Friday, September 14, 2012

Another "family" Event.

Tonight is a summer picnic for the Infectious Disease (ID) department at ARUP where I work. I thought it would be a good opportunity to meet people in our department. Our supervisor encouraged us to go and a few of my co-workers are going so the other day I signed up to go and bring some tomatoes. 

But now... I'm just not so sure about this. And it could possibly be because of the day I had. I go on a break with a couple of my co-workers during the day and they talk A LOT about their babies, or soon to be babies. Most of them are pregnant or have young kids and babies. While I don't mind the conversation, I just can't join in because I can't relate. And it always kind of hurts when other people always talk about their families and kids because that's what I want. So badly. Spence and I wanted to start building a family, and had everything worked out (ie. he still be alive) we would probably be looking into IVF right now and be starting the journey of becoming parents. 

Well today I went on break with 2 girls and, again, they were talking about their babies. After they finished their conversation, one of the ladies that works in IDPro (a different section than I do) and I don't know very well asked me if I had kids. All I could say was "no". I mean, there isn't anything else to say. I can't really elaborate on it. If I do it turns into a whole pity Nikki situation. 

"No, I don't have kids. My husband, who passed away last year, and I wanted to have kids but were never able to because of his health..." blah blah blah, you get the gist. And after that it turns into them feeling really guilty for bringing it up, lots of questions, sometimes silence, questions about our relationship, questions if I knew he was sick when I married him, and just all around awkwardness. So I feel bad that I can't carry on the conversation much because sometimes while I would like people to know about my past (just in general that my husband passed away), I don't always want to get into the details 10 times a day to everyone I talk to. 

While I was working in the lab, one of my co-workers who I don't know very well asked me if I was going to the ID picnic tonight. I told her that I was. She asked if I was going to bring any friends or anything. I didn't know that I could and so I didn't ask anyone. She then went on to say "I brought my friend all the time when I didn't have a spouse because I didn't want to feel left out" or something to that extent. Well, fantastic. This was really the first idea that I had about it being not only my co-workers, but their families. =/ 

But just the way she said it, not even knowing that I'm widowed, "when I didn't have a spouse". But I DID have a spouse. But how am I supposed to say that. There are so many times where I want to relate to and connect with people on the topic of their spouses or being married. But I tend to kill the mood when I bring up my story if I'm asked, or even if I volunteer. That I was married. That I did have a husband. And if I don't explain that he passed away a year ago, I feel like people think that I'm divorced. And that's the LAST thing I want people to be thinking. I was very happily married. He died. It wasn't a choice. There was no option. Nothing in our relationship went wrong.

We also got an e-mail about the picnic tonight and at the end it was a reminder to bring our families and that they couldn't wait to see us and our families there. I instantly got a knot in my stomach with that line.

I really don't do the best in situations like that, yet. I don't like being around everyone who has a significant other there with them. Who has their kids running around. Makes me feel a bit left out, and definitely lonely. It makes me sad. I don't want to go by myself. I really wish I would have known that it's okay to bring friends before now. =/ I wish I had my family here, too. Bring someone with me.

I talked to my friend that works in ID with me (in a different section, though) about going to the picnic and she agreed it'd be a good idea to go. But she's not going to be there until 7 or 7:30. And she's coming with her new husband. I don't know if I'll hang around that long (all just depends) and it would be nice to meet her husband. Just stinks that I don't know anyone else in my department that is single. They all have boyfriends, husbands, and/or kids. -sigh-

Of course you want your spouse there. I finally have a job and I have been wanting to share this excitement with Spencer for almost a month now. I want to be able to take him to work related events. Meet MY friends. My co-workers. Introduce him to people that I'm around every day. Show him off because I'm proud of him and proud and happy to say that he's my husband. How my co-workers off to him because I'm happy to be working with the people I work with. 

But I can't. That's not an option now and it makes my heart hurt. Just something else I'm never going to get the opportunity to share with him. =/

I'm just hesitant to go. I don't want to feel out of place. I'm going, because I volunteered the tomatoes, but I don't know if I'll stay all that long. It depends who is there and if I feel comfortable around anyone. No one is saying I have to stay longer than I want. But I am nervous to go. I don't want to go, honestly. 

Hopefully it'll be better than I think it will, and I'm going to try to go into it with a fun and optimistic attitude. It's just been past experiences that haven't went the best for me that make me think this might be the same way!!!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


It's that one day of the month that I just don't really like. The 11th. The day I lost my father-in-law, my husband, and my grandma. As each month goes on, the month-a-versary gets a little bit easier. But it still hurts as it's just another reminder that they aren't here. Especially my husband. That it marks one more month without him. 9 Month today. 9 months. It's truly hard to believe!

