Tuesday, June 29, 2010

date of death.

One enters the medical field knowing that as much as your top priority is to help patients get better, sometimes death is imminent. In my specialty, technology has given us the gift to keep even the tiniest miracles alive. Ventilators assist damaged lungs. Dialysis replaces damaged kidneys. Medications can ease pain but it is these great advancements that consequently put us in incredible predicaments of not knowing when to stop providing care. How are we to decide that the interventions are causing more harm than good? Where do we even begin to define the quality of life of a little angel sweetly swaddled in a bassinet trapped inside a body paralyzed by faulty DNA?

It is never an easy decision... one that ultimately the parents have to make. The decision that furthering care is only prolonging the inevitable. That while we can sustain a life, she will not actually live one day of it. How do you decide? How do you set the date of death?

All cases in the NICU are super sad but every once in a while, there are certain patient's stories that hit me harder than others; mostly the ones without the happy endings. The ones that I can't rationalize in my head that it is okay. The ones that I find myself at the bedside constantly asking myself why bad things happen to good people? Why the sweetest families that truly appreciate all the care provided for them and their baby seem to always have the worst outcomes.

I think I have cried every day at work for the past month observing a situation you can only hope you yourself will never have to face; the ultimate test of strength. Strength as a mom. Strength as a wife. Strength as a person. The strength to let go. The strength to overcome. The strength to move on.

As I left the hospital tonight, I shed my usual tears but this time it was tears of relief, knowing you will finally be in a better place. You touched the hearts of many people in your short little life. Rest in peace, baby girl.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

i want you.

So it's not gonna be easy. It's gonna be really hard. We're gonna have to work at this every day, but I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, for ever, you and me, every day.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

why I do what I do.

I often struggle at my job with whether or not we are doing the right thing by saving some of the tiny lives that we do. Their lungs are underdeveloped requiring a ventilator to breathe for them. Their brains are so fragile, the deliveries often cause bleeds that leave them with developmental delays. Their tummies are too premature to digest food right away and often don't tolerate being fed long after they leave the NICU. They have faulty immune systems that don't fight infections effectively and the tiniest bug can spread throughout every organ in their body. They often have vision problems and hearing problems too.
Being premature literally affects every part of their tiny body and while we now have the technology to help them survive, I often fear their quality of life will not be worth the amount of pain they endure just to reach their due date. Its like we're committing daily little acts of torture on their tiny bodies when as something as simple as taking a temperature can cause them pain having immature pain receptors. I struggle with this everyday at my job wishing we would just know the outcomes of all the painful interventions we as nurses must do to keep these little babies alive. On the days that I struggle the most, I remind myself of my good friend Katie's tiny miracle who was born at 26 weeks gestation weighing less than 2 pounds and survived her two month NICU stay problem-free! Kylie is happy and healthy as can be! Living in California when she was born (in Florida at Christopher's NICU), I wondered when I would ever get to meet her. Maybe you remember me blogging about running in to her last summer in the Minneapolis airport but I was super excited when we drove up to Winnipeg last October and got to stop in Albuquerque to see them again! Its real miracles like little Kylie Marie that remind me why I do what I do!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

april showers brings...

...more rain!?? Where the hell are my flowers and when will this rain ever stop?? At least if I lived in Seattle, I could don a bright yellow raincoat and some polka-dotted rain boots and head to the Pike Place Market or the pier but a continuous drizzle in Winnipeg only highlights it's greyness and leaves me nowhere to go but back in to hibernation! Rain, rain, go away. Come again in four months when I have relocated. Just kidding! (P.S. For those of you who are geographically challenged, this is where I live in relation to you! Right above North Dakota about an hour from the border. Miss you, America! ooxo)

Friday, June 11, 2010


Thank Goodness it's Friday ... how is it Friday already?! I have not blogged since Monday which means I'm 3 days behind on my 30 day blogging challenge. I've worked the past couple of days and working 12 hour shifts just doesn't allot a lot time for blogging ... I've spent my entire day off super cleaning my apartment tackling the clothes mountain that always seem to accumulate in our room (and by always, I mean since I was like five years old). It's been so miserable outside raining every single day this week and kind of cold (again!). Because there's not much to do when it rains, I also have been going through my blog posts and reading old saved drafts. Most of them are incomplete thoughts that I start out passionately writing about something I really needed to get off my chest but then I never really run anywhere with it. I organized them and decided to post them to make up for my lost three days.

short stories.

