Friday, December 17, 2010
*became closer in age to 30 than 20
*finished my master's degree
*passed my certification exam
*became a family nurse practitioner
*took a new job in general surgery
*went to TN a lot
*celebrated our first anniversary
*planted a garden
*went to D.C. to see old friends
*threw up more times than I ever thought possible
*felt a baby (!) move inside for the first time
*chopped my hair off
*camped in sub-freezing temperatures
*watched my mom die
*enjoyed having "free time" and predictability for one of the few times in my life
2010 probably was calmer, overall, from 2009.
2011 promises to be a new adventure, a turning point. I'm ready. Here's to the excitement of a new year.
Posted by Sarah Blanshan at 9:38 PM
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Bob and I flew in late on a Thursday. You were already in bed, but I went to wake you up anyway. Your breathing was different. Harder than it should be. I think I knew then, that your journey was soon to be done. I painted your toenails on Saturday. The bottom of your feet were blue. I know I knew then. I was supposed to leave on Sunday, but I couldn't. Time was short, and I wanted all of it I could get.
I wasn't shocked, really, at how much you'd declined in the two months since I'd been there- how weak you were, how you didn't interact much, because I'd heard. I had called most days, gotten the report from whoever was there. Some days you talked to me. Some days you didn't have the energy. Some days I think it just made you too sad, so you'd tell me to call some other time. It's ok. I understood.
Sometimes it makes me sad to talk about you. Like this morning, in Sunday school, when the leader asked for examples of a time when things had happened when we knew it was God working. I wanted to share, but my throat got tight and my eyes hot and I knew if I said a word the tears would flow. I wanted to tell them of how the morning of your visitation I was lying awake at 3am and felt the baby move inside me for the first time. How I was so glad God had given me that gift on such a hard day. And I had wondered if you had met, you and the baby, and if you had had a part in that blessing.
I'm sad you won't get to be here to help bring up this child, or any that follow. That you won't make them smocked bonnets, quilts, dresses, or blankets, or anything else you were so skilled at making. I'm sad about a lot of things they are going to miss because you're gone. Some may have faulted me for not waiting, for getting pregnant knowing you were sick, knowing that you didn't have much time. At times I have briefly doubted my own judgement, but I don't now. You mourned the loss of being a grandmother even before I had a child in me, for there was little in this world you loved more than babies. Though it was terribly bittersweet, it gave us a chance to talk about things we didn't talk about before: pregnancy, delivery, children.
I know you loved the baby. I'll be sure to make sure it smells good, and I'll kiss it in all the right places, just like you told me to. And I'll brush its hair with the last gift you gave me, through garbled words and gestures, just days before you died, a Gorham baby comb and brush set.
I'm sorry the last days were so hard for you. I'm sorry I had to get out the wheelchair of Granddaddy's, bringing it down from the attic for you to use. But the pain and the weakness and the struggle to walk were too much for me to watch. I'm glad it allowed us to take you to the kitchen where you hadn't been for days, to the big window where you could sit in the sun and see the farm. I'm so glad for the morphine, the continuous drip of relief. We started that on Thursday night. You never said you were in pain again. I'm so glad we were able to keep you at home until the end.
Friday morning your breathing changed again. You were slipping away. We stayed up with you from then on; someone was always at your side. We talked to you, kissed your forehead, rubbed your hands. I knit a blanket while you slept. I told you to say hi to Jesus for me. I told you things I would tell my children about you. I took a turn in the middle of the night, already sleep-deprived; watching, waiting. I only lasted a few hours, then the sickness that had plagued me the whole pregnancy up to that point overtook me, and I had to sleep. I hated giving up time with you, but I had to, for the baby. Then I wondered how much you had missed for me, what you had sacrificed for me.
It seems odd that it has only been three weeks. The days since have ticked away like they always have, but a Saturday hasn't gone by yet when I haven't felt a twinge of sadness, a bittersweet acknowledgement of the fact that you died on a Saturday. At 4:17pm. I looked at the clock then, when we were all standing by your bed, all of us: your babies, and your husband. We were all there, our little crew, just like you liked it. Someone had to run and get me as your last breaths came quite suddenly after hours of struggling. I had layed down again to rest, tired from grief and retching and staying up half the night.
People keep telling me they are sorry I had to lose my mother at such a young age. And I suppose I am young by most standards, but so were you. But I'm grateful that you were able to raise your own children to adulthood, that we all turned out mostly ok, that you were able to teach 30 years worth of students, that you were married over 30 years to the same man. Maybe the years weren't that many, but you filled them with many great things. A tribute article about you made the front page of the paper. Over 1,000 people came to your visitation and funeral. You were loved.
I'm going to miss you. I love you.