Today wasn't too bad. When I realized it was the 11th this morning, my stomach tied itsself into a little knot and I started to let it get to me, but then I tried to convince myself that it was just another day and that it would be okay. I thought that it worked. But then I got to work and I really felt like I was in a fog all morning long. I couldn't focus. I wasn't consciously thinking about Spencer, but I know I was completely distracted from what I was doing. All because of the date and it's significance. It was kind of a tough morning just because I wanted to badly to fully focus, but wasn't able to. There was one moment where I just wanted to leave for a little bit and have a good cry when I was running a test and before I put my headphones in -- but I was able to hold it together and I got through okay.

I haven't mentioned this before, but I finally met another young widow. Not nearly as young as I am, but still young. I had orientation with 6 other people. I didn't think that I'd see any of them again, but I work in the same department (Infectious Disease) with 2 of them, Lauren and Mark. I have lunch with Lauren about every day and we're becoming fairly good friends. Well last week I was talking to Mark in the hallway. I have no idea what brought this up, but I mentioned how I lost my husband to CF last December. He nodded and kind of hesitated, told me he was sorry, and then mentioned how he was a widower. I was shocked. Something we have in common that INSTANTLY connected us. There was nothing that had to be said after he told me that. Nothing at all. We understood each other on a level that no one else can.

We just stood there for a little bit, looking at the ground, understanding the feelings going through each others minds. Understanding the unspoken words that never had to be said. Finally we started talking again about how old our spouses were, how much we loved them, how hard it is, how it is always hard, etc. I never did catch how his wife passed away, but that's okay. It doesn't matter. The fact is it happened and it sucks.

I have been thinking about him every day I am at work since that conversation. I've never met a younger widow before and I want to be able to talk about it. He's 3 years out and I want to know how he's doing. How he survived the first year. The second. The third. It almost leaves me in awe to see someone, in person, who has lost their spouse, who is surviving, and seems to be doing very well. Seems to be happy, even though internally is hurting. I know that other people think that about me, but I've never experienced it with someone else. I wonder how he made it through significant dates and etc. I just want to talk. I hope to maybe have lunch with him soon. Connect a little bit deeper on the unfortunate thing that we have in common. Maybe it wasn't a coincidence that we had orientation together. Maybe in some way we can help each other out through this. I don't know. I'm just most definitely empathetic to him and even though I barely know him -- I care. Because I know how much it can hurt. And how much it can help just to have someone to talk to that honest to goodness understands.

We exchange a nice greeting in the hallway at work when we catch each other on break and always ask how one another is doing. It always leads back to how we're doing at our new job. But I always wonder how he's doing. On the inside. Sometimes when I'm having a rough moment, I want to reach out to him. Just talk. Sometimes when he asks me how I'm doing (like this morning) I want to say, you know, I'm not doing okay right now. Because I know with those words - he would understand. He wouldn't necessarily have to say anything, but that's the thing about it. He'd understand he wouldn't have to. It's just something that no one else gets.

But anyway, I'm kind of, okay definitely, rambling on about that. I'm just "excited" about it.

I want to talk a little bit about my job because I am so happy with how it's going! I really wish Spence could be here because I know he would be SO proud of me. I want to see his face. The look in his eye. His smile. And hear his words when he would tell me how proud of me he was at how much I've accomplished in just a little over a months time. I know he'd be proud because for once, I'm actually very proud of myself.

Things at work are going great. I'm learning more and more each day and things are coming pretty familiar. I am starting to get further with my training modules and have completed about 4 of them. YAY! After they are graded and my supervisor signs off on them, I'm free to do things all by myself.

I have done 2 runs for strep-pneumo by myself and I've made 3 critical phone calls to clients about results by myself. I've done a couple of other prep for tests by myself. I'm definitely making progress and it makes me so happy! I'm still having some issues learning the computer system, but I'm getting there. So exciting! I still have A LOT to learn. But I'm finally familiar with mostly everything on the fecal side of things. Still need to learn how to run a couple of machines and get a better grasp on staining the different slides, but that will come with time. I am kind of excited to start learning the plating side of things :) I just want to know how to do it all!!!!

So grateful for this job, this condo, and everything that has been going right. I know I've had some rough days and weeks lately, but it all comes with this journey. It's going to happen.

