Tuesday, January 13, 2015

All I Ask For...is to be Wrong

Many of you have heard my nursing war stories over the years; I hope that the one thing you took away from those is how much I really love being a nurse--even when I say I don't. There are many things I love about it. I love that it's an honorable profession that may require a degree to fulfill, but often healing comes in the most fundamental of personality traits (i.e.: humor, holding a hand, putting off that bathroom break to get that warm blanket). I love that I worked really hard to get where I am, and I'm surrounded by a group of professionals who "get" me. I love that when I leave work, I will most likely go out knowing more than I did when I came in--because I learned it from my patient. 

However, there are also things I don't love. 

Sometimes I wish I didn't have all that knowledge. Sometimes, I wish I hadn't seen some of the things I saw. Sometimes, I wish I didn't have intuition. Because when you see those same things occurring in someone you love, it brings up some ugly feelings. But sometimes, you forget that in addition to being a nurse, you're human and actually allowed to feel those feelings. 

In case you're wondering where all this is coming from, I got a call from my mom last Sunday morning around 11:30. What's the big deal about that? I'll tell you: a) she almost never calls me, and b) at 11:30 am on Sunday she's undoubtedly at church. Sure enough, my mom casually told me she had been in the emergency room the night before. "Okay, big deal," I thought to myself. She went on to tell me her symptoms of severe abdominal pain and a list of other things she'd probably shoot me for sharing. 

Of course, I went into "nurse mode". What did the bloodwork say? Did they do a CT scan? What about an ultrasound? Did they say anything was remarkable? What about LFTs, pancreatic enzymes? I forgot for a second that my mom may not have been accustomed to those questions. Regardless, she basically said "they said they didn't find anything." Honestly, I don't know if I believe her. 

Let me back up a minute and share an ungodly fear I've had for the last few months. My mom recently retired back in October after working ridiculously hard for 40+ years. She called me one day and told me she was retiring in two weeks. You hear these stories about people who retire and something happens that they don't have the chance to enjoy it. My wish for her has been that she really get to enjoy this time. She recently married (okay, it was almost 3 years ago, but I'm told that when you're her age, that's still pretty recent). She and I are finally close. All I've wanted is time for all of us to enjoy that. Now I get this phone call. While it may seem illogical for my mind to immediately go to a dark place, don't forget--as I often do--that I'm human. 

You also have to understand that this has also been the pattern in my family. I grew up with four people in my house: my grandpa, my granny, my mom and me. When my grandpa got sick, it was so sudden between diagnosis (lung cancer) and death (eight weeks) that I'm still getting over the shock (16 years later--half my life). When my granny was diagnosed with cancer, she had been on such a slow decline that it had never occurred to me she was also going to be diagnosed with lung cancer. Diagnosis to death time? Eight weeks. My grandpa died before I finished high school. My granny died before I could finish nursing school. I'm hoping to start grad school in the fall. 

Hopefully, this gives you some insight as to why I might be "freaking out." In the words of Johnny Cash, "the needle tears a hole, that old familiar sting, try to kill it all away, but I remember everything." 

I used to make jokes that the reason I didn't go to "doctor school" was so I could just say, "I don't know, I'm not a doctor. Go ask your doctor." To my doctor friends: I apologize. I know that isn't fair and I'm sorry. However, many other people take the same approach: that doctors--who are also human--know everything. 

What do you do if they don't? 

You pray. You thank God for the people you love and ask Him to guide the hands and minds of those who care for them. Honestly, I'll be begging for my will to be done (even though it may not be). In my case, it's been "Please do not do this to me again", even though I'm fully aware of how it works. And you do everything you can to bat those negative thoughts away. But when the thoughts won't completely go away, you try to remember not to beat yourself up about it, because remember, you're human, too. And sometimes, you hurt. 

And sometimes you're wrong. In this case, that's the one thing I want more than anything else. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

To Whom it May Concern...

Here's what happens when you aren't nice to the diabetes crowd...you get nasty grams. Austin City Limits: consider yourself warned. To get the rest of the story, read below. 

To Whom it May Concern: 

I am writing regarding my experience at the Rebirth Brass Band show last Saturday. It was a great show and I’m glad I had the chance to attend. However, I need to voice a serious concern. 

My friend and I came to the event, arriving somewhere around 7, because we’d planned to eat there. There was a laundry list of menu items listed on the website that would be served at this event, so we had planned to make use of that. That being said, we thought arriving at 7 was actually plenty early. As it was, there was only a little side table offering crawfish étouffée with dirty rice—and that was it. Just as we walked up to order, we were politely told that they had just run out. We couldn’t seem to find anyone in the place who knew about any other food, and the attendant of the table herself said she didn’t know if more food was coming. Therefore, we had to leave and make alternate plans. 

