Monday, January 21, 2013

Medical mission

January 23, 2012

Yesterday was our second day of surgery. The kids are adorable, the parents grateful and the adults we operate on have sometimes waited years for their surgery. There is virtually no complaining, none that we can understand anyway,and the teamwork on these trips is amazing. Everyone working together for a common goal. Sharing supplies, food and advice. The PACU is usually the place where people congregate after they are done with their cases and sometimes when they are having a "moment." The young people on the trip ( residents, medical students and younger nurses) are usually cared for by those of us who are more experienced. Many times the relationships last after the mission is over. ( Sometimes you even meet the person you will leave your wife for) So much for dedication to your patients.

But seriously, you learn a lot on these trips. Not just how to cheat on your wife, but how basic emotions are common to every culture. The love of a parent for their children, the desire to make a better life for them and their joy when they see them after surgery is universal in any society. It makes you realize just how alike we all really are, no matter your race, religion or color.

And no matter how I kid about what happened to me personally these trips are so satisfying it is more than worth giving up your vacation and working long hours. As I've said before and I think I can speak for everyone we get a lot more than we give.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

First Day

We are finally here after two days of traveling. Thai people are so warm and hospitable. There was a welcoming committee waiting for us at the hotel with flowers and music for the team. And they love to feed us. Usually we lose weight on these missions but I doubt we will this time. When we got to our rooms we found a welcome packet and name tags. Today we set up our rooms and screened patients. Will probably be too busy to write much but I will try to post pictures on Facebook.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


January 17, 2012

Dedicated to David Graboff and Anita Pedulla
Thank-you for helping me become the person I am today.

                                                    "Fighter"  by Christina Aguilera

After all that you put me through,
You think I'd despise you,
But in the end I wanna thank you,
'Cause you've made me that much stronger

Well I thought I knew you, thinkin' that you were true
Guess I, I couldn't trust called your bluff time is up
'Cause I've had enough
You were there by my side, always down for the ride
But your joy ride just came down in flames 'cause your greed sold me out in shame

After all of the stealing and cheating you probably think that I hold resentment for you
But uh uh, oh no, you're wrong
'Cause if it wasn't for all that you tried to do, I wouldn't know
Just how capable I am to pull through
So I wanna say thank you
'Cause it

Makes me that much stronger
Makes me work a little bit harder
It makes me that much wiser
So thanks for making me a fighter
Made me learn a little bit faster
Made my skin a little bit thicker
Makes me that much smarter
So thanks for making me a fighter

Never saw it coming, all of your backstabbing
Just so you could cash in on a good thing before I'd realize your game
I heard you're going round playing the victim now
But don't even begin feeling I'm the one to blame
'Cause you dug your own grave
After all of the fights and the lies 'cause you're wanting to haunt me
But that won't work anymore, no more,
It's over
'Cause if it wasn't for all of your torture
I wouldn't know how to be this way now and never back down
So I wanna say thank you
'Cause it


How could this man I thought I knew
Turn out to be unjust so cruel
Could only see the good in you
Pretend not to see the truth
You tried to hide your lies, disguise yourself
Through living in denial
But in the end you'll see

I am a fighter and I
I ain't gonna stop
There is no turning back
I've had enough


You thought I would forget
But I remembered
'Cause I remembered
I remembered
You thought I would forget
I remembered
'Cause I remembered
I remembered


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Anderson Cooper

January 15, 2012

Last night Anderson Cooper's show was about the Newtown tragedy and gun control. First of all let me say that the parents who spoke were simply amazing. Composed and eloquent they talked about their children without bitterness at the situation. I admire them.

I am not religious or political. I like to think I live by the Golden Rule. Treat others as you would like to be treated. Use common sense and your conscience. Although I have lived long enough to learn that some people do not have a conscience. (Two come to mind right off the bat) Assault rifles do not belong in anyones home no later what side of the gun issue you belong. Assault rifles are for assaults.

