"Eventually all the pieces fall into place....
until then, laugh at the confusion,
live for the moment, and know that everything
happens for a reason"

Monday, March 26, 2012

Sweet Patients Say Sweet Things

Hospitals don't shut down. They don't close for the weekend. The concept of "paid holidays" exists in the sense  that if you work the holiday, you get paid. We don't just save lives Monday-Friday. It's a 24/7, 365 day system. 

With that said, on Saturday morning when most people were still asleep, I was walking in the dark towards the hospital entrance. Saturday was day 2 of 3. My entire weekend was spent at the hospital. The success of a weekend is mostly determined by the patients you have and hopefully the lack of any unexpected emergencies. This weekend was pretty good. 

First of all, I'd like to give credit to my wonderful co-workers. I don't know if I'd ever get through a 12 hour shift without the friends I've found in my fellow nurses. They are team players who are always willing to lend a hand, often without even being asked. I know they have my back if things get too deep, too fast. Most of all, we have fun together...which is so important when it's the weekend and you'd rather be almost anywhere else. 

Now, my patients this weekend covered a wide array of personalities. I had the mad at the world, don't talk to me patient. I had the old man who makes inappropriate comments patient. I had the pleasant but impatiently waiting on discharge patient. I had the going to meet Jesus soon, please make them comfortable patient. And last but definitely not least, I had the sweetest person you'll ever meet and I appreciate every little thing you do patient. A little all over the board, which is usual. I was just thankful I didn't have a I use bath salts and will become combative if provoked patient. (They exist, I've had one)

Anyways, all of these patients made for a good weekend. No major unexpected events, their families were wonderful and while busy, I still had time to sit down and occasionally take a break. (This definitely doesn't always happen.) What made my whole weekend was saying good bye to the sweetest person you'll ever meet and I appreciate every little thing you do patient. He hugged me so tight, kissed me on the cheek and thanked me relentlessly for the good work I'd done this weekend. I blushed as he went on and on but the sweet things he said about me touched my heart. "I love you like a grand-daughter" he said. 

Sometimes I question nursing as my career. I become a little defeated after weeks of physically and emotionally difficult patients. But patients like this sweet one remind me of why I chose nursing. And when I'm in the middle of a workweek full of I use bath salts and will become combative if provoked patients, I can think back on patients like him, who make it all worth it. 

Love and Happiness,

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Worrying Is My Middle Name

In case you don't know, I thought I'd confess a little trait about myself. I'm a chronic worrier. I can over-think and over-analyze with the best of them. 

I don't think Paul knew what to do with me years ago when we first started dating. I'm not sure if he'd ever known someone quite as "concerned" as I am about...well, everything. I'm the Queen of What-Ifs when Paul is the King of After-Thought. Perfectly enough, with his lack of concern and my excessive amount of it, we usually meet in the middle with a proper concern ratio. 

It's taken some time for me to understand Paul, too. I think it's odd he doesn't think about things the way I do. I mean, doesn't everyone worry that they are going to choke while home alone? Will 911 know where I am if I call from a cell phone even if I can't speak? Should I run outside so someone could at least find me blue or should I save energy/oxygen and try to heimlich myself on a chair? Dilemma if you ask me but Paul would say otherwise. "Don't worry" he says. "What's the chances you'll ever have to deal with that?" But in my mind I wonder, "What if..."

There is a reason for this random post, by the way. Ever since we moved to Johnson City and Paul began working construction, I've bugged him relentlessly about my work related worries. Construction adds a whole new subset of worry to my life including falling off roofs, cutting off limbs/fingers, nail gun injuries to brain or eyes, falling off ladders, asbestos exposure and even the threat of skin cancer since he's out in the summer sun all day. (Paul is awful fair skinned, you know?) Paul thinks I'm crazy but has humored me by not telling me his near misses of falling off a roof and even put sunscreen on this past summer. 

Last night Paul was telling me about his new job location nearly an hour away. "I barely have cell phone service out there. I could barely even text you." Looking back, that should have been a red flag prompting my many questions of "what ifs" but strangely enough, it didn't faze me. (Maybe I'm starting to learn a little something from Paul, after all.) This morning I woke up, came downstairs and found a little note lying on the couch. It said:

"Bethany, If there is an emergency and you need me, call Carl xxx-xxx-xxxx. I love you! -Paul"

It made me smile and tear up a little. Little gestures like that remind me of his love for me. He gave me the gift of peace of mind without having to be asked.
And that goes a long way for a chronic worrier like me...