I've been feeling a need to go to Orem to the cemetery and visit Spencer's grave. I think I'm going to try and go this Saturday. If any of his friends or family would like to join me, Please do. I will probably go down by myself, so I can spend a littttle bit of time there on my own (unless it's family who can't drive, then you can most definitely go down with me!!!!!), but I'd love some company. I want to talk about him and remember him with people who knew him, too. So please, let me know if you want to go on Saturday. I understand it's a bit of a drive. Totally get it. But it's worth it. It's Spencer. I can plan to meet you there. <3 nbsp="nbsp" p="p">
ALSO, one last thing, (whew this blog is longer than I planned)... I am done with my phlebotomy class!!!! I took my test and passed with 100%!!!! :) So now I am doing my externship. If anyone would like to volunteer to help me out, please let me know. I need at least 15 more sticks. I need people to be willing to come into the classroom with me (around 6:00, any day mon-friday) and volunteer for me to poke you to draw blood. I can poke you only once, or up to 4 times. I don't care :) It's up to you how much you're willing to let me :-P But your help would be appreciated!!!!!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

How could I?

Spencer has been on my mind every moment of every day since this last Thursday. Thursday morning I sat down on my computer before work and decided to look through Spencer's facebook profile pictures. This started what has been a very long few days of a deep ache for my husband. I am not overly sad. I am not having awful emotional pain. My heart doesn't constantly hurt with grief. I just feel a heaviness on my heart that hasn't been there for quite awhile. That is up until this very moment. I'm finally expressing some of this heaviness that I feel and it's finally turning into hurt, longing, and sadness.

There is this thought and realization that continues to loom over me that, "Oh. He's really, really not here anymore." and "He really was alive at one point. My faint memories aren't dreams. I was one of the biggest and happiest parts of his life, too." Also creeps into mind. The pictures are my proof that he existed at one point -- because anymore, my memory isn't good enough to convince myself he was truly here. 

But how can I forget? I ask myself this question constantly. How is it possible that I have forgotten so many things. That our past together is such a blur and feels like a dream that I was in, instead of something that I experienced for years. 

How could I possibly forget the way that he looked at me? When he was proud of me. When he was happy with me. The look that showed me how much he loved me. The look when he was in awe.

How could I forget the way he kissed me? So tenderly and with so much meaning. A kiss could say a thousand words that weren't able to be said. How could I forget the touch of his lips on mine? The way he ran his fingers through my hair. The gentle caress and hold to show he cared.

How could I forget his smile? The lines on his face. The way his eyebrows were always in 4 different directions at once. His crooked teeth. His pimples. His eyes. Oh his big, eyes, that I have a hard time even recalling the color of anymore. The little imperfections upon his face that made him unique and perfect in every way. 

How could I forget the fun that we shared? Even on the gloomiest of occasions. The way we tired to make the best out of the worse situations we faced. What other choice did we have? The way we were always joking around. How quick-witted he was to about everything anyone said. He jokes he cracked. 

How could I forget the understanding that we had between each other without even saying a single word? The comfort level we had with each other. The sympathy, and empathy, we both had. How could I forget the way we were so easily able to express feelings to one another without worry what the other would think?

How is it possible to forget the way that he made me laugh? The things he would say. The looks he would give. How could I forget the way we laughed together. The way his laugh sounded. 

How could I forget how much he loved being an uncle. How much he loved his little nieces to pieces. How much he talked about them and wanted to see them. Even though they annoyed him at times, he still enjoyed their company. He loved being an uncle yet I have forgotten just how much.

And how could I forget how much he LOVED his family. His brothers. His sisters. His parents. He was so proud of his siblings. They meant the world to him, truly. How could I forget the love that he had for each and every one of them?

And how could I possibly forget how much I meant to Spencer? How in the hell have I forgotten how much he loved me???!

How could I allow these memories to slip away? To fade from my mind? With time the ability to recall his name. His face. His quirks. His love. His EVERYTHING is slowly fading away. I can no longer think of Spencer and have a perfectly, pristine, and flawless picture painted in my mind. It's hazy and so many details have been lost. I have to rely on photos and accept that they are the closest way I can get to recalling his appearance and the memories that I have of him, and that we shared. And it's only been 9 months since I was last able to took at his face.

This terrifies me. I am trying SO hard to hold onto every little ounce of Spencer I have left in my mind, but no matter how hard I try, it all just slips away. New memories fill old ones. New experiences push back the ones that I want to keep closest. How much am I going to lose with everything that I gain? I only spent 3 years with him in person, and I have 70 or 80 more to live. I don't want to lose anymore of him. I've already lost the most important and significant part. What if pieces continue to slip away and I'm left with nothing? I don't want that to happen. That can't happen. 

