Dying Alone

River Running

Photo by Earnest B

Photo by Earnest B

Black water flows,
Circling in doomed
tide pools;
Awaiting the inevitable,
An unknown stream of unconsciousness.
River running fast but leading nowhere,

I wait.

Black water flows carrying the tail ends
Of life.
Air above swirls through forced motion

I wait.

Decisions being made
Without action to follow.
Life and death swirl in dark water

And still I wait.

Life beats fast before
Closing its chambers.
Red rivers flow
Until merging with black water.
Time stands still momentarily;

I wait
I watch
I listen

Then it’s gone in one moment;
The tide pools quell
Waiting mysteriously with hidden messages.
Black water flows on
I’m finished waiting
It’s time to go home.

I wrote this poem over ten years ago while working the night shift in NYC.  My patient was dying from complications of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). I knew nothing about this woman except that she was a prostitute at some point in her life, contracted HIV, was on a ventilator, near death, and all alone.

When I walk into a patient’s room, I don’t always have the luxury of caring for a person who can walk or talk.  I may need to wear a mask to ward off Tuberculosis (TB), or gloves to protect myself from infected blood containing deadly organisms.

When I walk into a patient’s room I check my hang-ups at the door.  I’m there for one reason, and for one reason only…to take care of the person in the bed in front of me to the best of my ability.

I don’t care how you got there, what you did in your life, if you’re a prisoner or a prostitute, I do care; however, how I’m going to make a difference in the twelve hours I’m assigned to your care.

I think the saddest thing I’ve encountered over my twenty-five years of nursing is when I’m caring for a dying patient who’s dying alone.  Not all of us are fortunate enough to have an entourage holding vigil around the deathbed.  Some of us go quietly, slipping out before anyone notices we’re even gone.

It’s heartbreaking to watch a fellow human being die alone.  I try to be present when I can sitting quietly at the bedside to bid them farewell on to their next journey.

They say we come into this world alone, so leaving should be no different, but I beg to differ.  I know this is my personal belief and may not be shared by others, but holding the hand of a lonely soul as they take their final breath is the least I can do as their nurse, but more importantly is the least I can do as their fellow human being.

holding hands

Back To School

photo by JeanJames

photo by JeanJames

I’m done…I give up…I surrender!  Summer bliss has turned into a summer blister under my thinly veiled patience and as the cool September air ekes out the summer warmth, so too does it eke out mine.  There’s a reason children need school, and it isn’t for the education.

What started out as a nostalgic, idealistic summer break has morphed into a full blown sibling war zone.  Where peace talks have failed, battles have begun.  Studies have shown that people, like rats, when forced into close proximity of one another show hostile behavior.  Well my little rats are gnawing at each other all day long, which in turn is gnawing on my nerves.  Battles here start first thing in the morning.  The verbal mortars drop before I’m half way through my first cup of coffee.

“Mom!!  He stuck his tongue out at me!”

“Well that’s because she called me a booger brain!”

“No I didn’t”…

”Yes you did!”

In unison:  “Mom!!…”

I’m barely awake and my blood is boiling hotter than my coffee, and I start screaming like a lunatic threatening to lock them all in their rooms for the day like the wicked witch from Rapunzel.  I wonder what happened to my sweet kids who used to be so nice to each other.

They’ve taken to fighting over just about everything:  who feeds the fish, who’s turn it is to watch TV, who scared the other person, who’s looking at who funny, who’s doing what better, and on and on and on; all day, every day.  And it’s not just verbal.  Perhaps enrolling them in martial arts was not such a good idea after all.  When lines in the sand are drawn, something, or someone breaks, and in this case it was my daughter’s collar bone; another causualty of war.

It’s to the point that I actually look forward to going to work.  My twelve hour night shift looking after critically ill patients is a cake walk compared to my day shift.  At least my patients are sedated and on ventilators, disabling them from irritating chatter; the quiet is refreshing. Not even a cardiac arrest can rattle my bones like three angry children.

Now, I’m no stranger to sibling rivalry.  I’m one of seven, so I get not liking your brother or sister for awhile, but I never remembered running the marathon of misery with any of them.  Maybe it was just the way my parents used to handle it: a warning look here, a whack of the belt there, or getting kicked outside for the whole day, allowed in only for meals and bathroom breaks. Nowadays, if I try any of those tactics child services is knocking on my front door.

So I take the diplomatic, peace talks approach, “let’s talk about it, what’s bothering you?” line of crap.  Then a deluge of he said she said comes pouring out, and I feel like a Hurricane Katrina victim running for my life after the levee breaks.  Where are the sandbags?  Where’s the National Guard?  I need help!  It’s her against him, and them against me, and I’m secretly starting to fear for my sanity.

