Monday, April 11, 2011

Hospital Stay #1

Every time I eat graham crackers, I am taken back to Highland Park Hospital. Unwrapping each packet of crackers, placing them in a bowl, pouring milk from a cardboard box and then eating them as fast as I can before they get too soggy. I did this everyday for nearly 2 weeks. That hospital stay was life changing for me.

As I counted out each individual pill in the living room of my parents house, I thought about how this was it. I was going to just end it all b/c I could not take it anymore. What purpose did my life have? I wouldn't be missed, in fact it would be a relief to those around me to be gone. I was miserable and thought the only way to solve that would be to kill myself. I swallowed those pills. 50 to be exact and went upstairs. It was then that I was overcome with an urgency to tell my sister Holly what I had just done. Perhaps the consequences of suicide were more than what I thought to be. Holly was in her bathroom when I explained to her that I had just taken the pills with the intent to kill myself. She ran to get my parents and I just went and sat on the stairs. My mom started to panic and tried to force me to throw up. I don't remember if I did or not so they forced me into their car and drove me to the nearest emergency room.

After arriving at Lake Forest Hospital, they took me back and the first thing a nurse said to me was, "now why would you go and do something like that?" I was stunned. Here I was, having just tried to kill myself and that is what was said to me? I couldn't believe the lack of compassion that nurse had. They immediately gave me ipecac syrup to induce vomiting along with a TON of water to drink. Instead of the normal pink emesis trays to throw up in, they gave me what I remember to be a bucket that looked like a KFC bucket. I threw up, and threw up and threw up. It was awful. They then decided that I should get my stomach pumped, to make sure that there wasn't anything else in there that could harm me. Having that tube shoved up my nose and then down my throat into my stomach was a feeling that I hope to never experience again. They filled my stomach with fluid and then pumped it all out. My nose was bleeding from the force involved in placing the tube, and I just felt so miserable. After they pumped my stomach, I was informed that they were going to give me a charcoal treatment. What they did was insert this black thick substance into the tube that would then go through my digestive tract and absorb anything along the way, in hopes of flushing out any extra stuff that may have been digested at that point. The charcoal was thick and appeared to be hard to get pumped into the tube. I could feel the temperature change in the tube as it went in and down into my stomach. It was cold and so bizarre feeling to have the cold slide down. After all of this in the ER, they transferred me up to the ICU to observe me overnight. I don't remember much about that room except there wasn't a bathroom. All they had was this little toilet thing hidden behind some fold out privacy thing. My mom had to help me go to the bathroom since I was still hooked up to the tube, had an IV, and other monitors on my body. I hated feeling so helpless and having my mom wipe me, but I didn't have any other choices.

The next morning, it was decided that I should be transferred to Highland Park Hospital to be admitted into the psych ward. They pulled all the tubing out, the IV, and monitors off and wheeled me downstairs on the gurney. They wrapped me up like a burrito with the blankets and then strapped me onto the wheeled bed. It was policy that I had to be transported in the ambulance. I was loaded up and put in the back of the ambulance. My parents drove behind us and I could see them out the back window as we made the drive to Highland Park. Once there, I was wheeled up to the psychiatric unit and the necessary paperwork was filled out by my parents. I was admitted and there started the process of getting help. My mom was due to fly to Europe with Holly for spring break with the choir. I can't imagine what it must have been like to leave her daughter there and then travel across the world- not being able to visit me or see how things were going.

I was put in the unit with other youth so we were away from the adults. Every day consisted of therapy- both group and individual. We also had class time, so that we could stay caught up on our school work. I started on medication to help with the depression and that seemed to help. I don't remember a lot about what happened while there, but I know that things were getting better. I wasn't so hopeless about life and knew that I was getting the help I needed. There was a piano there that I played on a lot. Music was healing to my soul. My dad would come and visit me often. My best friend Carrie and her mom visited as well. I felt loved and knew that I had people who cared about me.

Shortly before I was to be released, I realized that I was going to be leaving the comfort of this place and it scared me. After one of the meals, I kept one of the plastic forks and broke it so that there was a jagged edge. It was with that fork that I started to cut my arms. I knew that if I cut myself, I would have to stay and not go home. Once I was caught, they put me in solitary confinement to make sure that I wasn't a danger to myself anymore. I'm pretty sure I spent 24 hrs there. I got what I wanted though and got to stay at the hospital longer. After nearly 2 weeks in the psych unit, it was time to go home and live in the real world.

Transitioning back to the real world was rather difficult. Some people felt sorry for me, others were appalled at what I had done, and others were truly genuine in their care and concern for me. News spread around school about what had happened and I didn't really care for the spotlight it brought on me. I wanted to be normal and move forward with life, but I was now just another depressed teenager who had issues.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Life Story

I make no excuses for why I haven't posted in 1 year. So, let's move forward.