Love and Happiness,

Monday, March 19, 2012

Anniversary Trip


To celebrate our 1 year anniversary we planned a weekend trip to Gatlinburg, but as I've said before, we make the most of celebratory moments. So, in true Paul and Bethany fashion, the celebrations started Thursday night before the weekend began.

A little background information may be helpful, so I'll fill you in. Last April, tornadoes swept through Alabama and caused extensive damage across the state. Scottsboro was relatively lucky but in the wake of the storms, power was out for a long period of time. Subsequently the top tier of our wedding cake, which was tucked away in a freezer, was ruined and we shrugged it off as a minor loss. So, as our anniversary approached I spent months researching a local bakery who could replicate our top tier so I could surprise Paul with it on our anniversary. I was able to find a bakery and I placed my order to be picked up the Friday before we left for our trip. I even called my mom to have her mail me the cake toppers so I could put them atop our replicated cake. Creative, romantic plan...check! 

Ok, back to Thursday night! Paul was so anxious and excited to give me my first gift of the weekend and I was, too. I closed my eyes as he brought the gift in and when I opened them, I saw a big white box in front of me. As I opened the box, my heart dropped. There in front of me was a beautiful cake! Pretty romantic, huh? Just wait. Paul went on to explain that he had ordered this cake, along with a chocolate one, from our original baker in Alabama. He then planned on driving all the way back home to pick them up so we could have cakes just like we had on our wedding day. His "in town" agenda also included picking up Tate's BBQ for us to eat (another of my favorite food items at the wedding reception)! What a romantic! 

A quick shout-out to my wonderful mother, by the way. When she heard about Paul's sneaky plan, she offered to pick up the "goods" and meet Paul in Tennessee to save Paul some time and gas. Have I ever mentioned how much my parents love Paul? But anyways...

As excited as I was, I was a little disappointed that his great gift just trumped the exact same gift I got him. So, with tears in my eyes and shaking with laughter, I explained to Paul that I too had gotten us an anniversary cake! Great minds think alike? This just goes to show how perfect we are for each other! 

Friday night we spent a relaxing evening at the house, eating BBQ and listening to the audio of our wedding ceremony. My parents had mailed the CD to us for an anniversary present and it was the first time we had heard the audio from the wedding. It was wonderful to hear our vows and the love in our voices. It was amazing to re-live those moments. Paul also gave me my last gift which I LOVED! He constructed this beautiful candle lantern for me. I had seen one and wanted one for a while now and it looks great in our home. I'm lucky to have a man who works with his hands and can build beautiful keepsakes. I think he's a keeper. :)

Saturday morning we woke up, packed the car (including all 3 cakes) and hit the road. We arrived in Gatlinburg and headed to Ober. We rode the chair life to the top for a scenic view of the mountains. It was beautiful and the weather was so nice. Afterwards we headed to check into our cabin. We rented a small cabin with mountain views. It was kind of like Montana for our honeymoon, except no snow. It had the same cozy feel as we snuggled up in front of the fire and relaxed in the hot tub under the stars. 

I gave Paul his gift from me and I hoped he would appreciate the thought that went into it. I couldn't think of anything to buy him, so I gave him the gift of tradition. I bought a box and placed a note in it explaining it's purpose. Here is what the note said:

"On our 1 year anniversary, I’d like to give the gift of tradition. Paul, you have been such a blessing in my life and there aren’t enough words in the world to describe how I feel about you. So, here is my proposal. I propose that we write each other a love letter each year we are married to give to each other on our anniversary. We will place each of our letters in this box, a box of love.  And every anniversary from now on we can sit down, read our new love letters and then read the old ones.  As we grow old together we will have written memories, declarations of love and predictions for our future together. We will grow closer each year as we reminisce over the special times we have spent together. We will create an intimate keepsake that will become the story of our life. This can be a forever reminder of our love for each other, because our love is epically amazing and should never be forgotten."

Also inside the box was my first letter to him. Thankfully, he loves the idea and I can't wait to begin this new tradition with him. 

