He Carries Me

My last day in Kodiak has not really been over although we have crossed the midnight hour and actually two midnight hours since I last laid down.  

The apartment had seemingly little to do and everything I needed to pack was laid out in the dining room and living room.  The bed linens were in the dryer as well as my last bit of laundry.  The refrigerator had three items left in it and I had one bag of precooked frozen meals (thank you Chad for thinking ahead and making those for me) left to take to work for lunch.  I had all my spices and non perishable cooking supplies divided out into a bag for Cheryl and one of Lyli and had taken out the tossed refrigerator contents to the dumpster so I wouldn’t come home to a stinky apartment.  I left the house a little early for work which allowed me to run three errands in 15-20 minutes.  I forget how convenient running errands is in a town of 6,000 people with no kidletts to load and unload out of the car.  I dropped off Lyli’s bag of spices, picked up last day of work party treats at Safeway, and made a last stop at Harborside Fly-By for a last Gary (breve with coffee flavoring named after their local roaster as it is his favorite drink) and a bag of assorted chocolate covered coffee beans.  And I still made it to work a little early.  The staff nurses had had a meeting right before change of shift and so they had brought a pot luck of goodies that my cheese cake and GF gingersnaps fit right in with.  It was my fourth shift so I knew about the business that awaited me.  Not being a superstitious person it is a fact that a full moon brings unprecedented numbers of laboring mamas to the hospital.  This hospital is different in that it is the first time that I have had the opportunity to meet and interact with the acute care staff and see them at work.  Although mostly I do not miss my Med/Surge days after the initial assessment and maybe the first assist to the bathroom I was not nearly as uncomfortable in the setting as I thought I would be, like riding a bike maybe.  Luckely for me though after my two orientation days L&D was busy every day that I worked, unusually so for a critical access hospital.  Even the respiratory therapist (who often attends deliveries as a second NRP provider) stated, ” you get a lot of action.” Yeah, I guess that is a good thing.  Keeping busy keeps you from getting lazy.  Goodbyes are hard.  I wish I could promise that we will come back, but the truth is it would have to be a God thing.  I know it was a God thing that we ended up here this time.  At first my Kodiak application had been rejected, my start date was out too far, only to be called the next day or the day after that with a request that I resubmit.  This has been one of our very favorite assignments of all with really no negative experiences that I can think of right now at least.  Cheryl and I ended up getting out of work way late which ended up being perfect because Cheryl had not yet been to Monks Rock and we got out of work after it was open so we picked up Lyli and checked out their breakfast options.  We talked until 11:30 which gave me a little over an hour to get a shower, pack my bag and get the apartment in order.  😬  Lyli who is a master packer helped me to get organized.  I should have taken a picture of the spread.  I had a medium sized backpack and a small over the shoulder bag that hopefully would fit everything.  We managed to get all of the clothes and the laptop into my backpack that left a whole pile of books, a jacket, a gallon bag of fireweed blossoms, a large heavy water bottle, a quillow,  two mugs and probably a few other things to fit in my small bag…..it was going to be close…..just joking it wasn’t even going to be close what would I do now!?!  I had to get a shower so I jumped in the shower really quick.  As Lyli looked at the stuff volume puzzle she had a brilliant idea to run home and get one of those big reusable grocery bags.  Few.  It just barely fit.  A life saver. 

It was quite heavy.  We tested it out. It seemed the straps would hold.  On we went to the airport stopping for gas and noting all the fog.  Hopefully it would not keep my plane on the ground.  Checking in two hours before your flight in Kodiak is kind of a joke, but on occasion they can get busy so we were there.  It had been an entertaining morning, and it didn’t stop in the airport parking lot.  It was a lot of stuff to grab, I didn’t know if they would make me check something and if they did what would I check.  The big bag wouldn’t fit in the over head compartment and I wasn’t sure that it would fit under the seat in front of me and then there was the quillow with my sweatshirt and waterbottle tucked into it.  Well, they didn’t question me at the ticket counter and on Raven shuttle planes to Anchorage there is no security checkpoint.  We had just gotten comfortable in the waiting area when Sophie showed up to say goodbye.  We all three talked for a while until Lyli had to go.  I had appreciated her help and company so much, but she was fading.  