I want to be able to recall memories and moments like they were just yesterday. But I can't anymore and that's because the big fat truth is that they weren't. They were over a year ago. Can you believe that? OVER A GOSH DARNED YEAR AGO! It was over a year ago that I was able to spend any time with him outside of the hospital. A year ago this month he got critically ill and I wouldn't ever get the opportunity to walk out of that hospital with him ever, ever again. Last September my life changed in ways I never thought imaginable. My world stopped turning and I was living on autopilot trying to save my husbands life. Last September I started grieving because deep down I knew things were serious and I wasn't ever going to get him back. 

I knew this month would be hard. I was doing okay.... It wasn't up until I stopped to look at him... to study his pictures that I realized what I have truly lost. I realized that I haven't looked at pictures of Spencer in over a month. I haven't been able to talk about him in over a month. Ever since I moved out here he's been a distant part of my mind. (aside from moments when people tell me how sorry they are and pity me for my loss). I have no one to talk to about Spencer. No one knows him like I did. No one knows him, period. Only my closest friends here (2) and his family know how much he meant to me and know the relationship that we had. I can't talk about him to my co-workers. To my new friends. They didn't know me when Spencer was part of my life and so I can't talk about him like I wish to. 

I would love for someone to sit down with me and be completely open about Spencer. To be able to remember him and talk about him like he was still here. But I haven't been given that opportunity.

I wish that someone would be willing to go to Spencer's grave with me and share stories about him. Remember him. Keep his spirit alive. Someone who I feel close enough to to be able to cry around. To be able to let it all out around. Perhaps someday I will ask someone. But it would be nice if someone would approach me about it instead. So I can know that he still gets visits from those who cared about him most. 

I just miss him. And it's so hard to express how much. I have so many people tell me that they miss him too, but it's all on a different level. Only the ones who were truly so close to him really know what it's like to miss him like I do. I wish he could be here with me. I wish we could still travel the journey of life together instead of me having to navigate it alone. 

I love him with all of my heart. He left a huge hole when he died. I can only hope that one day this hole will be filled with the good and the joys of life and that one day I will be OKAY with this hole getting filled instead of being scared of it being filled and erasing the past......

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Work, Moving, and Fun

I haven't written in my blog for a little while and so I wanted to just give an update... I have started about 3 or 4 different posts but I never could find the words I was looking for and so I have several saved drafts. Maybe some day I'll get around to finishing them since they are all on different topics ;-)

I just feel like I've been non-stop busy! But it's been the good kind of busy, really. By reading more you'll see!

New Job:
I am happy to say that this week is definitely going better than last week. Last week was by far the most difficult week that I've had since Spencer died. Hands down. Yes, I've had hard moments and even days, but nothing as extensive as last week was. It was just horrible. Starting out with being reminded he's gone, being completely overwhelmed with information, to ending the week with locking my keys in my car, walking home in the rain, and then remembering I'm locked out of the house as well until my friends get home from a birthday party. It was just horrid. I had a lot of anxiety on Monday (I had the day off) about going back to work on Tuesday. I wasn't sure where the lab coats are kept and I was panicing about getting lost finding them. LUCKILY I must have remembered something because I very easily found them and I haven't gotten lost once this week! I'm making progress!

Yesterday one of my co-workers helped me out a TON by helping me print out me training modules and giving me a MUCH better idea about what I'm going to be working on day-by-day in the lab as I'm training. Yesterday I did a lot of observing, and then did a few tests under observation.

But today was a big day for me! My trainer for the day had me run strep pneumo antigen tests on Urine. (for those interested, and because I want to feel smart!!, a strep pneumo infection can lead to things such as meningitis, pericarditis, endocarditis, arthritis, etc). Since I observed them being done yesterday, I was able to run the tests by myself today under observation! This is a critical test (meaning if there is a positive result it's life-threatening to the patient) and so if you have a positive result you're responsible for calling the client within 15 minutes after verification of the results. Which leads me to why it was such a huge and successful day for me! :) I observed 1 critical value call yesterday, and 2 today... and so I was qualified to make the phone call today to our client. If any of you know me very well, you know that I am terrified of making phone calls (and sometimes even answering them...). I HATE talking on the phone. I get so, so much anxiety leading up to it, when really, after I've made the call it isn't so bad. So I was really stressing out about doing this call.... but at the same time was feeling confident in it since I'd observed 3 previously.
Turns out -- everything went just fine! I did wonderfully and it really wasn't a huge deal at all. I was really proud of myself for *hopefully* not showing my anxiety and just diving in and doing it. (after, of course, writing out a short script to go by HA!)

