Standing Tall

The musings of a twenty something girl from the Midwest.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

A Post Not for the Weak of Stomach

As a nurse I see gross stuff. It comes with the job. I usually do ok at not being too grossed out. Even when I sat in the operating room looking at the surgeon operating on a man’s heart my stomach didn’t turn.

I’ve only gotten sick twice before last night. The first time was watching my buddy nurse doing trache care on a woman who had just had oral surgery to remove cancer from her jaw. As I watch the nurse clean the trache my world began to spin. I looked down at my hand holding a syringe; it seemed to be the only thing not moving in the room. Jamie Mills was in the room with me and asked me if I was going to be ok. “No” I managed to get out before I almost fell on the floor. The nurse told me to go sit in the hallway with my head between my knees.

The time after that I was watching the ostomy nurse fit a sack to a piece of intestine sticking out my patient’s stomach.

Last night was the first time that I didn’t feel dizzy; I just felt the bile rising in my throat. My patient had one large diabetic ulcer on the heels of each of his feet. I went into to change the bandage on them. I noticed a deep part on one wound that looked like it was pack full of gauze. I pulled at it, it didn’t come out. I got tweezers and pulled, it didn’t come out. I had another nurse come in and try to get the pack out. She didn’t have any luck either. After watching her try to pull the pack with a clamp I thought I was going to be sick. I left the room and moved for the bathroom where I dry heaved into the toilet a few times.

In the morning I told the nurse who had dressed the wounds the previous day that I couldn’t get the packing out. She looked at my puzzled. “I didn’t put any pack in the wounds” she said.

As it turns out I had been pulling on his tendon.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Tis the Season to Go to Target

As I have mentioned before I drove Steve to the airport and consequently have his car. For the most part it has sat on the street behind my house slowly becoming more and more covered in bird poop, but last night Adrianne and I decided it was time to take the car out. Our destination was Target.

We don’t get to go to a large store like that very often due to the fact that neither of us have a car. Being from Minnesota, the birthplace of Target, we were pretty pumped to visit a store that reminded us of our homeland.

We piled into Steve’s car with me behind the wheel and took off. Finding Target was pretty easy and once we were there it was on. We spent the first twenty minutes in the store browsing the beauty section transfixed by all our options. “Which mouth wash should I get? What type of lotion will help my dry hands?” and so on.

We moved on to home furniture and stared at the lamps trying to picture each one of them in our living room. In the end we spent the most time in the Christmas section. Every store has it this time of year, five or six fake trees in the middle of the store with all colors of lights and ornaments on them.

Christmas lights, decorations for the tree, tinsel garlands, a tree stand, stockings with the letters “A” and “M” respectively stitched on the top, and a Bing Crosby CD we got them all. We scoured the aisles finding exactly what we needed to deck our halls.

We arrived at the checkout lane a half hour after store closed and weary. We pushed our purchases out to the car in our cart that looked like it was about to break under the weight and headed home. We only got lost once.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

I Don’t Have to Explain My Art to You

I was walking home from the store yesterday looking at the ground. It was cold and the sun was shining in my eye so the ground seemed like the best place to look. I walked past the bus stop near my house and spied something shiny. On the ground were three quarters two nickels and a dime.

Sweet! I thought, a free load of laundry. I looked around and didn’t see anyone so I bent down to claim my cash. As I tried to wrap my mitten around the change I noticed that I was unable to lift the coins from the ground. They were glued to the cement.

I stood up quickly and looked around to see if anyone was watching me. The coast was still clear. So I swiftly walked away from the mystery money wondering why they were glued down.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


“Hey I’m going home to Ohio for thanksgiving on Tuesday, can you give me a ride?”

I think Steve could see the terror behind my eyes right after he asked that question. It’s not that I don’t like driving, it’s just I haven’t really driven in Boston before and I haven’t driven since I moved here 4 months ago. Steve also has a manual car which only adds to my anxiety. Change lanes, shift, and watch for my exit? Not only do I have to worry about my driving ability but Boston has some of the craziest drivers ever and even worse unmarked streets. It’s hard to know where you are when every cross street is unmarked and the street you are driving on doesn’t seem to exist on any map.

We made a dry run to the airport on Sunday. I learned that you have to pay a $3 toll to come back to the city from the airport. You also have to drive through the Big Dig. It went well except that we took the wrong exit coming home. The way I practiced coming home was not the most direct way and not worth the detour.

This morning Steve looked me in the eye and asked “Are you ready to drive me to the airport?”

“Yes” I responded in my best trying to be brave voice. The drive there I was so nervous I started to shake. I dropped him off at the gate and gave him a good bye kiss.

“Don’t cry” he instructed, “you might miss your exit. Call me when you get home.” I repeated the directions home to him, waved, and drove away.

I focused on the directions. I kept repeating them to myself on the drive, shift down, shift up, pay toll, go through the tunnels, across the bridge, exit. As I pulled into the parking spot I got giddy. I made it home.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Traditional Christmas Pickles

I try to resist until after Thanksgiving but this year I can’t. I’ve been Christmas shopping, or at least looking at Christmas items.