Don't ask "What would Jesus do?" Ask "What SHOULD I do?" All actions have consequences and rationalizing bad behavior and blaming it on religion or other people in your life is just a cop out. If everyone would start to take responsibility for their actions the world would be a better place.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Trip Anxiety

January 14, 2012

This past week has been very hectic. I have been trying to prepare for my trip to Thailand. Getting our supplies together for the PACU, making sure we have enough medications etc, and packing my own clothes. Also paying the bills before I go, making sure my sister is cared for, getting her meds and leaving emergency numbers. Leaving instructions for the kids and generalized worrying about EVERYTHING!

I usually get trip anxiety before I go away. I start to imagine all sorts of things that could go wrong. Plane, illness, bad weather here, tsunamis there!!! But I've been too busy to worry about that this time. I had to work all weekend. I was initially concerned I wouldn't have time to get my last minute things done but it actually worked out OK. I don't have TIME to worry about anything. Whatever isn't done just won't get done until I get back, or someone else will have to do it. All I can think of is 18 hours on the plane and no one will be able to get to me and I won't be able to obsessively check on things!!! No phone calls, texts or emails. Heaven.

I'm planning to bring my Ipad and will make an attempt at posting blogs. Mainly I will be talking about the kids and trying to post their pictures. Although I notice I don't get as many readers if I don't talk about sex. But I hope you will still read about the incredibly fulfilling experience I will have caring for children who otherwise wouldn't receive this life changing surgery.

Friday, January 11, 2013

As Long As You Love Me

January 11, 2012

Justin Bieber. Adorable, isn't he? Such a little boy and already a millionaire. Is he talented? I suppose so. I enjoy some of his music but can't get past his age. How old is he anyway?

But I did like his song, "As Long As You Love Me." How sweet and romantic. But then I really thought about the lyrics. "We can be starving, we can be homeless, we can broke." Not so much.

Maybe when I was seventeen. Maybe when I was too headstrong to listen to my mother's advice about love and relationships. About how someone's family and upbringing can affect their outlook on all their other connections. About how easy it would be to walk away from your family.

But not now. I can't be starving, homeless OR broke. For anyone. Even you George. (Although I suspect you could afford me!) I can't ever "give up everything" for anyone. Because everything means too much to me now. The people who remain in my life are too precious to leave behind for anyone.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Rape in India

January 10, 2012

Ah, India. A place I have always wanted to visit. The exotic colors and smells. The Taj Mahal. The Indian food that I love. The refined and calming atmosphere I have come to know from the people I have met here in the U.S.

How disturbing to read of the way women are actually treated in India today. The brutal rape and death of a young women in India recently is unbelievable. From what I have been reading women in India cannot go out after dark unaccompanied ( or in this case even the presence of a male companion was not a deterrent)  for fear of assault. Not the idea of the India I had conjured up in my head. Again, I am astounded at how naive I really am.

The only thing that is different about this rape is that people are responding. The men have been caught but if they will be brought to justice is still in question. People are protesting in the street. Apparently women are not thought of in high regard in India. Or for that matter in many countries. It can still be argued that even in the U.S. we are "second class citizens." Why? Women worldwide need to stand up for themselves and REAL men need to support them. Women should not be afraid to leave there homes after dark for any reason. Men who defile them should be brought to justice. But more importantly men should be taught to respect women as equals. Not as possessions, sexual conquests or inferiors. We are your mothers, sisters and wives.

So as a single woman I will put off traveling to India. I just don't feel safe.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


January 9, 2012

I have all this new technology now and am slowly getting used to maintaining it. I figured out how to hook up my new phone to the bluetooth even if it did involve a visit to the Subaru dealership and one to the Verizon store. I also had to download an upgrade from my computer to the phone. When I told the kid at Verizon I wasn't sure I could do that he simply looked up at me and deadpanned ,"Yes, you can." And I did. And the phone works every time I get in the car!!!!

