Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Almost skydiving

Today Jim was going to realize his dream of skydiving. We arrived at Skydive Chicago by 11 and got the paperwork out of the way. Literally signed over my life. How should one feel when INJURY and DEATH are in caps throughout the waiver? Despite my nerves, I managed to eat a delicious turkey sandwich (I highly recommend the little cafe that's a part of the hangar.) Steve gave us the introductory class and then we went over to gear up. There's a fantastic instructor named Sparky that helped me get my suit and harness on. I was impressed with all the staff, actually. They're so friendly and passionate about what they do. I was wearing a White Sox shirt in honor of this momentous day (for Jim and the Sox tonight) and my instructor Brad was a Cubs fan. Fun banter ensued. You have to toe the line when your life is in someone else's hands so we agreed to disagree. Jim was in great spirits even though he was getting tired. We finally walked out the hangar to go to the plane...but there was a solid cloud cover. We waited about an hour to see if the clouds would disperse. They have to be able to see a mile between the clouds before it's deemed safe flying conditions, as apparently planes do fly over the land. I'd prefer not to meet a plane face to face. After waiting and consulting, it did not appear the clouds would even start dispersing for a few more hours and that was not guaranteed. Since Jim was growing more weary, we decided to pack in for the day and we'll try again at the end of next week. I have to confess I was a little relieved. While I'm excited to try this out, I'm also scared out of my mind! I am so honored to share the experience with Jim, though, and I know it means a lot to him. Hopefully next Friday the skies will be blue and Jim can cross this one off of his Bucket List.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Brief weekend update

My high school reunion ended up being much more fun than I ever could have imagined. We had a great turn out. I wasn't able to talk to near as many people as I wanted to but enough that I didn't get overwhelmed. It was funny how many little details came back to me, like what college someone had gone to, etc. Why on earth does my brain store that information? We got back our forgotten time capsules, which contained a questionnaire and whatever personal mementos we wanted to put in. Mine had a ton of pictures and random papers, as well as the prediction that I would either be a high school English teacher or a clinical psychologist working with child cancer patients (close), married (nope) with 1 or 2 kids (also nope), and that I would be athletically slim and graceful (what does that even mean?)

Even though we all claim not to care what former classmates care about us, in truth we do. And I felt validated by these old friends and acquaintances. Hearing about everyone's career path and marital status was daunting at times but it was interesting to see myself through their eyes. There was the usual reactions to hearing I'm a hospice social worker (I could never do that, I would cry all the time!) but I also felt admired and respected for this line of work. I sometimes forget the nature of my job. Yes, I'm good at it (some days!) but it's also a calling. All in all, 10 years later I have to admit: I did turn out pretty good. I've grown in a lot of ways but one friend put it best: "You've changed the least for the better." The core of who I was in high school is still with me today and that's not a bad thing. I'm the improved version of myself.

Yesterday I went to the Sox game and they finally won! And then they won today! And tomorrow? I can only hope!

Also tomorrow....I'm going skydiving with a patient! I'm excited for him and nervous for myself. I'm giving myself the right to back out last minute as I have never wanted to go skydiving before. But I figured, if there was ever a time to do it, it's now. Hopefully I'll be alive to tell the tale!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Baseball + Politics= Awesome Fall

I'm still hoping someday to post my rundown on the conventions but given the hectic nature of my life the past couple of months, I'm not holding my breath. I now have 2 families with children or teens that want me to do prebereavement support. Because kids and teens have crazier schedules than my own, this usually makes for longer workdays but I absolutely love it. Somedays I marvel that I have a skill set to prepare these kids for one of the hardest things they will ever experience in this life. I appear to be gaining a reputation within my organization. The medical director of the palliative care program (of which I am not a part) requested I be the social worker for one of the families I'm working with and when this doctor speaks, everyone jumps. It's a bit of a mindset change for me- hospice to palliative (patients are receiving aggressive treatment as well as pain management expertise from the PC team)- but I'm honored to be involved.

On Wednesday a patient told me I bring joy to his life. Without a doubt, one of the best compliments I have ever received!

It's hard to believe that baseball season is almost over. Next Sunday I'll be at the final home game of the regular season. As our magic number continues to go down, I'm pretty confident there will be 2 Chicago teams in the playoffs. Who knows what our beloved teams will do with that opportunity? I, of course, am keeping my schedule open throughout October.

Before I can go to the last regular season home game, I have to survive my high school 10 year reunion. I am not looking forward to this at all. I'm in regular contact with the high school friends that I want to keep in touch with. I can think of a million other ways I'd like to spend Saturday night (in fact, there are literally a million things I've had to pass up because of this stupid thing.) However, my best friends would kill me if I skipped out. Despite the panic attack I had a few weeks ago, I will go to the reunion. I will make small talk. I will mingle. And then I will never go to another high school reunion again.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Opinions gestate

In the words of Mogatu (Will Ferrell) in Zoolander:"It's funny how it switches like that."

Choosing Palin was a bold strategic move but it looks like McCain will end up regretting it for the next two months. The RNC is making me want to throw things and if you walk past the apartment, chances are good you'll hear me yelling in disgust. Let the battle continue!