Thank you Lyli take care, I will miss you.  

Sophie and I talked a bit longer.  I loved what she had to say about a story telling class she had been taking.  It brought me back to another paradigm shifting conversation that we had with some couple friends we made in Hawaii, Dave and Alana.  When we were over at their house the first time Dave asked Chad, “What’s your story?”  It wasn’t significant because we now recognize that we have a story, but that everyone we meet has a story that we should be purposeful about taking time to hear.  I loved the parts of your story that you have shared with me Sophie.  You have a one of a kind gift for making people feel loved.  God is using you through that gift don’t get discouraged and never stop going out of your way to wave, smile, and bless those around you.  Given more time, I hope I someday have a chance to learn or read more of your story.  Thank you again for seeing me off.  

As soon as Sophie left I picked up all of my stuff half to see if I could actually carry it all myself and half because nature was calling.  I felt like everyone was looking at me.  When I came out of the restroom a wave of emotion hit me as everyone was lining up to board.  Does this really mean that I have to leave, does this really mean this travel nurse adventure is over? Sadness, joy, disbelief becoming belief that we have actually done what seemed so impossible three years ago hit me in waves making my eyes tear up.  Under my breath I prayed that I would make it past the boarding pass check with out them questioning my number of carryons and then that I would find a place in the plane that I could actually put them.  I attempted first to put the backpack up above, there was no way that in it’s pregnant state it would fit.  It was a small plane and the overhead bins were much smaller than usual.  I slid into the inside seat and kind of had to give the big bag a shove to wedge it in underneath.  Now what to do with the backpack… I slipped it in under the seat in front of my could be neighbor.  Hopefully whoever sits there doesn’t mind.  All though we had a mostly full flight the seat next to me did not get taken.  Would the stewardess notice that there was a bag under the non occupied seat and say it couldn’t be there? She didn’t.  I laid my head on the quillow and stayed awake just long enough to take a birds eye photo of our beautiful home away from home for the last three months.  

I needed to get about eight hours of rest out of my one hour sleeping opportunity.  

In Anchorage I had an eight plus hour layover.  Plenty of time for a ladies night out with Hilary, Chad’s college roommate’s wife whom I LOVE.  I waited until almost the last person to get off the plane so a lot less people would have to witness me struggling to get my bags out.  The backpack came out easily enough, the big bag did not.  I ended up ripping it trying to get it out.  It was still carryable  just not by the handle. 
We were going to have to add buying a new bag to our girls night to do list.  As I carried the broken bag piled with the quillow in my arms I was so thankful.  Thankful for God’s provisions of getting all of my stuff on the plane, thankful that he had provided a place on the plane for me to put it, thankful that it broke, that sounds weird but it wasn’t going to fit on the next plane there was no way that in all four of my flights I would have an empty seat next to me, it would have been impossible to go on with out buying a new one, thankful that I just so happened to have time and the means to replace it, and thankful to God for keeping me humble.  He has not given me opportunity to become proud, and plenty of opportunities to lean on him and realize that my confidence and esteem come from how he values me and not based on how I measure up to others.  We left the airport and headed towards Trevor’s office to trade cars and hand off their little sweet pea.  We decided to try the new second hand mission type store across the road in hopes for a lucky, reasonable bag find and were beyond pleased with what we found there.  A pretty nice roller bag that was clean inside at least and not bad on the outside either for a whopping $3!!!! I expected to pay at least ten times that and I expected it would take much longer than 3-5 minutes to find it.  We tried all the zippers and made sure the rollers and handle worked….score! 

We sent this picture to Chad and teased him that maybe now we should go shopping to fill any extra space we might have, but I knew we probably wouldn’t have extra space.  Lyli had done some miraculous packing work and I would most likely fill that bag with what was in the big bag alone.  