I guess being cooped up together for the summer is just too much ‘in your face time.’  I’m sure it could drive anyone mad, no matter what your age.  But when you’re little and lack the interpersonal skills of debate, you’re reduced to calling each other ‘booger brains’, all day, every day, and then whining to mom each time a fragile ego is bruised.

If there’s any glimmer of hope for me it comes on the first Wednesday each year after Labor Day. Except this year, my school district decided we needed one extra week of hell just to make sure our sensitive sides were ready to let go and send our precious angels back to school.

So when I see those commercials of parents dancing gleefully down the aisles, buying school supplies for their children, I smile to myself, I get it.  Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’m sure I’ll miss those little booger brains when they’re gone…


Below is a video I think most mom’s (with a good sense of humor) can relate to.  That will be me doing the dance of joy and waving bye-bye as that big yellow bus drives off and I can go home and finally finish that cup of coffee in peace!

Superheroes…In Bustiers?


Faster than a pre-ejaculate
More powerful than Viagra
Able to heave over tall buildings in a single bounce.
Look!  Up in the sky.
It’s a bottle, it’s a balloon,
No, it’s Supertits!

Who is Supertits you ask?  Well she’s not really just one who, but a symbol of the many super busty, super women, keeping the world safe with her knock out powers, and eye candy costumes, distracting bad guys, and catching criminals with her cavernous cleavage, all in a days work.

Recently my five year old son (and my 45 year old husband), has been fascinated with the Justice League.  You know, DC comics band of super friends: Superman, Batman, Aquaman, Green Lantern, and The Flash.  Included amongst these titans in tights are a couple of super heroines known as Wonder Woman and Hawk Girl.  As I sat and watched these cartoons with my son, I couldn’t overlook the buxom bosoms heaving out over these daredevil divas tight fitting bustiers; yes, bustiers!  It was as if all their superpowers were concentrated in one spot.

I said to my husband during one of our Justice League marathons,  “I don’t understand why these super hero women need to be dressed in bustiers, with their swollen breasts spilling out over their costumes.  It belittles their power; it’s so sexist”, to which he replied, “ No it isn’t.  Those ARE the most powerful things in the universe!”

I laughed out loud.  Leave it to a man to state the obvious.  Of course breasts control the power of the universe.  Breast augmentation is the second most popular plastic surgery. Breasts provide sexual pleasure, feed life to newborns, and rally millions in support and dollars when they’re ill.

Let’s face it, it’s not like an A cup is going to stop a speeding bullet.

Fighting crime and getting ahead is hard work, and our super heroines are entitled to use whatever forces of nature help them to accomplish this.  And for those of us not so fortunate to have cosmic cleavage, there’s always booty brawn to knock out bad guys.

But I’m not much of a comic book type of gal, so in the name of research, I had to check out how many other tensile strength tits were bouncing around out there in the name of truth and justice.  Let me tell you, the list was longer than America’s Most Wanted.  Here’s a synopsis of five of the top heavy super ladies, and their claim to fame:


1.) Power Girl.  From Superman’s home planet of Krypton, Power Girl is sporting a powerful set of double D’s protruding through the hole in the center of her teddy.  With a lot of support, she rises to the position of chairman in the Justice Society.

2.)Ms. Marvel, leader of the Avengers, is clad in a black leather bustier teddy with matching leather gloves and black leather thigh high boots.  She makes pretty woman look like a catholic school girl.

3.) Storm, a member of the X-Men, is scantily wrapped in tight fitting leather.  She has the ability to control the weather.  Perhaps it’s her thunderous breasts channeling this ESP.

4.)Emma Frost.  Forget the bustier, this frosty fem fatale cools down in a set a of pasties and Le Mystere panties.  It’s no wonder she becomes leader of the X-Men.

5.) Wonder Woman.  I had to save the best for last.  This is the one Super Heroine I do remember growing up with.  An American Icon, she gives a whole new meaning to the red, white and blue.  Her American Eagle adorned bustier and star spangled booty would make any man stand up and salute her flag.  But it’s her lasso swinging skills, bullet repelling bracelets, and super strength that made every girl feel she could be powerful too.

Now look, I’m a modern woman, a self proclaimed feminist, and an A cup.  But I couldn’t help think, ‘Is this dominatrix image one that should be projected toward young kids, or is it just a reflection of reality?’  Voluptuous, strong women do rise to powerful positions; it’s just hard to see their bustiers under those power suits.

We all have to use our strengths in this world to get ahead, and we might not be glamorous superheroes, or super models, or even super mom’s, but we all have something super to offer as women.  So hats off to the tantalizing, titillating, tightly topped titans of feminine mystique, Supertits, and her boobalicious powers to fight crime while climbing the comic strip corporate ladder.

Reposted by Jean James courtesy of:  http://www.inthepowderroom.com