesting. I don’t like taking the pills that I take to make the symptoms subside. I feel they deaden the real me.

– I don’t think I would know “normal” if I tripped over it.

– On more than one occassion, my blog has saved my life.