Sunday evening we went to the Dixie Stampede, which was a blast. Paul had never been and I hadn't been in forever. I loved watching the excitement on Paul's face throughout the show. We had a great time. After walking around down town, we headed back to the cabin to relax. Monday, our actual anniversary, was a relaxing day too and we didn't make any special plans other than spending time together. We fixed a romantic supper that evening and danced under the stars to our first dance song. It was very romantic and a perfect end to our trip. 

But if everything were that perfect, it wouldn't be a Paul and Bethany story. Tuesday morning before we left we ventured over to Gatlinburg and ate at Atrium Pancakes, recommended by our good friends Brad and Fallon Hartsell. They have amazing baked apple pancakes, FYI. On the way out of town there was standstill traffic. We sat still for over 20 minutes so Paul turned the car off, but not the headlights. Once traffic began to move, we tried to turn the car back on....and it wouldn't! Paul then jumped out of the car, I ran around and got in the drivers seat, Paul pushed us to the side of the road and we flagged the guy behind us over to jump us off. Awkward moment: The guy gets out of his car, decked out in an Alabama t-shirt and Paul is decked out in an Auburn shirt. An unexpected duo working side by side! They were great sports and were able to get us running again. 
Yummy baked apple pancake

Auburn/Alabama duo

Needless to say, it's been a wonderful year. 

Love and Happiness,

The Best Year Yet

We made it! 

One year of marriage down and it was AMAZING! This year was full of changes and challenges, good times and rough patches and I wouldn't change a thing! I'm not saying we did everything perfectly but as we made mistakes and stumbled though hard times, we held each others hand and grew from each experience. It's been wonderfully beautiful to grow together as man and wife. 

This year was full of laughter and tears, arguments and make-ups, give and take, knowledge and naivety, confidence and lack thereof.  But most of all, this year was overflowed with love and I couldn't ask for a greater blessing than that. 

Our love story is unique and I can't wait to see the twists and turns involved in our "Happily Ever After".

 Love and Happiness,


Friday, March 9, 2012

My Bucket List

So, lately I have been thinking a lot about the future and what it holds for me. Now that I've graduated college my goals and aspirations for my life can venture beyond passing a test, acing a paper or landing my first job. Looking back those were short-term goals, all of which I met, but now I can focus on some good, fun and exciting goals. So, here is my so called "bucket list". (Not in any particular order, of course)

  1. Travel to New Zealand
  2. Travel to Switzerland 
  3. Take a 2-3 week cruise
  4. Have a baby
  5. Zip-line
  6. Surf
  7. Take a hot air balloon ride
  8. Take an Alaskan cruise
  9. See the Northern Lights
  10. Scuba dive
  11. Para-sail
  12. Live in a big city
  13. Build a dream house
  14. Go to Hawaii
  15. Learn Spanish
  16. Visit Central Park in the fall
  17. Learn to snowboard
  18. Own horses
  19. See a moose in the wild
  20. Build a barn with a silo
  21. Stay a few nights on Mackinac Island
  22. Buy our first house
  23. Get a puppy
  24. Get a kitten
  25. Try a new job
  26. See a bear in the wild
  27. See whales in the wild
  28. Swim with dolphins
  29. See the Grand Canyon
  30. Go to a Cirque Du Soleil performance
  31. Swim in a hot spring 
  32. Take a trip to Disney before we have children
  33. White water raft
  34. Be a part of a protest
  35. Learn photography
  36. Learn massage
  37. Snorkle
  38. See sea turtles
  39. Help Paul become a business owner
  40. Have a farm
  41. Cut my hair short
  42. Learn to make chicken and dumplings
  43. Own my own set of skis
  44. Camp on a beach
  45. Get a couples massage
  46. Go to a luau
  47. Go to Canada
  48. Witness a flash mob
  49. Go to a circus
  50. Para-glide or hang-glide
  51. Go on a ghost tour
  52. See a magic show
  53. Stop biting nails
  54. Visit Glacier National Park
  55. Take a helicopter tour
  56. Have suite tickets to any sporting event
  57. Make an unexpected life decision
  58. Try labor and delivery nursing
  59. See the "Bodies...The Exhibition"
  60. Ride the subway
  61. Flip a house
  62. Go to Yellowstone
  63. See the Grand Tetons
  64. Swim in Flathead Lake
This list will be ever changing. I will add new items to this list and hopefully mark some off. My current goal in life is to make the best of every moment. Life can sometimes be short, but if I'm given enough time to accomplish some of these things, I'll have lived my life with a smile on my face. 