Posted by Sarah Blanshan at 9:35 PM
Monday, November 22, 2010
*found 2 pairs of maternity jeans, for $3.50 and $8 respectively
*am good friends with food again
*only feel sick when I don't sleep enough
*rarely nap anymore
*am making decent progress on a knitting project
*make a few consignment purchases for the nursery
*don't tolerate standing in hot patient rooms very long
*am "warm-blooded" for the first time in my life
*am totally in love with this person inside me
Posted by Sarah Blanshan at 6:38 PM
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
* am finding my jeans to fit a little tight
* am really glad I wear comfy hospital provided scrubs to work
* am having some improvement in the nausea
* am still throwing up most days
* have now had the experience of throwing up (in a bowl) while driving
* have had to take a knee twice at work to keep from passing out, and promptly was rescued by sweet nurses with orange
* have been able to eat almost normally
* think water has a whole new taste and it is amazing
* have an extreme urge to successfully knit something
* need naps a few times a week
* don't really think of the baby as a boy or a girl yet
* like watching Bob interact with kids and imagine him as a dad
* think it is hilarious when Bob says, "How are you two today?" or "Come on, you two."
* miss coffee, now that the smell isn't revolting to me anymore
* rarely make it through the night without a bathroom run
* have nicknamed the baby "Wiggly"
* am having a blast knowing there's a person growing in me, despite all the inconveniences
Posted by Sarah Blanshan at 7:14 PM
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Posted by Sarah Blanshan at 8:08 PM
Sunday, September 05, 2010
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Posted by Sarah Blanshan at 11:55 AM
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Embarrassed that it has been so long since I worked on this...
141. Nine months of survival
143. Bike rides
144. Eating from the garden
145. Evenings off
146. Weekends off
147. Holidays off
148. Finding satisfaction in my job
149. Berries in season
150. Friends who challenge me
151. Open windows
152. Air conditioning when the windows aren't enough
153. Friends who find their life-partner in each other
157. Airplanes that take me places
158. Rediscovering my piano
159. Girls' time, 2nd Tuesday of the month
160. homemade peach cobbler topped with homemade ice cream
Posted by Sarah Blanshan at 6:34 PM
Thursday, July 01, 2010
Sunday, June 27, 2010
My college roomates three are all in the same area this summer. This means I had to go see them, to complete our funny foursome.
I neglected to get a picture of all of us. Oh, well. I got a lot of pictures of other things, though. Here's a few for you.
Posted by Sarah Blanshan at 4:17 PM
Friday, June 18, 2010
Posted by Sarah Blanshan at 2:05 PM
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Posted by Sarah Blanshan at 9:24 AM
I've recently gottten deeper into this whole saving money phenomenon. As we just passed into the day of my one-year anniversary of my wedding (yes, it is late at night as I write this), I thought I'd share a few ways we put on a relatively inexpensive wedding, one year ago today.
The things that were important to us where (which is a huge part of determining your cost):
-having all the people we wanted there (small gatherings and Blanshans don't really go together).
-Having a "different" wedding, doing things a little less traditional
-Having my minister from TN there (this was our biggest splurge)
-We had it at a family location, basically free of charge. But it was a heck of a lot of work. This is the main one I'd consider changing if I had to do it all over again. It turned out great, but the stress of it would have been greatly reduced if we hadn't had to do so much work to the farm beforehand.
-We purchased all the food ourselves, mostly at Sam's Club and Aldi. We also kept it simple, which fit our personalities really. I'm somewhat of a BBQ fanatic, so it made sense to have it at the wedding even if it is a little overdone. Family also prepared the food for us for free.
-We used postcards for the invitations. We got 500 of them (which was more than we needed) for about $60 from postcards.com
-I got a bridesmaid dress instead of a "real" wedding dress. I loved my dress. I'm not really a froofy flashy person, so a more simple dress fit me well. My momma picked it out. :-) It also helped that I found the dress I liked, then I found the store that had it for the cheapest. So I got it for about $180 and got a ton of compliments on it.
-A family friend did the flowers as a present. They turned out fantastic! We used pretty simple arrangements.
-We used a photographer who was just getting into doing weddings. We were her first one, so she gave us a great price. And the pictures were wonderful! We look through them all the time.
-The bigger things we bought, we planned to sell. We bought nice tablecloths for the banquet tables, but we sold them on craigslist for just a tab bit less than we paid for them. We also bought some paper lanterns for decorations that we intend to sell. A friend used them for her wedding last fall, and I haven't pulled them out of the bag since. I'll get to selling them eventually, because I'm sure someone would love them.
-We skipped the cake. Neither one of us really like cake, so it seemed silly to pay a lot of money to have one. We did cookies. We both love cookies.
That's all I can think of now. If you're planning a wedding, hope some of these ideas help! But the lesson I learned was, just because a lot people spend a lot of money on something, doesn't mean you have to!
Posted by Sarah Blanshan at 5:45 AM
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Today, an estimated 12,000 nurses in the Twin Cities walked out on the job, on a planned one-day strike.
I am a nurse. I am darn proud to be a nurse, too. I understand why the nurses in the Twin Cities have chosen to do this strike. Staffing is bad, pensions are threatened. But this strike thing does not sit well with me. For one reason.
They left their patients.