But alas, I'm not as savvy as I would like to believe. Josh and Jocelyn were here to partake of the Omaha steaks and wine I received for Christmas from my very generous friend. Josh commented that my computer was slow. Hilary chimed in that I left too many tabs open, etc... Josh said he would install something new. Crone, or so I thought he said. "Please don't mess with my computer. I know where everything is," I pleaded. Jocelyn said, "When you reach a certain age you need Crone." Did I hear her correctly? I know she is comfortable with me but comfortable enough to call me a crone? Do I look THAT old? I would have to seriously rethink my plastic surgery timeline.

But it's not crone, its Chrome. Google Chrome, whatever that is. And all my stuff is still there just like before. As Josh has said many times, "Mom, you really have no idea how the internet works, do you?" To which I reply, "No, that's why I have you!"

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Hot Water

January 8, 2012

Yesterday I ran out of hot water. Not because I was running all the appliances and showering at the same time. But Hilary and I should be able to shower at the same time, right? I went downstairs with my LED flashlight to investigate. Uh oh, water on the floor near the hot water heater. I called Gino, my plumber. He was coming that afternoon to fix my bathroom toilet. He talked me through shutting off the valve on the heater and waited while I measured it and gave him the serial numbers. Then he ordered a new hot water heater and had it delivered in the afternoon.

I met Gino when he came to hook up the water line for my beautiful refrigerator. The one I still say good night to when I go to bed. Gino was another perk from that purchase. Anyway when he got here and went downstairs he said,"Is that all the water that came out?" Is there a requirement? I guess there is. He didn't think anything was wrong with the heater. After checking things out, flushing the line and fixing my toilet he went back down and declared the heater was fine. It may have just "run over." Then he started saying things about plumbing and upkeep I didn't understand. All I knew was that I had hot water again.

But now we had to get the heater up the stairs. I talked the strong young man who brought it to take it downstairs. Gino said he would return another day with help. "I can help you." After all I got the desk up the stairs with Josh and I am working on my upper body strength at the gym!! Well, we did bring it up one step at a time. I apologized for maybe over reacting but he was very gracious. Only charging me for the toilet and not the aggravation of the heater. And now I can do the laundry!!!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Sweet Lucy

January 7, 2012

I was in Amity Wine last week restocking my liquor cabinet and I came across a bourbon called Sweet Lucy. How apropos I thought. A word that would never be used to describe me no matter how hard I try! After I started a fire that evening I poured myself some. YUCK!!! I failed to read the entire label which described it as a bourbon based liqueur. I hate sweet drinks. But not one to waste things I drank it anyway.

I decided to give it a second chance. The next time I tried it was just as bad. I wasn't about to pour it down the sink so I thought about what I could add to it to cut the sweetness. I was never the drink maker when I was married. It was always a big production. I only use one other ingredient beside the actual liquor and that's ice. I decided to try a lemon wedge squeezed in the glass. Yeah!!! That did the trick! It provided just the tartness I needed. Maybe I SHOULD have consulted with my ex. He seems to be an expert when it comes to tarts. Sorry, couldn't resist.

So again, I vow to read all labels completely when I shop. Something I am very bad at doing as I am usually rushing from one place to the next. Not sure I will ever buy Sweet Lucy again but I WILL finish this bottle. Another learning experience.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Verizon and Me

January 4, 2012

Yesterday I went to the Verizon store to grovel for a new phone. My iPhone was not a global model and I was worried about traveling so far away without my own phone. I thought my upgrade was due in February and I was going to make my best pitch for them to give me the upgrade early. After all I was going on a medical mission, got divorced this year ( and as Mickel very kindly reminded me I only have about 170 days left for that excuse), I needed to check on my sister and stay in touch with my kids. I was even willing to shed a few tears if necessary.