One of the things I am going to use this blog for is to write my life story. I've felt impressed for some time to start doing this instead of waiting until the end of my life and have no memory. I also have the chance to meet with a small group of fabulous ladies in my ward who are writing their own story as well. The get together once a week and share ideas & goals, give feedback and suggestions as well as offering moral support. I'm so excited to start on this journey and hope that you will share in it as well.

Friday, April 9, 2010


I have been doing my externship in an Assisted Living home for seniors who need some extra help medically, but don't have to be stuck in a "nursing home". Most everyone does a good job caring for themselves and it has been really fun working there. They also have a wing called "memory support" for individuals with dementia or alzheimers. I have been assigned to work in that wing 2 days/week. It has been interesting to learn about dementia and see the effects it has on the mind and body. Not everyone who has dementia acts the same- I have been working with 2 ladies, both with dementia. One of them thinks the walls are melting, and that everyone has a taser, ready to get her. She also spends most of her time collecting "tazies" which are round silver balls that come out of the tv and vcr. The other resident doesn't hallucinate to that degree, but has a harder time with remembering why she is there. She thinks her husband is still alive and waits for him at night. Both ladies are so sweet and I have enjoyed getting to know them. It makes me sad to see what they go through, especially knowing that they really have no control over it. I had an amazing experience with one of the ladies, and wanted to share it.

The lady who doesn't really understand what is going on was just put on hospice care. What this means is that she is coming to the end of her life, and it is just a matter of time before she passes away. Probably within the next few weeks to a month. It is sad knowing that this is the final stage of her life, so I am hoping to just be kind and loving to her.

As I was helping her get to bed, she was in a really good mood and happy that I was with her. She asked if I'd get into the bed with her, so I laughed and told her that there isn't any room for me in the twin bed. She scooted over clear to the wall then patted the bed, saying that there was room now. I couldn't tell her no, so I laid down next to her in the bed. She kept looking at me and smiling as I rubbed her shoulder or played with her hair. I then felt impressed to ask her if I could sing her a song. She said yes, so I thought about what to sing. I knew she was LDS, so I thought that I would sing some Primary songs. I started with "I am a Child of God". She smiled the whole way through and then I sang "I love to see the Temple". She said she really liked that one. At this point, I am crying because of the spirit I could feel there but I kept going. I sang "Families can be together forever". She started to cry a little and I knew it was because she felt the spirit so strong. She kept looking around the room and gazing up to the ceiling. She talked a little bit about her grandpa and her husband and at that moment, I wondered if the veil was thin for her.

I then sang "I am a child of God" one more time, but with all the verses. It was while singing this song that I KNEW she was a daughter of our Heavenly Father that loved her more than I will ever understand. For a brief moment, she wasn't a resident with dementia. She wasn't someone who was going to die soon. She was a spirit sister of mine and I felt so connected to her. She lay there and kept saying she loved me, and I really felt like she meant it. That she was there with me, and it wasn't her dementia talking. After laying next to her for a few more minutes, the other CNA came in and I went to go help the other resident.

I am so grateful for this experience I had. It has made me realize that no matter what the condition of our mind, we can still feel the spirit. Our spirit is something that is always with us and it can connect or speak to other spirits. We had a connection last night that Heavenly Father allowed us to share. I am even more grateful for the Holy Spirit and what it is able to do to comfort us and help us feel of our Savior and Heavenly Father's love.

I decided to go into nursing to help just one patient have a better experience than I have had in the past. I really do want to help people and have them feel loved. If I end up not ever getting my RN, I will be at peace knowing that what I did for Maxine was more than anyone else could have done at that moment. I was needed and was able to help her.

I am grateful for having an eternal perspective and understanding that because of Jesus and His Atonement for us, death really has lost it's sting and we will be able to be in the arms of Christ again. This gospel is amazing and the power and knowledge it gives us is something I hope to never take for granted. I am a changed person because of this experience and I pray that I see Maxine again when she is whole. I can not wait to give her a hug and let her know just what she has done for me.

Friday, April 2, 2010

I'm thinking I shouldn't have reproduced...

When I was in 8th grade, I was diagnosed with depression and started counseling. In 9th grade, I was hospitalized for attempted suicide and spent almost 2 weeks in the psych unit. I started medication and more therapy, and things started to get better. I still dealt with depression and struggled my way through the rest of highschool. I made a lot of poor choices and started down a path of self destruction that would last for several years.

When I moved to Utah, things were OK (despite my crappy choices) but when I was 20, I went to the ER because I knew that I had tail spun into a dark place and if I didn't get help right then, things might not look good for the future. I spent about a week in hospital starting therapy and medication again. After I was discharged, I was placed with an amazing psychologist who did wonders for retraining me how to think and view the world. I owe so much to that doctor who literally saved my life.

Fast forward to today- Scott just went to his first appointment last week with a psychologist (the same one I went to 10 yrs ago- not a coincidence) to start to get his life together. He has realized that he feels like he needs some extra help for things like anxiety and maybe ADD. He is excited to be getting the help he needs- he just just wishes that he would have done this 20 yrs ago.