Today I was also able to do a batch of O&P (ova and parasites) testing by myself (well, someone made sure I started out okay, but it was just someone watching over my shoulder!). I'm starting to learn the steps on my own without having to be prompted -- something I'm proud of! I feel like I'm catching on fairly quickly. I ran another test as well (well most of it), but I can't remember what it was.

I am still having issues learning the computer systems that we use... But I haven't used them very much.  Towards the end of the day I was starting to recognize the icons and kind of remember how to get to certain things. Picking it up slowly, but surely.

So overall -- I am liking my job :) It's stressful and very overwhelming, but a lot of fun when I start picking up on things and am able to do it by myself. My co-workers, so far, have been wonderful and very helpful. I'd be lost, VERY LITERALLY, without them!

So I am so happy that I can finally say I've MOVED and it's no longer temporary! I am SO excited to be moved in somewhere. It's fantastic. I was looking on KSL and wasn't finding too many places that would work out for me. A friend suggested and upon checking it out, I immediately found a listing that sounded PERFECT and so I called right away. They seemed very interested in me, and so I looked at the place that weekend and got the green light to move in the next week! I am now living in Salt Lake City, only about 5 minutes away from ARUP which is fantastic :) It is a condo and it's a very, very nice place. It is pretty small, but the way things are set up makes it seem much bigger. my room is VERY tiny, but I'm making due. It's cozy and a space that is completely mine where I can relax if I need to, or just do whatever I need to do.
We have a pool which has been lovely! I've been lap swimming and I'm loving it. Finally a work out that I can do that I WANT to do and that I really enjoy doing. It doesn't feel like a work out. It's relaxing and a lot of fun.
The only downside of where I live = the walls are paper thin! You can hear EVERYTHING! I am SO thankful that at night, everyone is very quiet. I have never been woken up by noise. But during the day is another question ;-) It really doesn't bother me too much, it's just something I'm trying to get used to. You just can't have it all ;-)

Tomorrow is my last phlebotomy class! I feel like it's went by so quickly! I get to take the test tomorrow. We are going to work on butterfly needles, finger sticks, and general veins tomorrow as well. I've really enjoyed this class. I have wonderful classmates and amazing teachers. I am definitely nervous about it being over, but I still have an externship to do. And knowing that I can come back at any time and practice drawing blood is nice and puts me at ease. I can practice all I need to so that I can be comfortable with what I'm doing. I still don't feel confident with drawing blood on people who's veins are a little bit harder to find. I haven't been too successful with that. =/ But it just takes practice with palpating to find them. My figure will eventually be able to hone into where the veins are. Practice makes perfect!
I have volunteered to do a health fair at Sams Club on Saturday where we will do finger sticks to do cholesterol checks for people. It will count towards some of my externship, will be great on my resumes, and be good for experience. I'm actually excited for it :-)

Firstly... I LOVE Acappella. The power of the human voice is amazing. The things these people are able to do with their voice is amazing. Everything about it is AMAZING... So Aug 25th I went to Acappella Stock in Ogden and It was SO MUCH FUN! I'm really bummed that I, once again, had to go by myself, but it was worth it. I had a great time. They had some great groups there. Eclipse, T Minus 5, Delilah (from The Sing-Off!), The Bobs (I honestly wasn't a huge fan, but still good entertainment!). Delilah is an all-girls group and definitely at the top of my favorite list!! Their sound was AMAZING. Their range is great. I can't even describe it. Unfortunately my video isn't very good for their group, but please check at least two of their songs (two of my favorites! Aren't they AMAZING?)

Eclipse also comes in at the top of my favorite list. They are from Utah and I have been listening to them every single day (nearly!) since ACappellastock! They are GREAT. I don't really have the best video from them either, but here is a Youtube video of one of my favorites :)

So there you have it! If I get a chance I want to post another blog with pictures and some of the better videos I have from that night... These groups really know how to entertain the crowd!!! :)

I am also SUPER excited to go to a Train concert September 20th with my friends Adam and Christine! :) It will be so very fun!! And I can't leave out the day before, on the 19th, I am going to a "The Piano Guys" concert at Red Butte Gardens! The Concert will be recorded for PBS. Tickets were only $25 for about 2 hours of entertainment and I am in LOVE, IN LOVE with The Piano Guys. I am so excited!!!!! =D Does anyone in Utah want to go with me on the 19th? Please let me know because I'd love to have a friend go along! So much more fun that way!!!