Ornaments of Snoopy a wearing Santa hat, small children on sleds, and other holiday classics are as usual lining the store walls. But this year I have also noticed a new addition to holiday ornament family. A pickle. Not at just one store either, but the holiday pickle has appeared at many stores. Green and shiny it sits next to the reindeer and Santa heads.

When did pickles become Chirstmasy? I eat pickles all year round. It doesn’t seem like anything that people consume just in the month of December. I’m not sure I can ever accept the Christmas Pickle.

Sunday, November 20, 2005


I woke up on Tuesday in the afternoon and thought “I’m not going to see the sun for a week” and for the most part I haven’t. I’ve been working the night shift this week and have had a pretty difficult time adjusting to being vitamin D deficient.

I usually don’t have a problem switching between working days and nights but I’ve felt overly sleepy at work and have had problems staying asleep during the day. I wake up during the day after only sleeping a few hours and lay in bed staring into the darkness that I have created in my room to emulate night.

It’s not like I don’t like working nights. It’s a great shift, everyone is asleep things are not too busy. It’s just hard not to see the sun for days on end.

Monday, November 14, 2005


This weekend I went to Pittsburg with Steve for his friend’s wedding, I also got a chance to meet his family.

Here’s Steve ready to take on a 10 hr. car trip

We arrived in Pittsburg around 1 am and checked into our hotel ready for sleep. Unfortunately construction started on the room under us around 7:30 am the next morning. We had some continental breakfast and tried to find a wedding present at the local Bed Bath and Beyond then spent the rest of the day walking around the mall near our hotel.

That night we went to the wedding and I met Steve’s mom and dad.

The happy couple exchanging vows.

We spent the rest of the weekend at Steve’s sister’s house. She had the cutest cat named Lionel who liked to be held and would jump up onto your shoulder so he could travel around the house with you. Lionel woke us up early on Sunday morning. Even though I am allergic to cats I couldn’t resist holding him.

Look how cute he is!

On our way back to Boston we saw this.

We made it back to our homeland with a pitstop in Albany to visit my Aunt and Uncle.

As far as relationship landmarks go this weekend wasn’t so bad.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

These Boots Are Made For Walking?

As female in twenty-first century I, like most girls, own a lot of shoes. Strapy sandals, funky platforms, heels all were stored in my closet; until I moved to Boston and moved into a house with small closets. My shoes lived in two boxes that they had been packed in when I left Rochester for the last three months.

Last weekend I went through my closet to find stuff that needed to go to the Goodwill. I didn’t stop at my closet. I started to naturally select out some of my shoes based on my ability to walk long distances in them.

Now that I live in a town where to get anywhere I have to walk 10 min. to get anywhere I’ve taken to wearing sneakers and clog everywhere. I tried to wear my pointy shoes to a bar that was only four blocks away but I barley made it out the door before I made Adrianne wait for me to change shoes.

Now my shoes fit into the closet. The rest have moved on to shoe heaven.

Saturday, November 05, 2005


PBS is a lot like a poor man’s cable. Discovery channel, travel channel, and TLC all roll into one. That’s why the last two nights I’ve found myself glued to the TV watching “RX For Survival.”

The stories on this show are great. Curing night blindness with 2 drops of Vitamin A every six month? Done. Eradicating Small Pox? Done. Vaccinate every child under the age of 5 in New Deli against Polio? Done.

I don’t want to sound too altruistic but I find this show extremely inspiring. These doctors, nurses, and every day people take it upon themselves to better the lives of the people around the world. The creativity in the medical field seems to be the right approach. How do you deliver vitamin A to children in a rural Nepalese town? Have a parade with music and as the children come out drop the vitamin A into their mouth. The doctors give out polio vaccines in the train stations in New Deli and get on the train running from child to child dropping the vaccine into their mouth before the train pulls out of the station. In an act as simple as getting on a train they have saved a person from living a life of horrible disability.

The show also focused on American problems as well. Things like upscale parents not wanting their children vaccinated because of the negative effect it might have in the long run. I find this to stupid and irresponsible. By not vaccinating their child they are putting the country at risk. The more people a virus infects the more likely it will be to mutate and become more deadly.

I can tell you right now, no one wants polio to make a come back.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


My Halloween was a bit lack luster, to read about it go to Adrianne’s blog, however the weekend leading up to the night of mischief was a great time.

On Friday night Steve and I spent an hour at the costume shop trying to find something scary for him to wear. After that it was time to suite up and go to a party hosted by Steve’s roommate. I went as Elle Driver from Kill Bill (See Right). While I found myself a dead ringer most people thought I was an executive pirate. The night ended with me passing out as soon as we got home.

The next night I went to see Grownup Noise at MIT. The band was dressed up as nerds and put on a great performance. Afterwards we went out for nachos and cheesy fries. Maybe it was seeing Super Man strut across Mass Ave. or seeing a guy from Asia in a white box as “Chinese food” but I was sure in the mood for a rocking Halloween.

Even if Monday night was a let down Halloween was a great time this year.