For the patients' good, they say? I can believe that rationale, somewhat, but I think it is flawed. Surely there must be another way. It seems so contrary to a true nurse's spirit to leave a patient in need of care. Are things really that bad that you would compromise the care of your patients? You? A member of the most trusted profession in the States?
I recognize that my job at Mayo is pretty posh as far as nursing goes, and a big part of it is we have to compete with the Cities. Their unions do a lot of work that makes non-union Mayo step up and match it so all the nurses from Rochester don't leave to work in the Cities. I understand this.
I also recognize that where I went to school, the nurses often had twice the number of patients nurses are expected to have at Mayo. They also get a little over half the pay that Mayo nurses get. Nursing is not so kind in the South.
Face it, MN nurses. You make, on average, $10,000 more a year than nurses in other parts of the U.S. You may not have the best staffing ratio in the U.S., but I have seen far worse in my short time in this career.
I hope your strike is partially successful, just so you'll get back to your patients. I sincerely hope staffing levels improve. I also hope you don't get everything you want. If anything, I hope you have rock-star teamwork to get through the shifts where all hell breaks loose. I hope you stay proud to be a nurse and take the good with the bad when you can't remember why you chose this career in this first place. I hope you compromise with the powers that be, and try to salvage some of the faith the U.S. public had in the nursing profession.
Posted by Sarah Blanshan at 8:53 PM
Monday, May 31, 2010
This is the Scorpion's Tail ride at Noah's Ark Water Park.
Posted by Sarah Blanshan at 9:26 PM
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Monday, May 10, 2010
On May 7th, I mastered science.
Ok, not really, I just earned my master of science degree.
Posted by Sarah Blanshan at 8:49 PM
Posted by Sarah Blanshan at 8:03 PM
Friday, April 30, 2010
I must have the most thoughtful, kind husband that ever has been. I am so blessed.
Bob's been hearing me talk about how I wanted a garden, a little backyard city garden to grow a small amount of yummy things to enjoy. But planting season was quickly approaching, and I was unable to fit planning a garden into my schedule. Besides, if we did it, we wanted to pull up a row of scraggly, overgrown bushes, and put the beds there. But I wasn't going to have time and I was leaving town for two weeks. I had resigned myself to the fact it just wasn't going to happen this year.
Posted by Sarah Blanshan at 10:30 PM
Monday, April 12, 2010
Posted by Sarah Blanshan at 8:00 PM
Wednesday, April 07, 2010
The tension came to a head today.
It's one month to graduation. After that, we have a 4-6 week internship to complete. The papers are coming due, the stress is rising, the to-do list is long, the stakes are high. We are days away from being responsible for people's health, which is no simple task. And we are tired of jumping through hoops. Mostly, we're just plain tired.
Due to some scheduling changes, we got done with our all-day class an hour early. Our favorite mothering professor said, "I'll still let you out early, but since we have a minute, how are you guys really doing?"
Our small class of twelve goes silent.
Nobody says anything for a minute. Then someone says what we all are thinking. "This sucks."
And then we all jump in, one after another, stating the hardships we've had this past....however many years. But mostly this year. This year, when we go from learning "fluff" material to learning how to acurately diagnose, treat, and manage complicated patients. This year, when we have too many demands on our time. This year, when we're all working, going to school full-time, trying to have somewhat of a life, and find a new job in a new profession.
One mother speaks up, or tries to through the tears. She's got three kids at home. She never sees them.
Another one relates. "What kind of mother am I, to drop my kids off at daycare every day?"
Others talk about how they just don't talk to their husbands anymore, because the tension and stress is too high, and they just argue. So now they don't talk. Others took their pets to a relative's house, because they can't take care of them right now. One worries about the effect of sustained stress on her unborn child.
I count my blessings, because I feel I've fared relatively well through this mess. But I've had my many moments of tears over nothing, nodding off while driving, and the like. I can cry at the drop of a hat. I struggle between immersing myself in my work--because people's health will depend on what I know--and still having time for my husband, my very sick mother, my family, and myself.
We (my classmates) all love what we're learning. But this schedule is too much for most people for long. And we still feel inadequate, not confident in our knowledge or skills. This world of health is so vast no one can know it all, and yet, you're expected to know a good deal of it. And people may die or suffer serious consequences if you don't. Talk about pressure.
So we commiserate together, with the only people who really know what we're going through. And I fight back the tears, because apparently I have no control over my emotions anymore. I think we all left feeling a little better, knowing everyone else is not doing ok either, but the days of this are ticking away.
Posted by Sarah Blanshan at 7:35 PM
Monday, April 05, 2010
Posted by Sarah Blanshan at 9:26 PM
Friday, March 26, 2010
Now I have my little organizer set up, we buy a paper on Sundays, and I have a few websites bookmarked that tell me where the best deals are that week. I'm not a fanatic by any means, but I'm trying to be smarter about daily living. And I try to set aside all the coupons I'm going to use for sure as I make my way through the store, so as to not take any more time in line in front of you at the check out. :-)
Posted by Sarah Blanshan at 6:48 PM