Next stop was a fun used book store/coffee shop where we looked for a specific book Hilary was wanting for a gift. We did not find what we were looking for, but definately had fun looking.  The next stop was Phónatic.  I am a little phó obsessed and was glad to see ox tail and tripe in their combination bowl!!! Yay! Lucky for Hilary she had me when I was just a tad over tired and it is amazing how much more I let down my gaurd when I am sleep deprived.  No, I didn’t lick another McDonalds floor, but that is about where I was.  We talked for quite a while about all kinds of things.  After dinner we pulled into a bank drive through that was closed and covered out of the rain to repack and reorganize the bags.  Sure enough the roll bag was packed to the gills once we completely unloaded the ripped big bag.  We traded the clothes  In my backpack for books and food.  I’m sure the bank caught some entertaining footage on their security cameras.  A second restaurant for dessert of lemon mousse was amazing!!!  I only have an after picture mmmmm. 

The last stop was Barns & Nobles.  I didn’t buy anything as my bags were full, but I am interested to read this book. And I loved the Kodiak book we found. 

A nice lady in the Alaska section took a picture of us and I love it! Hilary I don’t know if you know how awesome you are!?! But it has been a while since I have felt completely relaxed, gaurd free, unfiltered with anyone like I did on our girls night.  I hope you had as much fun as I did.  Thank you! 

I felt a lot less eyes on me with my roller bag and now less pregnant backpack walking through the airport this time.  Not that that should be important to me, but it was more comfortable and this time I knew my bags would fit in the storage compartments and under the seat in front of me with out a struggle or making a scene.  Just before my plane boarded they called for 10 people who would be willing to check one of their carryon bags as they were full and would quickly run out of overhead bins for storage.  So I checked the roll on bag free of charge and they marked it through to Bismarck even though I was changing from American Airlines to Delta in Minneapolis.  I was not completely confident that it would arive with me but it would help them, it would help me, and it was free.  It sounded like a win win to me.  I slept the flight to Seattle away getting coffee at the first Starbucks that I found.  From the C concourse to N was a bit of walking and a tram away.  I found my gait then ate the banana and drank my latté  breaking into the Harborside chocolate covered coffee beans.  I mostly checked my email, Facebook, and people watched.  I did fall asleep for a bit and hoped that I didn’t miss them announcing that my gate had been moved, or in my tiredness snore loudly.   I slept all of the next flight and the one after that.  With the help of ibuprofen I had managed to avoid the back and neck ache from the compression of not laying down for a few days. I had imagined that I would feel like I had been hit by a Mac truck and instead I felt really good. Besides missing every complementary beverage service for all four flights, it had all worked out quite nicely. I took my time walking to my gate in Minneapolis skipping every moving sidewalk and most of the escalators.  I dined in at a cute little restaurant people watching some more the waitress was kind, I loved that she filled my hydra flask with ice water for me.  None of the stores looked interesting I’m not really at a magazine point in my life and more coffee didn’t sound appetizing.  Instead I just found my gate and started working on the blog. A recruiter called me as I was lined up to board.  He started into his spiel that he had jobs all over Northern California and could pay me crisis rates of thirty (pause) one hundred dollars a week.  I laughed and repeated back, “One hundred dollars a week! That is a special deal.” He quickly set me strait that it was $3,100/week. Yeah, thanks but no thanks.  I’m not out looking for the highest dollar assignments I like to work places that I am proud of working at.  Besides that I don’t know that he could possibly offer me enough as the feeling of knowing we are going home is priceless.  Chad and the kids actually parked the car and came in to meet me at the airport.  They were hooping and hollering when they saw me waiting impatiently at the bottom of the escalator with Chad reigning them in so they didn’t try to climb up them making this mommy feel very loved and missed. They kept hugging me and all talking at once.  We stopped at Buffalo Wild Wings and ordered two different medium sized baskets with five different dipping  sauces eating them sushi style trying all the different combos and sharing them all together.  It was so fun!!!  I have the best family ever and am so glad to be all together again. 

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2 thoughts on “He Carries Me

  1. Hilary

    I had such a great time! Can’t wait to meet up with you guys again. I am sure it will happen!!

  2. Jen Shoemaker

    I’m so glad to hear your Kodiak assignment was amazing! And to experience an entire Alaskan summer–even better! Wish we could have seen you all again but we’re grateful we saw you on the way through! Praying for you all as you get settled in to being home again. What you’ve accomplished is truly amazing! Hopefully the kids won’t be too bored with normal life!!

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