9/16/09 - the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
I recently received an e-mail from a childhood friend of my mother's. She mentioned in the e-mail her favourite memories from growing up with my Mum. It made me laugh because I spent the majority of my childhood years following her around wanting to be just like her when I grow up. She was always my best friend. Somewhere in my preteen years, I decided she was the weirdest person ever ... just like every teenager, I was encumbered my hormones and nothing she could do was right anymore. She listened to Bob Marley. Weird. She did yoga. Weirder. She ate tofu. Weirdest. But as I figure out who I am I realize I am turning in to my mother. And I couldn't be happier.

10/25/08- untitled.
sometimes i just wish i could go back. back to a time when goodbyes weren't for forever. friendships werent held across countries. hearts weren't breakable. saturdays were only game days. bed times didnt exist. work was defined by what you wanted to do in a day. it was acceptable not eat meals. it was okay to not have a dog, not that you werent capable. exhaustion was only felt at the end of a really good workout. somewhere comfortable. somewhere familiar. somewhere unknown. genuine source of happiness was a 2-year-old. always laughing. knew how to stand up for myself. i want to advance to a world where i knew how to protect my own heart. knew how to say no. knew all the answers. understood why. trusted. loved. one where i certain about my ability. able to love. able to rationalize. able to learn. able to breathe.

9/17/08 - anatomy of goodbye.
I've never been one much for saying goodbye. I find them tragic. This summer I have discovered there are several different versions of goodbyes. There are the goodbye for good in which I will probably never see the person again, co-workers, peers. There are the see you soons' in which this couldn't possibly be the last time I going to see you again. There are the pain staking, heart wrenching how will I go on without you in my daily life goodbyes. There are the I never realize how awesome it was having you in driving distance, holy cow there is a country between us now goodbyes. There are the I'm only saying goodbye so I can start counting down the days til I am going to see you again goodbye. There are the I know you're only a phone call away but what do I do when I need a hug? goodbye. There are the I didn't know I was saying goodbye goodbyes, in which I would have held on a little longer....

8/7/08 when i grow up...
When I grow up, I want to be a dj.

7/27/08 - Elderly Advice
I've had a lot of coffee talk this summer with Grams and her friends. They are full of wisdom and are always offering advice ... here are a couple of things I've learned from my elders:
  1. it's just as easy to marry someone with money than it is to marry someone who is poor.
  2. a leopard never changes his spots.

7/24/08 - What If?
i'm not sure if it is the fabulous runs i have been taking down endless country roads, through fields of bright, yellow canola with zero humidity that has allowed me to run for miles and completely clarify my mind or if it the incessant amount of free time, uninterrupted by modern day (cell phones, google, malls), that I have had the past month but I have found myself ruminating about everything lately. No single thought enters my mind without eluding to a thirty-minute rumination of all the details and strategies and pros and cons involved with the matter at hand. I've found myself constantly asking "what if?" What if my life doesn't turn out like I dream? What if I fail? What if I never learn when I've given too much? On the contrary, what if I didn't give enough? What if orange really is the new pink? I guess this is the weight of the real world everyone has warned me about.

excerpts of: The Gallo Family.

