Monday, June 1, 2009

A DAY IN THE BARREL: Everyone has a turn!

Life is not always a bed of roses. It just isn't! Everyone has their problems. Physically, social, financial, you name it. Difficult times always happen.

Accepting the above as true, life is at times as beautiful and as sweet smelling as a bed of roses.

Mostly, however, life is usually some place in between these two extremes. I think our happiness is more determined by our attitude towards our day-by-day, normal life than the challenges of the extreme times.

If our outlook is what it should be, even in the worst of times, we can find rich nuggets that bless our lives in times, good or bad.

Although I was stressed with maintaining life itself over the last week, I was determined to share fun and joy with all with whom I was associated. As ever, I would also be alert for that "One" special person. The latter is very rare and one must always be alert for the possibility.

When I hiked 600 miles of the Appalachian Trail at age 65 my life's story remained behind and proceeded me up the trail. People who overtook me on the trail or people I met hiking the opposite direction greeted me by my name.

On my 65th birthday individuals and group after group wished me a happy birthday upon sight, some actually bearing gifts.

Although I shared my aborted attempt at a cross country bike trip only with those who needed to hear the story, the story spread throughout the floor of the hospital. Nurses, doctors, food people and maintenance folks frequently asked me about it. Most were positive in their attitude wishing that they could have had such an experience and some shared a similiar experience in their lives.

Trying to let the good times roll in spite of the situation, which at times included seriously over tasked care givers, I told stories, shared poetry and made jokes as I remained alert for the unusual personality.

There was a dusky complexioned, slight RN, a real beauty with a michievious grin and sparkling brown eyes. She knowingly commenced repartee inquiring "So, what are we here for today"? Obviously in a Heart Care Unit I wasn't there for an ingrown toe nail.

I thrust back saying I was there to "keep pretty little RNs in line". She parried back saying she would "Keep that in mind when she removed the tape from my chest". Right back I said "Just so you don't pull the tail feathers from my birds"! She asked, do you have birds?

If you have swallows tatooed on your chest you will never drown. At least thats how the story goes. Obviously its true. I have two life sized swallows on my chest and in five years on the oceans of the world I never drowned. (Not my chest)

I asked if she would like to see my birds. Bouncing right over to the bed she said "sure, show me your birds". I lifted the top of my gown and she peeked down. I then asked if she was a fair play RN?

Cautiously, she replied that she was. I said well turn about is fair play play. I showed you my tatooes. Now, show me yours. Affectionately poking me on the shoulder she said "you're a devil aren't you"? She claimed she had no tatooes to show and told the LPN to take care around me.

The verbal duel never ended although the room was hot and she was quite busy. She was having as much fun as I was. Later in the day she checked the wound in my right groin. Most of the ladies made a great show of keeping me modest. Not this vixen! She clearly lifted the covers AND gown high and took a long gaze.

I said "you're peeking, aren't you"? She came right back claiming it was one of the benefits of the job. I expressed the opinion that in this case it was a small benefit but I still wanted reciprocity but as she had reneged with the tatooes I doubted that I would get it.

And, so it went hour after hour.

At the end of her shift she came in to acknowledge that she had had a good day and wished me well. I told her that she was not only fun, she was also a good nurse. I had told perhaps a dozen or more people that the port on the inside of my right elbow was very painful, nothing had been done about the problem although there was obvious internal bleeding.

When I told this young lady she immediately removed the port saying it would have been painful as the needle had become bent. She said she couldn't believe no one had removed the plastic Barberton ID from my wrist. Everyone was overtasked but she took responsibilty and got the job done right.

I paid her the highest compliment I pay. I told her that in my lifetime I had hired hundreds of people. That once in every decade or so I found a personality that tempted me to go back into some kind of business just so I could hire them. Carla Ludwig is such a person.

I told this beauty that I suspected she was such a person and I regretted not having the time to find out. Again, she touched me and wished me well.

I met a lady who did social home follow up work for Summa. We shared a long and very warm conversation. Before she had children she had her own business doing the same thing but when her three boys, now 12 to 16, came along it was too much.

She became an RN and an employee. Her husband, who had just been laid off from Chrysler, was now a 4th year ministeral student. They had met in church. After marriage they continued to let their spiritual life be foremost.

I hope I brought her inspiration and increased her faith. I tried. I gave her my blog site and invited her to stay in touch. She claimed she would. I hope she does. She is one of the good guys!

In Barberton I met another lady. I wouldn't particularly want her as a tough minded busines employee. She was just so very kind and compassionate! However, I would love to have her for a lifetime friend. She was my nurse.

When she was young she was a rubber salesperson who traveled extensively in the rubber plantations of the far east. Incidently, a tough minded job if there ever was one. Later in her life she returned home to become an RN. She must have been a natural! She was hired right out of school to be the day nurse in the ICU at Barberton Citizens. She had been there for nine years.

She was loving, caring and had a natural empathy, much like my daughter-in-law, Mary Kay. She met my wife and children and they were as impressed with her as I was. I also gave her my blog site and invited her to stay in touch. She held my hand as we parted and said she would do so. I hope she does. She was a rare person. I hope she is appreciated.

The best thing in life is people. Where ever I've traveled, and I've traveled a lot, I've found all people to be the same regardless of local differences. People are just people. From bag ladies to royality, people are just people. I enjoy them all but I especially enjoy the ladies.

I'm glad you're people. I enjoy you!

W. Somerset Maugham

"I've met so many people, often the scum of the earth, and found them, you know, quite decent. I am an uncomfortable stranger to moral indignation"!

God Bless!

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