Sunday, January 28, 2007

Cultural Education

I learned something today. While at the in-law's for lunch, we were discussing meanings and origins of names. In Hinduism there are rules. Babies are named according to the time of and/or year they were born, caste, etc. I did a bit of research online and learned a bit more. Apparently the birthstar the child is born under has influence in naming as well. The ceremony takes place 2-3 weeks after birth and often involves extended family members.

Namkaran is the naming ceremony. "Nama" means name, "karan" means "to make, to effect" I found 5 rules commonly used:

1. The name of the baby should be easy to pronounce and sound pleasant.
2. The baby name should contain a specified number of syllables and vowels.
3. The name should indicate the sex of the baby.
4. The baby' name should signify wealth, fame or power.
5. The name should be suggestive of the caste of the family.

( )

My mother-in-law told me that she had already named her son, my husband, when "the name" came from "back home" because she wasn't able to wait that long to register his birth and name. The family comes from Guyana, South America.

My husband's name should have been "Harry"...

I can't help but think my life would be different if I were married to a Harry...

Saturday, January 27, 2007


I have been somewhat absent for the last number of days. I have been working 12 hr night shifts, which doesn't leave much room for anything else.

Here are a few interesting tidbits from my week:

1) On Wednesday was my nephew's 1st birthday. Mum and Dad flew out to Calgary just to spend the day. It was Dad's first flight on a commercial jet. Dad spent the entire flight using his handheld GPS trying to figure out when they were over Portage so that he could wave at me, knowing I was at work.

2) While sitting at the nursing desk on Wed after having completed a round to check on my peeps not 15 minutes earlier we heard a crash. And then another. And another. We ran to the room where it was coming from to see that patient in bed #1 had hobbled on her fresh cast to bed #2 by the window. She was smashing the window with her crutch. She said she wanted fresh air. And she was afraid we were trying to poison her. It was a crash course on post-op psychosis. Literally. After the sedation wore off the next morning, she was her sweet self again. I have no idea if she has any recollection of the event.

3) I decided it would be safe to re-silicone the top part of my fish tank with non-aquarium safe silicone. The next morning the water was white, like milk. The Husband (not the same "the husband" as in Lynds' blog...) helped me do a big water change. Silicone is still leaking from the top. Surprisingly, none of my fish have died yet. But I won't be eating them for dinner, that's for sure. We'll see if the next set of babies are mutants.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Doctor Is In

Yesterday I had a bit of a "check-up" of sorts with a doctor of mine from the past. As soon as I enter the ward I begin to feel anxious. They say smell is the sense that will trigger memories most readily. Isn't it funny how often the strongest memories that come rushing back are negative? I wonder why our brains are programmed that way.

I can't say that the visit didn't disturb me or throw me off for a little while. I can say that I didn't allow it to ruin my day.

At the moment I was living the worst part of my life. I have more negative memories from that time in my life than I will ever choose to share. It's easy to forget that there were positives as well.

And so I choose to remember the positive.

I remember my mum cooking me a scrumptious breakfast prior to me going to class in the morning, temping my palate. I remember Mum rocking me, playing a song by Steve Bell. I remember my parents going the extra mile to seek help. I remember a Christian doctor who didn't always follow all the rules - who gave me the impression that he cared about his patients. A nurse who yanked the covers off me and forced me to face another day, proving to me that it's ok to use tough love with your patients.

A girl who saw me in a class and approached me to develop a friendship. Janell, you have lived more life with me than anybody else. Good and bad, we've made it through things together.

My sister and her husband sneaking their laptop in to play me "Achy Breaky Heart". The entire family in the lounge when Jen pulled out a huge bucket of lego. And we created as a family. Jen made an archway. I met my beautiful sister-in-law for the first time. I knew she was something special right away, coming to see the sister that her new boyfriend loved. Letters from David. I still have them. Timmy visiting faithfully with the parents. I remember daily visits from Mum and Dad. And watching out my window as they drove back to the farm, Dad often flashed his flashlight towards my window. And I would cry and smile. Grandma and Grandpa as well. I remember them bringing me Hagen Daaz ice cream - 6 bars of chocolate coated vanilla bars. Pistachios were my favorite food and I would go through Costco sized bags. Alex and Monica came for a night of movies and snacks in the lounge. Gerry visiting faithfully, "standing in the gap" for me. I remember a pastor's faithfulness. Darnell visited week after week, reading me Psalms and then going home and printing the ones I liked so that I could put them on my walls for easy reference. I remember walls filled with cards and pictures.

And then Guelph. I met Amy, my amazing adopted sister who I love as much as if she really were. I remember her family and making Schmoo Torte and questioning the ingredients we had found online. I remember movie night and Blind Date on TV. Christmas was spent away from the family, but Mum made sure I had a tree and plenty of presents. I think more than everyone else there combined. I remember Anne. What a good friend she was. Strong, intelligent, beautiful. I often long to see her again. I remember William. Handsome, fragile, tender. We went for long walks and shot pool. His hair was the coolest. I remember Bible studies and helping Patricia become a Christian. Linda was my roommate for while. She slept with her purse. I slept with my teddy. I remember crying when it was time to go. It's funny how going through intense "stuff" together bonds you.

All of these are about people. There are times in people's lives when family and friends either pull together or pull away. I'm thankful for those who pulled together for me. I couldn't have done it alone.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

It Crossed My Mind...