I found several unfinished posts about the Gallo Family. I guess I found it super hard to put in to words just how amazing they are! From their cooking (read: Gourmet Gallos) to their passion for volunteerism (read: Intertwined.) they are an incredible family and I am incredibly lucky to call them my own.
4/30/09 - Tarara Winery
While in Washington, the Gallos and I went to a fabulous wine tasting at a local winery, Tarara. It was interesting trying all the different wines made here with their interesting bodies and flavors (I don't really know much about tasting wine.) My favorite part of the day was driving through the country feeling so disconnected from civilization, a nice change from LA life.

6/15/08 - Intertwined
Happy Father's Day to the greatest Dad I know! It is hard to put into words the amazingness that is Mr. Rick! He is quite possibly the most selfless person I have ever known. Dedicating countless hours for decades to the March of Dimes, he embodies the true meaning of philanthropist.

12/28/08 - Danny.
When you have had the same best friend since 6th grade, you have had many conversations about your ideal man. And it makes me so happy to know my bestie will be marrying her perfect match!

12/28/08 - Gourmet Gallo.
My favourite part of coming back to Florida is the home cooked meals and Barb definitely raises the bar for good home cooking! She makes the most yummiest meals for every meal of the day.

7/21/09- A random act of kindness.
Just before Father's Day, I received an incredibly touching e-mail from Mr. Rick. He was writing to tell "his daughters" (how lucky am I to be included in that category!) that he already had everything he could ever ask for from Megan, Carly and I just in the young women we are and how proud we make him in the accomplishments we achieve and that all that he wanted for this Father's Day was for us to do something kind for someone else and tell him about it. He suggested we help the elderly or call someone that we would know would love to hear from us or something simple like that that would make a big difference in the lives of those around us. I immediately began searching for the perfect opportunity to commit my act of kindness but being on holidays and working non-stop didn't seem to present many opportunities to do any grand gesture I thought was worth telling about. Never good at giving obligatory gifts (holidays, birthdays, etc.) I decided to approach this gift to Mr. Rick the only way I know how to give gifts ... randomly; when I come across something that reminds me of someone I get it simply because I think they would like it ... not because I have to. It was hard to achieve a sense of randomness when I was so conscious of completing this task, especially since Father's Day was only a couple of days away... but I eventually put it out of my mind hoping the perfect opportunity would come about. I wouldn't say that this is any grand gesture but it was definitely random: I take the same short six mile drive to work everyday. When I get off the 101 at the Sunset Blvd exit I immediately have to stop at the top of the ramp and everyday at the stop sign is a guy who looks hot and weathered. Usually I spend my time at stoplights with homeless people begging at them trying not to make eye contact and anxiously awaiting for the light to turn green. I would never give them money and never have any food in my car. But this guy is young. Probably in his mid-twenties and his sign says "just keep living". There is certain sadness in eyes that breaks my heart. The only way I can stay awake working nights is to eat. Continuously. For 12 hours straight. Always getting so excited for all the food at Trader Joe's I usually just take an entire brown paper bag full of food instead of portioning it out. Today my bag consisted of white bean hummus with whole wheat naan bread, a pear and gorgonzola salad, vitamin water, raspberries, strawberries, a banana, cauliflower/broccoli medley, and the list goes on. I was sitting at the light and I could hear Mr. Rick's voice in my head and I rolled down my window and handed over my entire breakfast/lunch/dinner to him. His stone face never wavered but I felt satisfied knowing he would have a good meal today.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010


I always start to write posts about Winnipeg but surprisingly, they never seem to go anywhere. I found a draft entitled "Winnipeg" and when I opened it, it was blank. Hmph.

Another draft I found was this post entitled "March Madness": March Madness is not just a term applicable to the college basketball tourney that can be found displayed on every TV in every sports bar at the moment with millions of intoxicated male alumni decked out from hat to the custom-made sneakers in their coveted alma mater's team logos probably icing each other, it's also a term I have applied to my Winnipegan life. Starting off, I just returned from a fabulous week's vaca in California to come home to snow and -31 degrees weather... that is madness.

That's as far as I got with that post.

