Sunday, October 15, 2017

hit by a truck twice this week....

 the first truck that hit me was lodged at me by a toddler.  it was a toy truck...believe me, toddlers are not overly appreciative of nurses attempting to help them feel better.  the toddler above very much appreciated my friend, Vals, entertainment.  of course, she had the advantage of having no needles or medicine on her.  this was in Barrow. 
 the second truck that hit me was when i was called in to the report room during my shift.  they had called a few of us in...i didn't know if i was in trouble of what....that is how unusual it is.  i had started with a triple and was getting patients out and planning on getting patients in.  i had a lot to do, but it all stopped.  they let MW and i know that our dear friend Val had passed away. 
 Val was tough to get out of her house unless it was for work, which she did more than her share of in her too short life.  makes me even happier that we all took the extra effort to get her out on a few fun adventures. our lives were much more full and entertaining because she joined us. 
 these are on another trek to Hallo Bay, Bear viewing. 
 i don't think life was always very easy for Val.  she didn't really dwell on that, especially on these trips. i was happy to get her out and away from the stress of day to day life.  she was so in her element on these trips.  relaxed and mesmerized by all that was before her.  fascinated by every detail of life on our amazing planet. 
 we had some really fun treks out there.  it always occurs to me at these times that so often in life the things we do are not for us so much but for those around us.  she needed those trips. 
 these pics are leaving Togiak after my last trip to Round Island. 
 worked with Val for years.  she had some great tales and kept us laughing.  she loved to feed her co-workers and when she was in charge the plans were ever evolving.  she would start with plan A for staffing the next shift and some nights with all that went on she would go from plan A to plan M before the morning came. 
 no matter what she was dealing with in her own life she always brought her all to work and to her patients and co-workers.  you didn't hear her complain, she was going to find the way to make it all work.  where much is given, much is expected...but often in life it's those who have been given less that show us all what it means to share, to give all you have to others with little regard for self.
 Val had her quirks.  not returning calls or texts in a timely fashion was one of them  being disorganized was another.  so when she didn't show up to work, we worried but i wasn't that worried.  she'd screwed up her schedule before.  my last text to her was "everything okay? hoping u just forgot u were scheduled for work, please check in with someone".  i was getting a few concerned texts/calls. 
 in the end everything wasn't okay.  work ended up sending the officers out for a welfare check . she was gone.  she was pet sitting for another co-worker.  those dogs were taken to the shelter.  i stopped by the shelter today to check on the dogs.  all is fine and they did get a hold of the pups owner.  i just messaged with her, hopefully she can enjoy the rest of her vacation.  her friend is coming to take care of her dogs. 
 so we just assume that she went in her sleep.  at least i will...that is the best way to think of the situation.  sad though. 
 i'm not always the public crier.  when they told me, i really just felt like i was in shock or stunned by the information.  they watched my patients and i opted to just take a walk around.  clear my head a bit. it was tough to focus the rest of the night. got through it with a little help from my friends. one less friend on earth i guess.  one more friend in the great beyond.
 at the shelter today as i was trying to ask about the dogs, i welled up.  i tend to cry at somewhat random, less related moments.  the crew at the shelter were nice.  i'm sure they deal with tears fairly regularly there.
 really appreciated the management team for coming in and taking the time to try to inform those close to her before the information got out all over.  she worked as one of our PEAT nurses, which meant she went all over the hospital helping staff and trying to prevent patients from getting sicker.  a loss like this impacts all the staff really.  in general nurses are good folks. i am grateful i fell into working as a nurse.  it has made me a better person by association with all these wonderful people. 
 Val could make me nuts on these trips sometimes.  she was forever losing things...seemingly important things...and me being kind of the opposite when it comes to trips i just had to step out of the vortex, knowing she would eventually locate whatever object it was.  in many ways she reminded me of the best of my mom.  the laughter, the kindness, the always thinking of others before self...and the disorganization. 
 Round Island...from the plane
 i had ER, ER Holds and then ICU this week.  i work again Sunday night and then i have classes all week. 
 when someone you know passes it does remind you of your own mortality.  we do have a limited time here.  some stuff just doesn't matter in the big picture of your life. 
 just some waves of sadness.  another friend headed to heaven.  this friend will no doubt be heard coming as she laughs and laughs. 
 life goes on here.  dogs to be fed and walked.  just hit the dog park the last few days.  ran into my newer neighbor at the dog park.  we hadn't talked much.  she was relaxed and we were able to chat. the dogs all got along and when i got home they played again in the front yard. new canine buddies, good to have them all get along. 
 there was a package from my sister.  she sent me a skeleton bat for my front deck collection of skeletons.  my brother, Tom, may admonish her for encouraging me, haha. 
 these are a few from our Round Island trip.  Val came on that as well.  she also joined a group of us out at Point Adolphus...where else have we all gone? 
 loads of fun memories. those we carry with us always. 
 hoping her daughter can find her inner Val.  it's in there, that strength.  you just have to reach for it.  no doubt Val will be watching over her kids from heaven now.  i'm big on guardian angels.  we all need all the help we can get. 
 we are waiting for the boats, doing a walrus dance on the platform.  silly was something Val was good at.  she was free to be who she was.  no pretending, no games. 

 the tusks come out down here.
 travel in peace to the great beyond.  sprinkle a little fairy dust on us all so we will shine and smile and laugh in even the darkest hours.  our lives were made more full and more happy because you were in them. 
 Val taking the zodiak home....
grateful for:  A.  great friends, lost but never forgotten  B. memories.  they cost nothing  C.  each precious day on this earth


  1. Betsy, it's Val's sister, Heather. I'm grateful to have met you, though I wish it had been under different circumstances.

    I just realized that you are the "Walrus Sanctuary Friend" Val told me about on one of the rare occasions I was able to reach her. Thank you, THANK YOU for being Val's friend.

    I miss her so much, but feel a bit more connected to her through you and the other people I met at Providence last week. I know Val's home life wasn't easy and I really wish she had kept in touch with us. It was difficult and frustrating to not hear from her for months at a time. But knowing that she was a total rockstar at her job and that she was loved by so many people... I truly had no idea. It just makes me feel better knowing that.

    I hope we can stay in touch. At the very least, I'll continue to read your blog. :)



  2. Heather, it was wonderful to meet you as well. you are welcome to join on one of these adventures one of these days. my email is if you need it. Val was really an amazing co-worker. she was adored by all there. i wasn't able to make the second memorial they did, i heard it went well too. Betsy