Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Special Place in Hell

Even though I don't believe in hell, I think there must be a special place for those lost souls that light other people on fire - or throw hot grease on , dip in boiling water, or put their body parts on hot stove/oven/grill surfaces.

Can you tell I am still spending far too much time working in the Burn Unit? Special kind of evil, there.

Shooting someone? Stabbing someone even? But to BURN someone? Come on! That is just too twisted for color tv (to quote Steel Magnolias).

And then there are the strange ones - the people that light themselves on fire. WHY? Can someone explain this? If you want to kill yourself, why not chose a less painful path? Pills? Throwing yourself off a very tall building? Even putting a bullet in your head, but to douse yourself in gasoline then light a match?

Oh, and in case you haven't figured it out - it isn't a sure path to death either. It IS a sure path to excruciating pain, extensive repeated surgeries, long term hospitalization, and certain mutilation and disfigurement.

As a nurse, especially one in a teaching hospital, I see a lot of patients that probably shouldn't live. Ones that doctors manage to keep alive for far too long in the name of science. People pulled back not only from the brink of death, but from death itself. People that were heading to the light or what-have-you, but we yank them back just in the nick of time so that we can torture their bodies for a few more days/weeks/months longer. People that if they do manage to survive have a terrible quality of life after we "save" them.

I have told my family I will haunt them if they don't stand up for me and tell the doctors to back the hell off and let me die if I have a terrible brain injury (but don't necessarily qualify for "vegetative"), if I have burns over greater than 50% of my body, if it looks like they are going to amputate all my limbs or I can't move my arms or legs. The living wills all talk about "persistent vegetative state" but there really are very few cases that are that cut and dried. Doctors will say "There is hope. We don't know that much about the brain, we won't really know until they wake up". By the time it gets to the point where waking up is an option - and I am not talking about Hollywood waking up here - no one just opens their eyes and says, "bring me a grilled cheese, please" - I am talking about long slow wake ups where the patient might just get to the point where they open their eyes and move one arm, but can't speak or eat normally. By this time you've got a feeding tube and are headed for a long term care facility. Then it is much harder to let someone die.

Hard stuff. Even for someone like me that has, at this point, seen a lot of death. I know the hope people have for their spouse/child/parent. I know the ones that can't and won't let go. How can you? How can you make that choice? How can you decide for someone else what their life should be like? Especially if it is a child? I am starting to realize that it is much easier to say what I want/don't want. I am an adult that has lived and loved and seen life and death. I know the kind of choices I am making and sharing with my family. Children are so, so much harder. No one should ever have to see their child suffer. Yet we also ask for so much more suffering from children than we would ever want or expect from ourselves. Because they haven't had the chance to live/love/make mistakes/wildly succeed/go to Disneyworld - whatever - we ask them to endure great pain, great suffering so that they may have that chance one day. So that we can hold onto them a little longer, love their bodies that we have nurtured and grown in our own bodies.

Not preaching here, just trying to work through the abject suffering I see on a daily basis. And I DO know that my own ideas about quality of life have changed for myself since I have become a mother. There is a lot more suffering and pain and humiliation that I am willing to endure now that I don't want to leave my children without a mother in this world.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

FO: Clapotis

Do not get excited. I finished this last summer, but I finally have some great pictures of my goddaughter in it.

Pattern: Clapotis by Kate Gilbert
Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Luscious Single Silk in Rook-Y
Mods - none
Problems? Um, had an issue with dropping one of the stitches down and ended up having to cut a bar of yarn and then spit splice it back together.

I think she likes it. Her mom says she wears it quite often and has gotten several comments about it. I told her it was a very popular pattern and to not be alarmed if strangers wanted to pet it.

This yarn is really truly amazing. And I have over half a skein and another full one left over. I used less than half the yarn I ordered. This yarn went so far. Any ideas of what I should do with the left overs? Probably around 800 yards left. I could knit a tank or vest with that much.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Do not read if the f-bomb is going to offend...

I am in my winter slump. After the holidays I can't seem to get anything done. It is the same way every year but for some reason I forget about it until I am in it again. And fucking February is the worst of it. The crocuses and the daffodils are blooming, but in case you haven't heard, people, IT IS STILL FUCKING WINTER and I HATES it.

This pervades my entire existence. So I haven't blogged since December, ach well, I wasn't a blogging regularly anyway. And there are only a few people that are paying attention here anyway, so who cares, right?

And I have been stuck working in the fucking Burn Center for like the last 2.5 months straight. That is another thing I HATES. It isn't the work so much - I mean it is just a branch of the surgical trauma stuff that I dig. It is the stories. I mean, it takes a certain amount of just plain EVIL to burn someone on purpose, you know? I mean, who gets pissed off at their girlfriend and LIGHTS HER ON FIRE. Or their husband, or their CHILD. Yes, there are kids there and while I don't have to take care of them, I have to see them. Makes me cry. Big time. And the doctor/nurse climate there isn't all that great. The main doc doesn't really want the nurse to do any independent thinking and I am used to being part of a team. I don't go for the doctor's handmaiden shit too well.

But it is into the knitting. Terribly. I can't finish anything. Or if I finish it, it really sucks. Here is the run down.

* I free knitted a hat in this gorgeous yarn (there is a big clue there - I don't free knit anything) and it was just way. too. big. Like it was too big for Paddy-O even if he would be willing to wear a slouchy beret style hat in lavender, golden yellow, cream and brown variegated yarn. I got my mom to frog it for me.

* Then there is the sweater I knit for Paddy O for christmas. It isn't bad looking - a Cobblestone knit in some lovely tweedy green with flecks of brown and orange in it. It is FINISHED. Except for the kitchenering (is that a word?) of the armpits. Plus, I am scared of finishing it because then he will want to wear it and what if I am totally doomed by winter and it doesn't fit? It is, after all, my first adult sized sweater. I am paralyzed by fear of failure here.

* The Lady February Sweater? Nothing wrong with it. Looks like it will fit and all that. Knitting it DIC Classy in Some Summer Sky and the yarn is amazing. The fear here is that it will really be unflattering on mhave and here I will have put all this work into a sweater (not to mention this gorgeous yarn) and it will look like shit on me. And it is February, in case you haven't noticed, and therefore my mommy body is at it's whitest and flubbiest and I really think I might go drown myself in Jordan Lake if I put all this work into this sweater and then it looks like hell.

* A hat made of odds and ends in simple rib stitch - looks like it will be too small for an adult head and too big for a child's.

* Spring Forward socks (from Knitty) are the only thing getting any action. Bus knitting. I have turned the hell, I mean heel on the first one and am working my way down the foot. But it is a sock - and while it is shaping up to be a very pretty one, it will still need a mate when I am done with it. And since it is strictly bus knitting, it isn't moving very fast.

Part of me thinks I should just start something new and see if that will turn things around. The other part says if I fuck up another knitting project in February I might stab myself with the closest knitting needles.

At least I am doing some reading. See my sidebar for the latest. Just finished The Friday Night Knitting Club, and why didn't anyone warn me it was sad?

Here is what is in the stack - anyone want to suggest which one I should start next? Maybe the heaviest thing I should read right now is a Hello Kitty coloring book, but I am open to opinions here...

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaimon
The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan
Better by Atul Gawande - although that might be cutting too close to work for February reading. Written by a surgeon.
Kushiel's Justice by Jacqueline Carey - I am just obsessive enough to go back and read the entire series before starting this one - and she has two more after it that I need to read too. These are some of my favorite books so maybe I want to savor them sometime other than February. Or maybe they would be a pick me up? And not too difficult a read...