Friday, October 15, 2010

Reality Check

The war was brought home to me this morning. Not that these wars are not clearly evident to me every single day, they are. I work in a place filled with human reminders that we are at war. Today though, it was very personal! I learned one of my former coworkers, a hard working handsome young man who deloyed as a medic to Afghanistan, was badly injured by an IED. Via sketchy information we know he has lost both his legs but do not know about the true extent of his injuries. We expect him to arrive CONUS some time in the next few days.

I see the injuries of the deployed every single day at work and have felt saddness, disgust and anger at the extent of their injuries. But never have I felt this "knot in the pit of my stomach" horror I feel upon learning the news of our medic. I have cried plenty for my patients and their families, I have attended their funerals. But now it has happened to someone I personally know and I cannot describe this feeling of wrongness. I cry for a young idealistic medic and I can't even begin to tell you how I feel about what I know lies ahead.

Please pray for him, his family and for those of us medical providers whose honor it will be to care for him.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Never Forget

Remembering. . . .on this September 11, 2010.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Check this Groupon Coupon out! 67% off wine deal

If you haven't found Groupon yet, you and you live in Portland Oregon or several other cities that are covered by Groupon you will find this interesting. Sign up for Groupon, It is free..... Then you receive the coupon of the day, todays coupon is for 75 dollars worth of wine for 25 dollars. That is hard to beat!

This is also has a benefit for you if you get into it and refer other people you benefit as well, which is why I am buying 75 dollars of wine for 15 dollars.

Friday, July 16, 2010

NPR Story

Please take a moment to read the NPR story titled "Minus A Leg, Still On A Mission In Afghanistan". The soldier featured in the article is one of my former patients. I was thrilled to see it!


Tuesday, July 06, 2010

So I know I haven't written anything in a long time, either here or on The Sandbox and I'm sure some of you are wondering "where's Clara? Is she still around?"

Yep, I'm still around. Still taking care of the wounded and trying not to let the things I see overwhelm every aspect of my life which, lately, has been very difficult. You simply wouldn't believe the crud that has transpired or the hell we have been subjected to. I can't even write about it as I just do not have the desire to relive those memories.

My puppy is good, she makes me laugh on a daily basis, which I'm glad for. She's such a goofball with her antics that it never fails to bring on a smile or a chuckle. I have somehow (not completely sure how) ended up with an abandoned cat. I'm not a cat fan, never have been and probably never will be. When some neighbors moved out, took their dogs but abandoned their cat outside in the winter right before a huge blizzard I didn't have the heart to let her fend for herself. So I started setting food out so she wouldn't starve. One day when a nurse friend, who had just returned from Iraq, was staying with me the cat ended up in the house. The next thing I know the cat and the dog are good buddies. Now cat and puppy sleep side by side and play together. I've been looking for a good home for her, somewhere other than my home but so far no one wants to take her. Hmm. . . .

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

NYC, here we come! FDNY Wounded Warrior Fundraiser

Wandering up to NYC this weekend with some of my fellow nurses to attend a wounded warrior fundraiser hosted by the New York City Fire Department. FDNY is a HUGE supported of our WIA's and the medical staff! So we decided to go show our support to them! If you're in the area of Fire Island Beach on Long Island on Saturday, June 12 you should stop by! Cost is $25.00, it starts at 2:00 PM and it ought to be a grand time.

Also anyone want to be a tour guide for some weary nurses who need a nice break? ;-)

Friday, May 28, 2010

Memorial Day

I know I should put up a post about the Memorial Day weekend but I simply can not do it. That would entail me having to think and exert energy and after the past 3 weeks at work I'm tapped out. Too many WIA's arriving, too many of them triple or quadruple amputees and too many dying. Too many horrible things experience and too much emotional turmoil.

Please take a moment to remember this weekend, as for me I'll be trying to forget. But I doubt I will.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Gresham Auto Care

I would like to take the opportunity to introduce my newest endeavor, Honest-1 Auto Care of Gresham.