But tonight, I discovered the magic of B.D.I. Well, in all honesty, I actually went there for the first time with Kristy and Heather last week but I feel like I felt the full effect tonight when Mitch and I went there for Date #2. I got a Skor flurry spoon shake (the closest thing I can get to a cookie dough blizzard) and M got a mixed berry shake. There were lots of couples on dates and families with kids! The line was as long as it was in this picture (I still have not replaced my camera but Google Image has become my new blogging best friend!)
After we got our treats, we walked over the bridge (B.D.I. stands for Bridge Drive-In) and through a quiet neighborhood on the other side looking at all the cute houses along the river that winds through Winnipeg and really screws up traffic... errr..
It has been super nice out lately and stays light out until about 10 so I plan to take full advantage of these long summer nights! =)

Sunday, June 06, 2010


Congratulations to Creed & Kara.
Kara's in-laws had a fabulous wedding reception for them this past weekend. I'm sure Kara will blog about the details but I couldn't resist posting this super sweet picture of the two of the them at the "Honey Do" Shower.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

thanks for being a friend.

us now.
us in ten years.
us in 30 years.When I watch Sex & the City, I think that's us (without the Chanel and the City) in ten years. Helping each other through marriages and parenting and careers. When I see groups of little old women, I (immediately think that I could never imagine reaching that age but) smile at the thought of knowing we will be planning Eternal Roommate Reunions for the next 50 years and no matter where life takes us, these three girls will always be a phone call/plane ride away! Maybe our girlfriends are our soul mates and guys are just people to have fun with. I know this is a quote from Sex & the City but Candace Bushnell brings up a really great point. The concept of a soul mate is really weird to me. Finding one person you're meant to perfectly match; your other half. A natural affinity to a complete stranger but a soul you have loved in many lifetimes before. I've decided my soul was divided into quarters and these are the three that complete me. Thanks for being a (soul)mate!

Friday, June 04, 2010

perfectly aligned.

I am thinking it's a sign that the freckles in our eyes are mirror images
and when we kiss they're perfectly aligned.

I know I said I wasn't going to just post pictures with quotes (or in this case lyrics: Such Great Heights by The Postal Service! = amazing.) so I'm going to elaborate on the handsome man with his arm around me in the picture who just so happens to my boyfmate. Mitch and I have known each other for quite awhile but like I have mentioned in previous posts, he doesn't actually remember me being a part of his childhood 'til fall semester of sophomore year in college when we started an e-mail correspondence in "a pathetic attempt to keep in touch" (that was the subject line). I'm not really sure what prompted this seemingly harmless catching up by two childhood friends but what resulted was a completely unexpected, insanely intense stream of love letters that had me racing back to my dorm in between classes to check my Inbox to see if my personal Shakespeare had responded. I specifically can remember sitting on my beanbag chair with my two roommates (fingertips shaking, heart racing) as I clicked "open" where the three of us would proceed to read and reread each e-mail until every word was committed to memory. It would then take us three days and an entire tube of cookie dough to respond, making sure each sentence was perfectly executed with the right amount of intelligence and humour.

(Sidenote: When I asked Mitch if he remembered the emails we sent in his college he said, "Mmm-hmm" and when I asked what he remembered about them his response was: "That we sent them." I might be going out on a limb here but I have a feeling he wasn't racing back to the Hockey House to see if I had replied.)

My favourite aspect of our penpalship was the format of our e-mails. I remember thinking how do you try to rekindle a childhood friendship now that we were quasi-adults (it was college; there was nothing real worldish about it.) so I started asking super childish questions like what's you favourite colour (baby blue) and favourite movie (Dead Poets Society). Mitchell had incredibly well thought out answers to my questions but it was the questions he proposed to me that really intrigued me. What's your favourite book? If you could meet anyone, who would it be? What are you passionate about? Where do you want to travel? His questions were so intellectual. When I would go visit him in Phoenix we would get completely lost in conversation and stay up all night talking about world issues, politics and random thoughts like the difference between being naive and closed-minded. To this day, the witty banter that occurs on a daily basis in our lives now is still a perfect blend of intelligence and humour, I'm still asking childish questions (mostly about the game of hockey) but Mitch is no longer as elated to stay up all night talking as I get lots of responses like "Why couldn't you think of these questions during the daytime?"

