Because all experiences are valuable.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

World War Z

I saw World War Z last night. I thought it was quite engaging and engrossing. I'm fighting off a urinary tract infection, and I was figuring if it were to be a boring movie, then I could just spend extra time peeing. Yeah, I'm not kidding. My mind is a strange place. But I was interested all the way through.

I can't say that the movie offered any brilliant new insights. I guess the newest concept to me is "the tenth man." You'll know what that is if you see the movie. If now, then I have no doubt that it will be rising in the list of all things Googled, and will pop right up.

I kind of realize that I'm often the tenth man. I seem to ask questions that no one else asks (at least out loud), and I am willing to believe, or consider the possibility of things that others dismiss. Part of that is being a scientist. Part of that is being a lifetime sci-fi fan/reader/participant. Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, and Arthur C. Clarke had a huge impact on my young life, combined with heavy doses of the Greek myths, the classics, and my father's love for mathematics.

I've decided that the world of BSN Nursing school is a complete mystery to most of the population. They have no idea what we study, or how much science we take. They don't really know that hospitals are run by nurses- LPNs, RNs, MSNs, and DNPs. How many minutes a day would you guess that a patient is seen by or is with an MD (excluding those having surgery at the time.) Less than ten minutes a day. If they are lucky- five in the morning and five in the afternoon.

The doctors are not doing anything wrong. They don't need to really spend that much more time with a patient in the hospital. They do what they do efficiently. They do not do what the nurses and the techs do the other 23.84 hours of the day. Generally, they cannot do what we do. They are not trained to and they simply don't know how.

In my five weeks so far of working full twelve hour shifts in the hospital, I have seen a lot of wild stuff already. I know it is just the tip of the iceberg. What I do is really significant. It really matters to the human you are caring for. It really matters to the family at the bedside. The deaths I see, almost daily...and the sense I have and am honing, of when someone has made the turn and needs to have hospice care, are changing my perspective on life.

Not changing in the way of a pop song which tells you to "live each day like you are dying," not changing in the way of  "hang on tight to what you've got," though those are good bits of advice. I see every day that one truly can lose someone beloved to them in one breath.

No, I guess I would say that my perception of what life actually is about has changed, and I become more resolute in knowing what I am and what my life is, and what I need, and why I am here. This is not new stuff. I'm not offering anything you can't read in other books, poems and blogs. I am just telling you again what movies like World War Z are trying to illustrate- that there is nothing worthwhile on this planet but life itself. People, animals, pets, plants, fish..whatever. Things that are alive.

Our planet is alive and we are killing it. We are alive and we are killing each other, in a billion different ways. We kill hope and we destroy passion and we murder love and we stamp out intelligence and creativity and music- mostly all for the sake of things that are not alive. You have to see that THINGS cannot love you back. I believe (tenth man!) that plants can love you back. We know they are sentient and sensitive to music and touch, and that they react to a person who loves them. Anything alive can give a love, or a feedback all it's own. Pets are the greatest loves in the world to many people. Animals give back what they are given a hundred-fold.

I have to ask you all...what is going to be at your bedside when you are dying? Who is going to hold you when things go terribly wrong and you are afraid? Who will offer you a hand up when you can't make it up on your own? Is it any of the "things" that we all place such importance upon?

I know I have to divest myself of a lot of things. Right now. I have to clean house. It's hard to know how to start. I have so much that was my grandmother's and was my mother's. I have things from when my boys were little that they might want to see when they have children of their own. These "things" were very important to my ancestors, and they are important to me, too...but I cannot keep everything. I am going to have to downsize and start thinking about what I am going to do when my lease is up in March. I have so many decisions to make. I have pool tables and Grand pianos (not plural, ahahah), and more china than a person should have. Maybe an estate sale? I knew that these things had to be done this summer, and I have to get started. Reid is heading off to Oglethorpe in the fall, so he won't be here next year. I thought these were joint decisions to be made, but as so often happens, I must make the decisions. I have to figure out where to live next, or end up homeless trying to finish the last month of school.