But I didn't need any of that. It seems one number was due for an upgrade this month. I am now the proud owner of the iPhone 5!!! Although the new connection is different and I can't fit it on my speakers or figure out how to connect to my bluetooth I will be able to text and call from Thailand. I felt a huge relief. I actually leaned over the counter and said,"I love you, Dave!" ( Haven't said that in a long time!) Then he ruined the mood by asking all sorts of questions I couldn't answer. "When was the last time you upgraded the software?" "Do you use iCloud?" "Did you back up your apps?" I finally said ,"I have no idea what you're talking about." He patiently tried to explain but I only smiled and thought, "Josh will help me when I get home." Saying goodbye to my old phone was bittersweet. It had gotten me through a very tough year.

Now I have Siri although I'm not sure how I feel about her. But I am soooo happy to have a phone I can use on my trip. Isn't it great, kids? Even when I am half way around the world I'll be able to keep tabs on you!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Winter Blues

January 3, 2012

Now that the holidays are over I really don't want to look at the snow anymore. Snow is only pretty for a day or so and only if I don't have to worry about anyone driving in it. Also I don't want to look at any more Christmas decorations. As soon as the snow melts I'll be unplugging the outdoor lights. Every other vestige of Christmas is gone.

And it is soooo cold this week. I hate the cold. Every year at this time I wonder why I live in New England. But the thought of living down south never appealed to me and California is too far away. So I guess I'll have to put up with hibernation for a few more years. Thankfully I will be in Thailand for a few weeks to get me through the winter months. A few days of R&R at the Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok after the mission should get me through February and March!

Ahhh. February and March. Especially March. So depressing! Still cold, damp and dreary. And some people STILL have their decorations up. Why? Take them down. It's so irritating to see Christmas lights and santas still glowing in March.

So in case it's not obvious I am really looking forward to spring. I can't wait to see everything in bloom. Especially the new daffodils I planted this fall to commemorate my survival. In the meantime I will try to stay warm until April.


January 2, 2012

Another quote from Emerson. "An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory." I love that! My own schtick is "Less talk, more work." I've noticed the amount of time spent in meetings and discussions on how things should be done far outweighs the benefits of simple action. Everyone is so worried about being responsible for decision making that instead of being leaders they make all decisions seem like a team vote.

Someone has to take charge. There is nothing wrong with saying "I am the boss and/or the parent!!!" Take a stand. Defend your beliefs and actions. Some people spend longer explaining why they CAN'T do something than it would have taken to just do it. As Nike says, "Just Do It." But do what is right. As long as you do that you really can't make a mistake. And if you do then you start over. But for God sake make a DECISION.

That goes for your personal life as well. Instead of agonizing over issues take a step forward. It is okay to apologize. I do it all the time! Life is short. "Just Do It."

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Welcome 2013!!!

January 1, 2012

Jennie always used to sweep the old year out the back door with a broom. This year I wanted to hire a bulldozer! I made it home from work just in time to use a VERY big broom.

Please 2013, be way better than last year. Time has certainly made it easier to get up in the morning but has done nothing for the sadness that is constantly present. And from what I can see from my divorced friends that will always be a part of me. I am a different person from last year. Not better or worse but different. This will always be a part of my personality and color the way I interact with the world. Some days I am excited about the new things I've done and the people I've met along this journey and other days I long for my old life.

So if I could offer advice for anyone starting on this road it is "be good to yourself." Some days will be easier than others. Some days you will be sucker punched by emotion. The feelings of rejection and failure are sometimes as fresh today as they were a year ago. Cry if you have to or scream if that makes you feel better. Try not to do either one in public though! (I'm sure Target has my picture posted somewhere to warn their employees.)

Force yourself to go out and do new things and meet new people when you feel able. Listen to your gut and do whatever it takes to get through the day. You will be amazed at the support you will receive sometimes from the most unexpected places. Try to figure out what makes you happy and just go ahead and do that. And of course take care of your legal and financial issues as soon as possible. Cheaters never really change so don't expect to reconcile, no matter how much you try.

But above all, know that you will survive. You will join the human race again. You will laugh and be able to engage in life. You WILL have fun again. Take care of yourself. And remember looking and feeling good about yourself is the best revenge!!

Happy New Year.