Thursday, June 03, 2010

to bang or not to bang?

That is the question that has crossed my mind a lot recently...

GETCHO MIND OUT DA GUTTER!! I was referring to my most recent hair experiment. While in Studio City last week, I had Tate, my fabulous hair stylist who I still go to since I frequent LA enough my roots don't even grow out (no, I'm not this natural of a blonde), said he'd be honoured to cut "blunt bangs" as I like to call them for my first time. While I think it was all pleasure for him (typical) I was scared it would hurt and was worried what people would think of me (Seriously! We're talking hair here.) I know this picture is blurry as I lost my camera at a sporting event...

... when some rabid fan in front of me swung his towel in my face (just another reason why I don't attend them), spilt my wine (yes, I was drinking white wine at a hockey game) and sent my camera flying in to a crowd of 25,000 die-hards. Okay, I'm not really sure of the exact moment I lost my camera but all I know is I was taking lots of the pics during the warm-up skate (Mitch made me sit through it) and the fan with the helicopter towel really spilled my vino but as far as when my camera disappeared in to the red and navy blue abyss, I don't know...

Back to the bangs ... so I don't have any of my own pictures and had to crop this one from someone else's Facebook album who did have a vessel for taking photogs. Since this picture was taken, I have kept my bangs pinned back and haven't found the courage to rock them again. While I felt ready and knew it was with the right guy (Tate is an amazing stylist) and even though my blunt bangs may be pinned back for the rest of the summer, I know I'll never forget my first time... that one time... that I rocked bangs!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

lost in translation.

It was such a nice day outside so Mitch and I went to Assiniboine Park and spent our mid-afternoon reading books in the sunshine today. It's not very often that I lay out in parks but when I am do I'm always reminded of the time someone (although I can't remember who) recommended Carly and I go lay out at the Boboli Gardens when we were living in Florence. It was such a beautiful day and we just wanted somewhere to relax with a book after five weeks of traveling literally everyday so we packed a towel & a novel and trekked across the city up to the very top of the Boboli Hill. We entered through an amazing palace, the Palazzo Pitti, where the famous Medici family once lived (?- I'm not very good with historical facts but something Medici happened here). We were surrounded by an amazing collection of sculptures, grottos and gardens and the greenery looked like am amazing place to relax in the sun. Within seconds after we had laid out our towel and stripped down to our bikinis, a security man came over quite frazzled and in broken English told us that sunbathing was not permitted in the Gardens. I remember being quite confused as a local specifically told us this was one her favourite things to do (I think). Obviously, something was lost in translation - like she actually laid out in a garden near the Boboli or similar to the Boboli but it couldn't have possibly been the actual Giardino di Boboli. Upon returning to the US and being reunited with the internet, I remember googling the Boboli Garden and in retrospect, I've decided that our Italian mishap would be similar to an Italian laying out in Arlington Cemetery.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

a (new) 30-day challenge.

Summer is finally here and with the sunshine shining (the antidote to blogger's block), I've decided to try a new 30-day challenge ... one that still offers me the clarity and peace of mind that the hot yoga challenge offered with less (severe) dehydration and kidney pain: to blog everyday for the next 30 days. That's the entire month of June. And with my current blogging track record, this will be a serious challenge. Thankfully, I have lots to blog about (mostly all the exciting things that happened in May that I didn't get around to blogging about with a little life-altering decisions to be made at the end of June and a fancy finish detailing all the fun things happening in July). With a daily dose of Vitamin D in my (summer) diet, I am hoping the optimistic writing juices will just come pouring in ... to be poured right back out in the form of awesome blog posts and not just pictures with conscientious quotes as the tag lines (Read: All seven posts from the month of May)!