I smelled my own death this week.  I cannot remember what I was doing but I remember it happening.  Just suddenly a subtle whiff of that old person smell…soft, slightly dusty.  The smell of my grandparents in years gone by, the smell of my parents in more recent years and now, terrifyingly, the smell of myself.
Up until that whiff the dis-ease I have felt, the feeling of lack, of all being not quite right, had been faint and niggling, like  something not quite remmbered.  Once I smelled my death it has become a panic, a terror of lives unlived, loves unloved and futures never materialized.
I grow old, I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.
This life I have lived has been glorious with heartbreak and desperation, terror and rage, happiness and exhilaration and most recently joy and contentment…..and yet, suddenly or so it seems, the panic and sense of missing something important has set in.  I feel like I have misplaced my passport while in a strange and forgien country…or how I would feel to wake and realize I don’t know my own name.
NOthing to point to, no event to say, "there, THAT was the moment of my mortality".  My 50th birthday passed without anything resembling fear or a realization of oldagedness.  If anything I felt more alive, that 50 was just something people did.  Holly’s death?  Perhaps, a tragic tale to be sure, but hospital deaths have been a part of my life for over 30 years and while they are sad and tragic and even sometimes merciful, they have done nothing so much as make me appreciate what I have.   Ally’s impending graduation?  That my youngest will soon to be an adult could perhaps instill some melencoly but since she still is unable to phone and make a haircut appointment I don’t really feel her adulthood looming too near.
Or is it this day?    The Ides, the day I will eternally remind myself of each year, that all of us, even me can step out and create and destroy beyond our wildest dreams.  To create a nightmare and change our lives.  dark Goddess……….
and yet………..
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker.
More and more I find a sense of fraud lingering in my vincinity.  I have forgotten more than I ever now know and all around me rush the young heady with their competence and mastery of tasks of living and working in the technological maze of life in the 21 century.  How did I get so old?
And in the evenings as I wrap myself in the warmth of the fireplace will I wonder if it would have been better to squeeze the universe into a ball?

Designated days off

A useful category that we often use only as a sign on the calender to identify which days are marked for overtime pay.  Yet days off is so essential, so healing, so necessary to returning to work in a state that makes you useful.
Perhaps it is only me that feels exhausted and drained by this job.  I watch the others and I am transfixed by how much better they are at it.  Their passiona nd committment to being all that they should be does not inspire me to be more, only shows me that I lack.
Last shift I sat perched on my chair in the few moments between alarms and fluid boluses and chest tube check and felt a remenent of the past me when I was alert and invigourated by the unstable, the critically ill child.  I was on watch, my mind alive and considering the minute changes and what they portended.  I could almost touch that again, but the distance was too far.
Instead I could feel the adrenalin axiety dragging my soul through it’s paces.  A sense of impending doom for the night reminded me that what I had said years ago about this job….hours of stark boredom interspersed with sheer terror.  The small new baby soft that only newborns can have gradually grew over the 12 hours into a less endearing infant who required my anxious dance at his bedside.  Where was my usual calm?  Where was my typical aura of serentity and competence?  Have I been away from the bedside that long?
A sense of dissatisfaction permeates each shift it seems.  I want something different, I long for and daydream about not working and look towards my days off like a salvation.  First day to sleep then second day to feel human again and do household tasks.  Washing the kitchen floor becomes a ritual that sooths and regenerates.  Standing in the hallway looking ionto the kitchen and appreciating the simple cleaness and homey feel of tea cups and school books on the table.  I wander through my home enjoying the silence unburdened by tv or radio or alarms ringing.  I just want to sit and soak in the sense of serenity.  Too soon I am within sight of the next shift and I start my system’s symptom check to determin if there is any possibility of illness.  Unfortunately all I can find is chapped lips….can I work this into a sick call?

Leave that dog alone

In the course of our career’s as mothers we issue many dire warnings.  "wear a hat and mits or you’ll freeze to death!"
"Don’t run across the raod or you will get hit and die"
"Don’t ride in the back of the truck or you will fall out and get a head injury"
" Don’t jump on a tramoline or you will break your neck"
"Don’t bother that dog!"
Or at least my pass through motherhood has been filled with these and other cautions.  I suppose some people don’t warn or caution – at least the evidence says they may not, considering the multitude of injuries and traumas that befall children.
Like the ‘ don’t bother that dog!’.  Now being warned the best thing to possible do would be for the adult to remove the child from the area of influence of the dog.  That however might be seen as an inconvienience and so, we see a 4 year old trying to ride a golden retriever that is not his with his arms clasped tightly around the dog’s neck.
Now if you were a dog, what would you do?
That’s right, you’d rip his throat out. 
The child has been repaired – a tracheostomy to breath and sutures to close the gaping wounds.  The crushed trachea will be fixed later.  The dog is in quarintene as the owner of the animal had elected to not vacinate and so now, doggie must reside in isolation for 2 weeks after which he will be executed for the crime of being an animal.
Who is responsible?
Or perhaps the better question is, does it matter? 
There are no accidents they say, only preventable injuries