We knew the drill coming back in would be to check our bags at the top of the stairs. When I opened mine to check, the security staff asked me to remove items so she could see the bottom, and as I did, she saw a Big Bird juice box in my bag. I should probably pause here to inform you that  I have type 1 diabetes, and that juice box is what I use as emergency treatment when my blood sugar is low to prevent more severe emergencies. She informed me of your policy of no outside food or drink—which I completely understand, but please take note that I don’t bring Big Bird juice boxes with me because I’m afraid I won’t like what you have. In fact, I would have really liked it if you had what you said you were going to; unfortunately, alcohol also doesn’t help a situation involving low blood sugar. I explained my situation multiple times, and in fact, as we were looking through my bag, there was other food that I had completely forgotten was in there. I offered for her to take it, and she said no. I offered to show her my MedicAlert ID—she said she didn’t need to see it. I offered to show her my meter—she said she didn’t need to see that, either.  The only thing she really seemed to care about was that I had this juice box in my bag. She made me promise multiple times to only use it if I had an emergency. 

I completely understand that the times we live in have necessitated extra security measures, but I don’t think they have necessitated humiliation, which is exactly what I experienced. You may want to argue that I could use something else to treat low blood sugars, but honestly, I don’t think I should have to. I can assure you, my intention was not to sell said juice box or consume it out of boredom. If anything, I was being responsible, and while I don’t think that necessitates commendation, I do think it deserves dignity. 

In my 30+ years as a type 1, I have never experienced that level of humiliation surrounding my condition. I have fought hard to be “normal”, and to have your security staff--who probably has no knowledge of such conditions--detain me over a juice box when it’s been explained over and over what its intended use is, is nothing short of infuriating. To say that I have no desire to return to your facility anytime soon is an understatement. 

I really do appreciate your time and consideration in reading this. Please feel free to contact me with any questions, concerns or comments. 


Cassie Moffitt

Monday, December 9, 2013

Miracle #3: The Party Starts Now

I've been very humbled lately. Some of that is related to some upcoming things that I'll talk about in a future post (sorry to be mysterious, but I don't want to dilute its value). However, a lot of that is due to the season. Everyone knows this time of year is supposed to be joyous. We get presents, we get to see family, we get to watch any number of sporting events on TV, or we get to watch Uncle Whoever drink too much egg nog and it ends up on Facebook. For some people, this season is not so joyous--and I totally get it.

For me, it's a different kind of joy.

Just over a year ago, I hit a wall. My heart had been broken beyond what I thought could be repaired, and I didn't know what else to do. At some point, I literally threw my hands in the air, looked up at the ceiling and yelled "Fine! You win! What do you want from me?!?" I was talking to (yelling at) God. I did the only thing I knew how to do--Facebooked. I contacted a friend of mine who I've known since high school. She also happens to be one of the most Christ-like, non-judgmental people I've never met. One of the main reasons I stayed away from the church for so long was because I felt like Christians were too judgmental--and not a lot of fun. I knew she would happily help me and meet me where I was. I couldn't tell you where that was.

As it turned out, I was going to visit my family that weekend, while she was going to celebrate her baby shower. We happened to be going to the same town--not the town we knew each other from. God? I think so. Anyway, she took me to church with her that weekend, and I left feeling a little more uplifted than I did when I first came in.  The only thing I knew for sure was that I wanted to find a church like it when I returned home.

After my five-and-a-half hour journey back to Austin, Texas, I went about The Great Church Search. My scientific method? Google. My search keywords went something like this: "Non-denominational+churches+Austin, TX" Luckily, Google returned results in English. I clicked on the link for the very first church and read every single page. The one that really spoke to me, though, was one that mentioned "healing". Healing? I had done enough in the decade-plus up to that point to require healing, so of course my response was "Sign me up!"

I took on the role of "Miss Putoffski", until my parents came to town sometime in September 2012. My dad is a very holy man and was feeling a little antsy at the idea of not going to church that Sunday, so what perfect timing? Frankly, I was also out of excuses. We drove the 40 minutes to see what this church was all about. After entering and being greeted by no fewer than a half dozen people, I turned around right as the praise band was getting started. Just when I wasn't sure if this was for me, the band fired up How Great Thou Art--a song that my grandpa and I had sang solo many times in church (we each had our own take on it). I looked up at the sky and said, "Got it."

That was only the beginning. I can't say every day has been perfect, but I've found that there are a lot more meaningful things to do with life, other than Keep Up with the Kardashians.  If you want to know the truth, I've found that there's a lot more joy, and a lot more to laugh about. While all the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't put my heart back together again, God could. He's the only one who ever could. I just had to let him. Some days, I forget that, but it's all about coming back around and trying again.