Love and Happiness, 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Things I've Learned About Paul In Our 1st Year of Marriage

After 5 years of dating Paul, I wasn't sure I'd learn a whole lot of new things about him once we were married. I felt like I'd figured him out pretty well. People kept telling us that you don't truly know someone until you're married and live together. "Sure", I thought. "We'll see..."

Sure enough, throughout the first year of marriage there were some things I learned about Paul. 
  • He likes the shower curtain closed after a shower so that the liner will dry and not mildew
  • He brushes his teeth 2 times longer than me, therefore 2 times longer than necessary
  • He prefers to do dishes right after supper
  • His feet stink after work
  • He sometimes has "road rage"
  • He talks in his sleep
  • He snores
  • He likes just enough milk in his cereal to make it float
  • He uses the small spoon for cereal, while I use the big one
  • He loves the feeling of clean sheets
  • He believes in dusting
  • He enjoys vacuuming
  • He steals my "warm pocket" under the covers when our bedroom is cold
  • He'll drive me to work at 6:20 in the morning when it snows
  • He doesn't like it when someone (AKA me) doesn't replace the toilet paper roll
  • He'll wake up on the weekends I work to eat breakfast with me
  • He leaves little love notes around the house for me to find on days I don't work
Now, even though these aren't major things I've learned throughout the year, they are things that help me understand why he does the things he does and how he feels about things. So, I try my best to remember what Paul likes and try to do them. 

It works pretty well. We've found that marriage has a lot to do with compromise. So, I close the shower curtain and try to remember to replace the toilet paper roll. I pour his milk just how he likes it and he grabs a little spoon for him and a big one for me. I share my "warm pocket" even when his feet are cold and he sets an alarm to wake up with me on Saturdays. I'll deal with his snoring if he'll deal with my constant tossing and turning. And since he loves it so much I suppose I'll let him do the dishes, vacuum and dust. (The best compromise of them all.) 

There is one thing I won't compromise on, however. After work, Paul must take a shower to clean those stinky feet. But babe, just don't forget to close the shower curtain. :)

I'll leave you with one last thing that I learned about Paul this past year!
  • He loves me more than I could ever imagine or ever deserve. Each day we've been married, he has shown more and more love towards me and I can't wait for many more happy years with my man.

Love and Happiness,

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Sometimes I Cry...

After a long day of work, I sometimes cry. I get to my car, take a deep breath and break down.   

Sometimes it's because the stress of the day has taken it's toll on my soul and all I know to do is cry. There are 12 hours in my workday and when it's all said and done, everything that I've tried so hard to hold in has to be let out. 

Sometimes I cry because I'm sad. Sad for my sickest patients and their sweet families. I cry for the cancer-ridden man who looks at me with tears in his eyes as he tells me all he wants is the pain to go away. I cry for the families who have to say their final good-byes to their loved ones. I cry and I pray for them. 

I cry because I've seen the hardships in others lives. It's easy to forget how lucky you are until you are forced to see how others live. Homelessness, abusive family dynamics and families destroyed by drugs and alcohol. It really has changed me. And while some find it easy to judge others in bad situations, I now have immense sympathy for those whose lives aren't quite what is the social norm or politically correct. 

Not all tears are bad. Other times I cry because I'm happy. I'm happy to see the 80-something year old couple, one in the hospital and one scooting with his walker to visit, who are still madly in love. I cry for the good news my patient receives after waiting for potentially life changing results. I cry because somewhere along the way I know I made a difference in someone's life. 

So, I cry a lot I suppose. But that's who I am and that's what I do. I wear my heart on my sleeve and give a part of myself to every single one of my patients. I am a nurse. My job is full of ups and downs, the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. In a single day I am often happy and sad, proud and disappointed, pleased and angry and complimented and offended. Now, with all of those emotions and constant conflicts within myself, who can blame me for a good cry now and then?

Love and Happiness,