Here is what I know. One...any person...is no more than the sum of the choices that they make. Whatever that man "had" in life, whatever things he owned, whatever chaos or success he had- those things were not present at the end. I was.

What do you value? What are your priorities?

People think that World War Z is just a movie, and that it couldn't happen...that zombies don't exist. Well this tenth man says that they do, and that they are all around us all the time. That many many people are zombies already- driven by things they neither recognize nor care to contemplate. They are sick and they are already dead inside, they just don't know it. They have voracious appetites for consumption and acquisition, and they have no ideals or goals for anything but themselves and more consuming. They do not build or create, instead they use up and destroy.

That's a zombie, fellas. And this is indeed, a war.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

In Passing

Sometimes the moon is pale and sweet
the golden hue of Summer wheat
and marks each cycle till complete.

Those times the stars are misty-eyed
as if you knew for whom they cried
perhaps it was your own that died.

Fair Mother Earth, who sleeps in snow,
though she will be the last to know,
She journeys with you as you go...
She journeys with you as you go.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

I'll have Erin Gray's Jumpsuit from Buck Rogers, please.

Today I ended up taking my older son, Guy, shopping for some new clothing at Men's Wearhouse and at Dillard's. It seems lately that I have been doing this activity a lot with both boys, and not because they are growing in size or stature. More that their lives are growing in complexity and their needs are becoming larger.

I was thinking philosophically, as I so often do, about the amount and variety of clothing that is required for modern life in America. It's not exactly the unisex jumpsuited future the science fiction writers ( or maybe the movie costumers) predicted. There have always been jokes about the number of pair of black shoes and for that matter black pants or skirts, that women need just to cover routine activities and events of life. I personally own at least ten pair of black shoes- all of which I wear-and need, for different occasions. Probably six black skirts and three black pants.

Guy and Reid are heading off soon for a family wedding in California, and of course that brings with it rehearsal dinners or gatherings in addition to the actual wedding, which I hear is "casual," but I'm sure that is like nice business casual, not Hawaiian shirt casual. The term casual dress can be such a nightmare, can't it? I think it is a real art to dressing appropriately in our society. It is so easy to be underdressed or overdressed, and feel out of place. I'm not sure why it all matters so much, and why we feel so scrutinized when we don't get it just right, but I am terribly guilty of taking long looks (hopefully unseen) at those who egregiously fail dress standards of either event or good taste. I try to be kind to those who just have unusual styles; I appreciate artistic statements. The human body is interesting and so varied, and one size does not fit all in any sense of the meaning.

Still, I see some very bizarre things. Yesterday it was a family of tube tops on three women who "needed a lot more support," if you know what I mean. And there was more below the tube top than inside the tube top. Picture that... Beyond that, though, is the tube top really your best choice for almost any purpose?

I would like to feel that there is a proper, comfortable balance somewhere, between needing endless amounts of clothing to fit all of life's occasions, vacations, sports, business meetings, and outings and recognizing that people and relationships are what is important- not their clothing.

It doesn't help that period clothing, costuming for many purposes, and sewing (hence an obsession with fabric) are all hobbies of mine. It would be hard for me to live in a jumpsuit world. Aside from the tube top faux pas, the hospital is a great equalizer in many ways. The professionals are all in scrubs, and the patients are all in gowns, and it helps us treat everyone the same. All we really know about you is that you are in a gown and in a bed and that we are there to care for you. Likely we will get to know you and your family, but you will get the same standard of care no matter what.

One thing I was thinking about was how much I enjoy buying clothes for my sons when they are with me. I'm just as happy buying them things as buying myself something. Actually, I enjoy it more these days. It's just one more of those things I notice as I get older. The simple joy of watching your children try on clothes and look pretty smashing, and being able to provide those things they need, when you know that so many young men do not have these things. It is a shame that lack of proper clothing should ever limit anyone from getting a job or attending an event, but right now in our world it is a fact of life. I can say this- I will accept the space-age jumpsuit world should it ever arrive, even though I would miss the vast variety of clothing so much. But I would not complain about something that would benefit so many on this planet. Just to be able to feel there is one less thing holding them back from all that they can be.