Well, onto our children. Carrie was just diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. She has been struggling with fears and stresses that disrupt her daily living. I suspected that it was more than just everyday fears we normally would deal with, but this was extreme. We can't drive anywhere without her stressing about if we are going to run out of gas. If she sees a police officer, she thinks they are going to get her. Loud noises are too much for her. She is still in diapers because the fear of going potty overwhelms her. Poor little thing carries the weight of the world on her shoulders.

We are going to start medication to see if that helps. She will also start therapy to work through a lot of the fears and issues she has. We are getting her into an allergist and a GI specialist to see if they can help us more with her physical issues. When I asked the doctor why a 5 yr old would have anxiety this bad, she said that the majority of the time it is hereditary. When Scott heard this, he put his head down and quietly apologized to Carrie for "giving" it to her.

We are also set up to take Duncan in for an evaluation for ADHD. When we explained to the doctor his behavior, she said that it was out of the norm for a 3 yr old boy, and that it would be wise to get him in to be seen.

The last few days have been a whirlwind of emotion as I have come to realize that my children have some problems and I don't know how to fix them. When I read in the Ensign about life's trials, I came upon this statement: "...challenges come as a natural result of mortality and the world we live in. We are mortals with bodies that will age and may become ill or injured." I really hope that Carrie (and Scott and other kids) know that it is OK to have these challenges. We can get through them with the help of the Lord. He loves us and understands what we are going through. The atonement made it possible for Him to know how to succor us depending on our infirmities. We may feel alone sometimes, but if we keep an eternal perspective, we will know that the Lord will always be with us.

"No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God . . . and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire." -Orson F. Whitney

I pray that Carrie will understand that she is not flawed. Just a mortal who has the opportunity to learn and overcome this affliction. She is a child of God, and is loved by so many people. She will get through this. It may not be easy, and it might just suck sometimes. The Lord is mindful of her and her struggles and challenges. I hope that she will rely on Christ and know that one day she may be healed and made perfect.

I love this gospel and the understanding it brings in times of despair and sorrow. I only hope that I can be the best support to her as she faces this hand she has been dealt. I am glad that I had her, despite the challenges that we may have given her.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Arguing in Relief society

I had an interesting experience today in Relief Society that made me really sad and frustrated. I was sharing something I had learned from my personal study of the lesson. There were several people who disagreed and raised their voice and told me differently. I tried to defend myself and follow through with my thought, but I couldn't talk over them so I just finally said that I would shut up and not saying anything else. I was so turned off by the experience that I totally shut down and tuned out the rest of the lesson and just read my scriptures. Scott said I should have just gotten up and walked out, but that would have made a huge scene and I didn't feel comfortable doing that.

I'm frustrated because this isn't the first time this has happened either. Over the last few months, this same situation has occurred several times. A sister has a comment, someone disagrees and then jumps down their throat about it. It is so awkward, uncomfortable and frankly uncalled for! We shouldn't ever put someone down or make them feel stupid for a thought or opinion they may have.

What do you do in these types of situations? I think that disagreeing with someone is totally normal, but the way it is handled can be tricky. I am hoping that we can resolve this little problem we have in our ward.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


I decided that I needed to document my son's life and not let it pass by without any record of it. I got a few cute pictures of Jack I thought I'd share.

He is trying to eat our dessert we had after dinner. I don't think it will be too long until he is on real foods...

Duncan put these earmuffs on him and I couldn't pass up the chance for a cute picture.

This is my new favorite picture of Jack. He is so cute and cuddly and I am so glad he is mine!

I feel so blessed to have such a wonderful baby. The only time he cries is when he is hungry or tired. He is all smiles, all day. We just need to get him rolling over more and then maybe he'll start crawling soon. I think that him being 4 1/2 weeks early is starting to show- he is a little slow at some milestones, but I'm sure he'll be fine. Patience is a virtue, right?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Gospel Art

I was looking through the new catalog that came from Deseret Book. I normally see things in there that are nice or that I might consider getting for my home, but never get because I am not in love with it. When I read through this one, I was immediately struck by the beauty of this one picture. I seriously want it SO bad.

It is a stained glass work that has been reproduced on a canvas. I love the simplicity of it and how beautiful it is! I sometimes struggle finding art for my home that is gospel related I don't normally care of the work of Greg Olsen, Liz Lemon Swindle, etc... Don't get me wrong. They are SO talented, but their style is not what I care for. I have this picture of Christ hanging in my home. It is called "Rescue of the Lost Lamb" by Minerva Teichert. All of her work is amazing. I would have all of it if I could!

I remember the first time I saw it, I about burst into tears. I felt like there was a connection to this painting and I had to have it. I bought a print and then had it framed. It is one of my favorite things I have in my home...

So- what are your favorite pieces of Gospel art? Don't worry, I'll still like you even if you have Greg Olsen stuff hanging in your home! :)