It is owned and operated by Oregon Veterans of the Oregon National Guard, with service in Afghanistan.

We offer an Eco-friendly auto care and repair solution for people in the Gresham area. Honest-1 Auto Care plants a tree for every car serviced by our nationwide chain. We focus on providing a customer centric approach to automotive repair, offering comfortable clean facilities with flat screen TV's, both wireless and wired internet cafe' and a child's play area.
We are members of the Gresham Area Chamber of Commerce, and offer fleet services, employee discounts, a military discount, and an environmentally responsible option for automotive repair. If you are in the Gresham area, please add us to your Facebook list

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Happy Nurses Week

It's Nurses Week! Please take a minute and thank a nurse who's made a difference in your life! I know they will appreciate it, I certainly do! It is so very reaffirming even with all the tragic things we encounter that we are still valued for what we do.

Happy Nurses Week to all my fellow nurses!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

I really am beginning to believe that old cliche "A good man is hard to find". In the past month I've had the opportunity to spend time with a couple of fascinating men who repeatedly tell me they "enjoy my company" or "I had such a good time with you, we'll go out again" or even "I'd like to see you again". Only to have them disappear off the face of the earth never to be heard from again. I don't get it! Be honest with me, I'm a big girl, I'm not going to get hysterical at the thought you might only want to "be friends".

And then to add insult to injury in trying to be a patient and family advocate the civilian RN in me inadvertently pissed off a military RN. Ohhh boy! Let me tell ya! That was bad news! You'd think we did the job we do to help people but NOPE, that is not the case as was clearly evident by the military nurse's attitude and complaints. I'm thinking she doesn't know what the word "compassionate" means. Needless to say Clara is now in a time out.

So in the past couple of weeks I've had my prfessional integrity questioned and my personal attractibility (is that even a word??) devalued. Nothing like feeling worthless both professionally and personally.

I think I hear the beach calling my name. . . .waves crashing on the shore, warm weather and sunny skies. . . .ocean therapy. . . oh where are you??

Saturday, April 03, 2010

I'm three days into a stretch of seven off. Where do I start? Do I tell you after receiving the quadruple amputee from the aerovac team I drove home in tears? I cried the entire drive home and continued to cry, seated on the floor of my living room, puppy at my side. Returning to work the following day I felt as if I simply went through the motions of my job. I wasn't assigned to the young man missing limbs and I was thankful for that. Later that night as I lay in bed eyes closed the picture that I saw over and over was of a man with no legs and no arms.

I wanted to talk with friends, combat veterans all of them. One medical, the other a ground pounder. I needed to talk with a combat vet, someone who has seen the horrors I witnessed and who could without a doubt relate to the thoughts in my head. But they were too busy, busy with their lives and jobs and they had no time for me. The "in"significant other is no more. He's another that was too busy and I clearly was not on his priority list. So with nary a word I ceased any contact I may have had with him.

Please tell me when this heart of mine will find someone who thinks I am the best thing that ever happened to him? Is that too much to ask? Or am I deceiving myself in thinking it might actually happen?

I tried to retreat to the beach, a place of solitude for me. The waves crashing on the shore, the warm sun as I sit on the sand is therapy of a priceless kind. For three days I wanted to run by the ocean with an empty mind, run until my thoughts purged themselves of everything sad and ugly. I wanted to laugh at puppy as she chased seagulls, head cocked at that perplexed angle and eat ice cream and funnel cakes and other fat filled comfort foods. That therapy too was doomed as puppy became ill and home we went, in search of our vet.

Tomorrow is Easter. How I wish for a rebirth too! A resurrection of my compassion, joy and peace. How I wish for the ability to sleep at night without visions of dead Soldiers and Marines missing limbs, skulls, faces. Tomorrow on the most joyous day of the Christian faith I pray I shall find the comfort that, of late, has been most elusive.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Wow! Has it really been over a month since I posted anything? It doesn't seem like it but then again it does. It's not that I haven't anything to write about, I do, it's just that it required emotional energy I haven't wanted t0 expend.

