Back Together


I have my prom dress and my winter formal dress (see above, but in burgundy) again.

Everything I had that was at my mom's that was indeed 'mine'--things I had made or worn--is back home again with me. However, there are some things I gave to mom, or mom had in the home (photos of me and Anthony) that are still at her house. I carefully attached a sticky note with tape to everything I could reach. 

Subterranean termites had invaded most of my things. These creatures are small, cream colored, and leave a residue that is hard like those dirt termite mounds. They ate my A+++ winning picture theme report on why animals are my heroes. They ate my stamp collection and book. They ate most of my diaries and journals. I was able to salvage three, and one was intact, the other two look like they had been burned on the edges. 

I am sad and I still continue to be sad in mom's absence. I kept expecting to see her pop around the corner at the home. 

But I was grateful for a hard fought-for day off of work. I had traded calls, and worked my half of the trade, when the trader had a medical emergency and couldn't take their half of it. This person, and my boss, were talking about me taking MY call...which wasn't correct. I had to be firm, to set the record straight. What ended up happening was someone who works per diems was called in from Sacramento to cover the shift. Not one person in the group offered to help. Understandably, since this is a three day weekend and many have plans and are out of town.

I heard of a surgeon who had a patient who needed ERCP, but the patient didn't have insurance exactly (our hospital doesn't take Medi-Cal or Cal-Optima). Nobody would come in. But Dr. Sahni did, saying, 'this is our duty' to serve those who are in the community.  May he rest in peace, dear Dr. Sahni. He was a good man.

My other hospital, where I help them with staffing, has such low anesthesiologist providers available, that their CEO sent out a letter to the surgeons, telling them that only so many 'sites' can have anesthesia, so you can't book as many cases. The group is actively looking for new hires and many will come in the fall, but...

My boss found out about me because his daughter is a dietician over there and saw my notes in the chart. What he doesn't know is I was doing my best to help my friends so they don't have to work post-call. 

Covid decimated their ranks. This hospital was at an epicenter, they saw the most cases in our hospital system. Anesthesiologists were already staffed each day for airway management. Some of the older ones, and a few younger ones, moved far out of state for better reimbursement for their services. I've heard that no one has gotten a raise there in twenty years. Others, three younger ones, gave notice after the surge had peaked. They had found better work elsewhere.

It takes about six months to get a new anesthesiologist into a hospital system.

I mention this because it is a weak link in the providing of surgical care. 

The risk of not being able to staff enough 'sites' haunts my boss every day, and he brings it up at meetings to hire more people. And what happened this weekend is a perfect example of why we need more people. 

In the heat of it, I wasn't sure if I should just do the call, or proceed with the family thing. 

I wish I could say the family thing was better, but it isn't. To be honest, I would have much rather been at work. But it's taken this long since mom's passing to enter the house. I couldn't miss an opportunity. I cried a lot. And termites ate my stuff. But there's other stuff too that was spared. I was absolutely thrilled and delighted to see these things again, after all this time. My car was full!

I think the most important thing was my reaction to mom's house. 

I watered her plants.

They were bone dry, and at risk of dying.

I didn't want them to die too.

So through my tears, I got the Brita filter and used it as a pitcher to water the houseplants. 

I looked in every inch of the home. There is nothing of value. So much is gone. Even all of the family albums. I had organized them the last time mom was in the hospital so each daughter could get the ones of themselves--mine before the others were born, etc. 

What do we leave for others?

Not much.

Photos perhaps? Housewares?

But for me, inside, I have my skills to grow plants. I can cook like Nana Angelina and my mom. I know the recipes. And my face. It looks like theirs. Nobody can take that away. And it doesn't collect dust.

It's time to get ready for work. A surgeon pulled rank, and called in the backup teams. This one was my surgeon, and he is kind. So I won't complain.

Remember life is hard.


Even when they really make your heart rate go up, and your blood pressure go up, and you don't know how it's going to go. Find what's right and speak up for yourself.

Feel the emotions when you experience them.

Letting them go sometimes doesn't happen at the drop of a hat, but resolve to let them go and let your body handle the recovery from them. 

Ross was with me every step of the way. I had called him to be with me. I couldn't sense him exactly.

But I did get the house to myself for a while, and was able to take a nap on the couch like I've wanted to do since before mom died.

I needed to soak up the energy of the home. 

I would have loved to visit more but I didn't dare because of my working with Covid patients, and the risk to mom and the rest of the family.

I trust in the Afterlife, and I am one hundred percent convinced both mom and dad will have their say on how everything has been handled, and how we daughters have treated one another. That is why I go out of my way as the oldest to set the example I know my parents would have insisted upon for their girls. I can't control how I get treated, but I can treat everyone else how mom and dad treated others. With respect. Every time. 

clap! clap!

Aloha and Mahalos,



Ross and Carla

The cupcakes (Ross is giggling)

P.S. my one fun thing was cashing in a free reward at a fast food place on the last day it was eligible. 

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