It crossed my mind the other day. "I should go see Wendy". It crossed my mind, "it's been too long". It crossed my mind in a heartbeat. It crossed my mind before I remembered.

And I remembered. A woman so strong and beautiful. A mix of heartbreak and tears, faith and smiles. I remember emergency rooms and hospitals. I remember a family pulling together, putting aside differences for a woman we loved. I remember Bible reading, pedicures, and A&E. I remember one-sided conversations, secret smiles, and eyes that held more words than I ever knew possible. I remember a dedicated husband and 2 daughters who did more for their mum than any other family members and professionals combined. I remember saying "you're so beautiful" and the tear that slid down her cheek.

I also forgot. I forgot to say "thank you". For letting me come along and share this last year. For letting me be your voice when yours faded. For trusting that I would make the decisions for you that you would have wanted for yourself. I would do it all over again.

She crossed my mind. And I remembered her.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Often when I'm making small talk with my patients I disclose that I commute to Portage from Winnipeg. I'm surprised how many people find it shocking that I would drive "all that way" for work. Especially native Portagers. One of them once told me that the longer you live there, the longer the drive to the big city seems. My mind frame is different.

I grew up on a farm. If I was going to work anywhere for pay, I would have to commute. Small town Landmark didn't exactly have an abundance of jobs. And so I found work in Winnipeg. My first job was near the airport, about an hour's drive. And that was city driving. Stop, start, light, stop, honk, start.

I much prefer my drive to Portage. I take the Perimeter around the city and then turn west on to the #1 highway. After that, there are no lights to contend with. I can put the car in 5th gear, snuggle in to my heated seats, sip my steaming cup of Java, lose myself in my favorite music (often Blue Rodeo) and just drive.

This is my time. If my head is feeling a bit crazy, it's my opportunity to put things into perspective. I can reflect, plan, reminisce. It's my time to phone people who I want to touch base with. Usually my Mum and Dad.

Right now it's dark when I go to work and dark when I come home. 8 or 12 hr shift, it doesn't matter. It's just dark. Driving in the dark always seems more serene than daytime driving. Unless a deer jumps out in front of your car. A creature of beauty, for sure. Just don't be on highways. It disturbs my peace of mind and relaxed attitude when I have to slam on the breaks and swerve to miss hitting you.

Last night as I drove, I saw northern lights. They danced above the highway and a feeling of peace washed over me. I remember when John Unger died while I was at Camp Arnes. I was so upset and sat on the shore of Lake Winnipeg late into the night. All of a sudden I saw the most spectacular northern lights, and I felt like God was telling me he was still in control. The Northern Lights always remind me of John Unger, and God. And Lyndsey's wedding. They were so beautiful that night. But not compared to her. She was such a beautiful bride.

This morning I phoned my parents while I was driving home. But it's Wednesday today and they were loading pigs to take to the Hog Commission. So their phone was off and it was up to myself and Ace Burpee on the radio to keep me awake. Often I phone for stimulating conversation to ensure that I don't doze off. This morning I felt quite alert though as I'd had a good nap at work during my break.

And as I drove east, I saw the most glorious sunrise. Pink, blue, purple. Wisps of clouds colored by the rising sun and when finally the sun emerged, it was a huge red sphere. It took my breath away.

The drive home gives me a chance to process my shift. Some shifts are worse than others, and sometimes I really need to decompress. It gives me a chance to put things in perspective and reach a place of peace before going home. I often lose my work on the highway, preventing me from taking it home.

I love commuting.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A perfect night

Apparently it works to wish for good night shifts on a blog. Yesterday was perfect. Things were steady enough that we weren't bored, slow enough to get to know my co-workers better. We all got our breaks. I got to cuddle a little 5 lb girl who was perfect in every way. I just about fell asleep rocking her. This morning heading down the #1 highway my dad phoned, on his way in the opposite direction - to Brandon. I watched for a bus and stuck my hand out of the window and waved like crazy when I saw it. I think it made him smile. Then I did a quick workout and went tanning before hitting the sack around 10 AM. Now for some Java, mindless TV watching, and some quality time with my pooch before I lock him in his kennel again and make my hour's drive to work.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Initial Blog

After much thought and consideration as to whether or not it would be worthwhile to start a blog, I have arrived. I want it to be a place to share my life, as dull or as exciting as it may be. Here's hoping I can make a habit of posting.

Initial blog. It sounds funny to me. Like I'm writing in a baby chart - "Initial feed. Baby placed to Mom's breast for feeding. Good latch and suck." This is routine charting. Speaking of work, tonight is my first night shift of a 3 night stretch. I'm praying for quiet and complacent patients. Hey, it could happen!

I just came in from a walk with my puppy. My puppy who I was told would grow to 40 or 50 lbs. He's 67 and still growing. "They" lied to me. But he's irresistible! Bentley Jordan George, that's his name. Kind of makes our "family" complete. Wife, Husband, Dog. I've been told the fish don't count. I think that hurts their feelings, as most of them have been around longer than the dawg. Lynds says "Fish don't have feelings."

It's so cold outside that on my return my eyelashes were white and my cheeks red, my lungs filled with crisp fresh air. My dawg's very black face also had white eyelashes and balls of ice stuck to his nether regions. It's cold. It's so cold that he gingerly picked up one foot after the other as if he were lame before tearing off into the bush to find himself a suitable stick. By suitable, I mean 10 feet or longer. I wonder if he's compensating for the double ballsectomy I forced upon him a few months ago. Maybe...