I finished up my work week, one that was probably one of the worst I have had in a very, very long time. Too many horrors and tragedies seen and experienced, a story about one of them will soon appear on The Sandbox. I spent 90 minutes today practicing krav maga, a martial arts I've been doing for well over a year now. The punching and kicking seemed to help with some of the angst but at other times I wanted to scream at the injustice of life.

My significant other returned home safe from Afghanistan. Only he returned home to another state and I didn't even know for almost a week. I wonder how "significant" he will remain. All in all I'm glad he's back safely.

One bright point in this week's darkness is the appearance of a former patient. A patient of mine two years ago I saw him walk down the hall of the ICU this week in uniform and I couldn't have been happier to see him fully recovered and back to work!

It's late now and the battery on the computer is flashing low so I'm going to stop my rambling and call it a night.
All the best,

Sunday, February 14, 2010

This was written by a coworker currently deployed on board the USNS Comfort.

This From Clara:

This is part of an email written by one of my coworkers who is currently deployed aboard the USNS Comfort. I thought it was worth sharing.

I decided to stay after work to type an update to all of my family and friends. So as we enter into our third week here aboard the Comfort I have realized the great strength of the Haitian people. I have watched mothers cry and mourn the loss of their child here in the ICU, with no clue if any other family member has survived the earthquake or if they did, where they currently might be.
I have seen God's mercy over a mother and her premature infant after her house had collapsed on her causing her water to break. She went around for a week until the Comfort came and then delivered her baby here on our ship. The baby was said to have a no chance of life. But GOD! That baby is still thriving. I have done chest compressions on another little boy babe who has no evidence of parents and who was found in the rubble supposedly by a search and rescue team. He has stolen my heart the most because he doesn't have a mom or dad to come console him, so I do it!!!

So as you all go to bed tonight, think of the 100, 000 survivors who didn't make the death toll which is 200,000. They sleep out on the street because they are afraid to sleep in the house as another
aftershock can take the only inkling of a place they call home. We are so blessed and fortunate to have a home and we still complain about getting a bigger one or not having this type of basement or patio. I thank God daily for this humbling experience. I am allowing God to use me to encourage mothers and fathers to keep the faith and also give me healing hands to heal the sick. He has been using me as I see a new miracle every day. Continue to pray for my strength in the Lord and I pray my return will be quick but only after my purpose has been fulfilled aboard USNS COMFORT.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Tubbs Romp to Stomp out Breast Cancer one snow shoe at a time.

When our friend Pam was diagnosed with Cancer, our entire neighborhood was affected, as was everyone else she knows, fortunately we have finally heard some good news respecting her health, but good news does not mean the war is won, and she will continue to have to fight this for the foreseeable future.

One of her daughters has chosen to participate in the Romp to Stomp out Breast Cancer, and I thought it would be appropriate to post this here to allow people the opportunity to help support Lindsay in her efforts to support Susan G. Komen for the cure.

In that light below is the email that Lindsay sent out to support her mom, and the links on this blog will take you to Lindsay's page where you can donate if you would like to. In a real sense this is potentially donating to your own friends and family. Please click through and read what she has to say, and give what you feel is appropriate.

Hello friends and family!

As many of you know, my mom Pam was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. In support of her and other women in their fight against cancer, I have decided to participate in this year's Romp to Stomp Snowshoe Series. Please check out my personal page (link below) and consider supporting this cause through participation, donation and/or encouragement.
Please also consider forwarding on this email to others who might also be interested in the cause. Thank you for your support. I look forward to hearing from you as I track my progress toward my fundraising goal of $500.
I hope to see some of you on Saturday, February 27th with your snowshoes!

Personally I believe we can help Lindsay raise more than $500 for this cause.