I have days where I say to myself, "Who am I kidding? I have no business doing this" or "People won't take me seriously because I haven't memorized scripture." The first one just isn't true. The second one is an ongoing thing, and what really matters here is that I am serious. I can also admit that I will not do this perfectly, and I hope others won't use that against me. All I can do is ask forgiveness, get back up and try again. I'm thankful to have people (spiritual mothers, if you will) I can be accountable to, people who encourage me, and still think I'm funny--people who have been there from the beginning, and new friends. If you ever start this journey, don't do it alone--make sure you have that support around you (particularly if you are funny--just kidding).

There are a lot more days when I say "Thank you, God, for insert-blessing-here…" It's a lot more fun to be able to do that.

It's also very humbling. When I look back at where I was just a year ago--that's not even counting a decade-plus before that--I am humbled this could have ever happened to me. I am humbled that God took a pretty crappy set of circumstances and turned them around.

I'm not here to get preachy, but as we celebrate the birth of Jesus at Christmas, I am humbled at this miracle birth and what it would later mean for Christianity. This birth became the ultimate sacrifice, as Jesus was went through a horrific Crucifixion, but arose from the dead and we are now set free because of it. How's that for taking something crappy and making it into something beautiful? By the way--did I mention that I was re-baptized on Easter Sunday of this year? I truly did not plan that, but I find it very symbolic, especially given what and where I had come from. For me, that is very humbling. For a very long time, I felt unlovable, and God sacrificed His own son so that wouldn't be true. That's the supreme happy ending. That makes me happy. It makes me hopeful. I don't know anyone else who would've--or could've--made that sacrifice.

This is not a pledge drive to try to get more believers by the end of the year. If you want to pursue that, awesome! But this is just my story, and I think it's a good one--even if I do say so myself. And if it's not a story for a party, I don't know what is.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Miracle #2: A Good Problem to Have

If you look at Merriam-Webster's online dictionary (because really, does a print-version dictionary even exist anymore?), the definition of a miracle is as follows:

"an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs" or
     "an extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing, or accomplishment"

So what? I guess if I'm going to do thirty days' worth of miracles, I should at least define for you--mostly for myself--what constitutes as a miracle. We've all heard the stories of people who were brought back to life after near-death experiences due to illness or injury. We've heard about people whose lives were completely transformed by an act or gesture. Could it be, though, that small, everyday nuances could also be considered miracles? I think so.

Herein lies my problem. Today, I have more than one.

If you read yesterday's blog, you read that it was a real struggle for me to come up with anything before 4 pm. However, as my day went on today, I had a lot of little things that could've been entitled small miracles. Such as:

I survived the American version of Running of the Bulls. This is also known as the dismissal bell at practically every school in the country.

I managed to eat lunch without spilling half of it down my shirt. You have to understand, this is genetic. All Moffitt women do this. Therefore, I'm defying all kinds of laws.

I had a good day of blood sugars. Let me have this one!

I managed to get to and from all destinations without losing life or limb, or worse--getting a speeding ticket. You may wonder why that's considered a miracle, but let's look at two things. First, I live in Austin, Texas. Getting to and from anywhere in a car is a heroic effort, and cannot be taken lightly. I am thankful every day for my SUV to fight off the bad guys (other drivers).

The second would be my track record. We really shouldn't go into how many speeding tickets I've had. Honestly, I don't even know. I think it's somewhere around two dozen, but I've actually lost count. Somewhere, a major thoroughfare will be named after me because it will be paid for solely by me out of traffic ticket fines. I know that I used to get actual birthday cards from an online defensive driving website. Now, I just get birthday emails. That means I'm doing better, right? Right? RIGHT.

I already know what you're thinking: "Why don't you just slow down?" While I'm continually working on that, you do have to admit that if I didn't have my record, you wouldn't have someone to laugh at while you silently thank your lucky stars it isn't you. Not to mention we wouldn't have this blog. So I'll accept your appreciation in the comments below.

I thought green meant you were supposed to go

Anyway, there you have it. I am fortunate enough to have more than one thing to be thankful for and consider to be miraculous. All in all, a good problem to have.

"Miracle." Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 3 Dec. 2013. <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/miracle>.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Miracle #1: I Made it Out of Bed

I'm going to review some information that I posted on the Facebook page yesterday. As it stands, the month of December is important to a lot of people because of celebrations, family, fun, whatever. However, many others see this as a time to recount various miracles. I am no exception. If I wrote my entire life story right here, right now, I'd first tell you to get a hefty snack (because you would need it). Then, I would remind myself that my life is a walking miracle. Seriously. That being said, I thought I would try to blog a month of miracles. 

As I said on Facebook, some will be very heavy, and others will be as simple as a Dallas Cowboys win. 

Today is simple. Appropriate for a Monday. 