Very Respectfully,


Saturday, February 06, 2010

Growing up again

When I was 18 I thought I was a grown man because I had joined the army, and I had jumped out of airplanes not on the ground. Then I got to my unit and figured out that I did not know it all, and pulled my horns in somewhat. When I graduated college, got commissioned and graduated from infantry basic for officers and then Ranger school I was sure I was a grown man because I was 26, and as lean and mean as I was ever going to be. Every time I thought I had life handled something came along to prove me wrong.

Now I am 45, have raised two kids, and the normal yada yada stuff. One of our friends was diagnosed with breast cancer. The news hasn't gotten good yet, I am watching her husband attempt to be strong and tough, and I know it is killing him.

You don't want to let cancer be the focal point of your time with them, but you don't want to treat it like the elephant in the room. I know my wife and I are scared for them, and we will pray for them, because as I said to my wife, I don't have anything else I can do to help.

I have to believe our fears and emotions are a fraction of their daily fears.

I don't know what to do, and I feel like I am learning how to be a grown up again, and like most growing, it seems to come with some pain.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

USNS Comfort

Below is the address for an excellent blog about our military deployed to Haiti on the USNS Comfort. Written by the XO on the ship it is well worth your time to read. Go take a look!


Friday, January 29, 2010

USNS Comfort Post

Head over to The Sandbox to read my latest story on the USNS Comfort now deployed to Haiti.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Six days off!!Woohoo! Just finished a great stretch of no work! Aside from the drama of former neighbors moving out and abandoning their cat it was a very nice time away. Does anyone want a sweet kitty? My other neighbor and I, total saps we are, have been feeding her. I don't even like cats, I mean I have a dog, one the doesn't like cats either. However for some reason I like this cat. Maybe I'm a sucker for anyone or anything that's been dealt a raw deal. She certainly has. She hangs outside their front door looking in the windows, crying pitifully, looking for the people who no longer live there to let her in the house. We contacted one of the rescue organizations so hopefully we can find her another home. In the meantime my garage door is left open a tiny bit on the off chance she needs a place to sleep at night. Yep, sap, that would be me.

Tomorrow I return to work to an ICU where the staffing has been decimated by deployments. 13 RN's in the past 2 weeks deployed. 9 of them were planned at least a month in advance so we knew they were headed to Afghanistan and Iraq. The most recent ones though, the 4 who left Saturday, deployed on the USNS Comfort, the hospital ship is on it's way to Haiti. No one has any idea how long they will be gone. The civilians are left to hold down the fort and asked to work additional shifts. Aerovacs still arrive from the wars even though we now can only handle 3/4 of the patients we used to . Available bed space is no longer available. We simply do not have the staff. We make do and continue to give our patients the best possible care we can.

A sweet kitty needs a home. . .any takers??? ;-) Please? A pretty kitty anyone?

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Do you ever feel as if what you do as a profession holds no value to the powers that be? That your skills, experience and knowledge count for nothing to those in leadership? That's how I feel right now. It started as a small trickle of disenchantment two months ago when I took the issues to management with hopes these things would be resolved. No such luck, nothing has changed.

I went into work suffering with asthma, I wasn't contagious; my patients and coworkers needed me. I couldn't breath but hey, I was there. I made an impact. I was sick through Thanksgiving and sick again at Christmas. First time in 5 years I've had asthma attacks bad enough I willingly called my doctor and agreed to meet him at the hospital.

New Years wasn't any better and even my personal physician told me to stay home. But calling out on a holiday and a holiday weekend at that are big no no's so I went in.

With additional strife being added to my professional career my trickle of disenchantment has turned into full blown mutiny. I went home sick from work earlier in the week and home is where I have stayed. A blanket email was sent to all the nurses about "being responsible and coming into work, that our wounded warriors needed us, that flimsy excuses would not be tolerated and would be subject to disciplinary action".

I have no interest in returning there anytime soon. My doctor has agreed I need time off, asthma is a bitch. And so currently is this job.