I have to admit: it took some doing to really find anything that could be considered a "miracle". I woke up at 4:30 (two hours before my alarm was supposed to go off) because my insulin pump site decided to crap out, making me have to pee really bad and feeling like I was going to hurl. If I'm going to feel bad that early, at least let me have a fever or a hangover (actually, I'd prefer none of these). Anyway, I never really went back to sleep, which made me a grumpy monkey at 6:30. And again at 6:39. And again at 6:48. I hit snooze three times, in case you weren't sure about the random times. 

Anyway, there was the usual grumping as I moved like molasses to get ready for work. 

"I can't wait to go back to bed." 

"I still feel like crap." 

"DIRK! Take your stinking heart worm pill! Eat the peanut butter!"

You know how it is. Admit it. You've had some similar Monday morning lamentations. At least admit it so I feel better. 

If I were saying that the rest of my day was any easier, quite frankly, I'd be lying. Even by 3 pm, I still couldn't think about what I was going to say was a miracle today. 

I was texting with a friend of mine about this, and this post was going to go in a completely different direction until I read this message: 

"Cool idea. Sadly, I know someone that died today. Stupid cancer. :(" Apparently, this person had only been diagnosed a short time, but began experiencing complications earlier this morning. After going to the hospital, this person passed away peacefully. 

Then it hit me. For all the grumbling and wishing my day away, I could at least say this: I made it out of bed today. That person didn't. I bet that person's family wished they had. 

Those who know me well know that I am not functional--nor should anything be expected of me--until I've had a least two cups of coffee. I feel like there should be laws against having to do anything before 10 am.  However, I'm forgetting some key pieces. 

 I have a few reasons to get out of bed, including my pups

Yeah, I'm going to shamelessly plug them. I have a job. I have friends who kinda like me, and a family that would probably be looking for me if I came up missing. As you can see above, I'm not hurting for food (unless it's 11 pm, and then my hunger clock boasts an angry roar). All in all, not so bad. 

And one of the best parts? At the end of the day, I have a nice warm bed I can get back into. Better than that? If I wake up the next day, the miracle starts all over again. 

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Snoop Cass

If any of you saw my daily proverb yesterday, you saw what I spend my time between Thanksgiving and Christmas doing: snooping. If you didn't see that on Facebook or Twitter yesterday, you're now all caught up. 

That's right. I admit it. I am a snooper and have been proudly since about 1991. I only remember that year because that was my ninth year, in which I had begged and pleaded with my mom and all known deities to please, Please, PLEEEEEEEZE bring me a Game Boy. My mom wouldn't allow me to have any gaming consoles, so I figured this was the best compromise. Never mind the fact that I spent a great deal of time playing Super Mario Brothers at a friend's house, sometimes without her knowing. Love you, Mom. Muah. 

I guess the joke was on me, though, as I spent so long playing that game one day that I had a seizure (another story, another time). 

Anywho, I knew as well as an almost-nine-year-old can that I was getting that Game Boy for my birthday. Then, one day, almost in a vision, it came to me where that glorious gift was: in the armoire in my mom's bedroom. 

I trekked down the hall, while everyone was at home and not asleep to see if I could pull off the Great Gift Find of 1991. I snuck into my mom's room, and I couldn't have hit a better stroke of luck if I tried: the key to the armoire was in the door!!! Pay dirt! I looked in the armoire, and sure enough, that beautiful box wrapped in cellophane with the Nintendo logo beamed at me. I would put a pic here, but I don't have one. Let me tell you this, Kidlets, the Game Boy would've killed the DS any day of the week. 

I would've wept with joy if I hadn't heard noise. I think I put everything back where it was supposed to be. 

As I would find out at my birthday party, either I hadn't put everything back the way I should've, wasn't as sneaky as I thought, or my mother really did have eyes everywhere. Either way, she was onto me and she let me know by enforcing a number system that would ensure that the Holy Grail was the last thing to be unveiled. Dang! 

I finally got to open the glorious package, and played with it so long I had another seizure. Oh well. That didn't stop me. Nor did it stop me from snooping. If anything, it just became a game between my mom and me. She worked hard to hide, I worked hard to find. I have to admit, the woman did well: one year, I got bonked in the head while taking the Christmas tree down. She hid one of the presents in the tree and I didn't find it until after New Year's. Nice. 

This year is going to be a little interesting. I know what I'm getting because I had to order it online myself because my mom doesn't have a computer and doesn't know how anyway. She actually said "You're not allowed to go snooping, either..." Yeah, right. Silly Mom, tricks are for kids...or you. Heh heh heh. 

**I know I'm not the only snooper out there. Who's with me?

**Addendum: my mother just informed me that I not only snooped, I also unwrapped, then wrapped the presents back. I'll buy that. And I won't have shame about it, either.