Open-mouthed  As of today, I am officially employed.  Probably not what most people are blogging about, but for me, this is a milestone! 
Okay folks … let’s play catch-up.  Seriously, this post is full of tragedy, illness, near-death and rebirth (that’s dramatic).
February 27, 2008: Happily employed at New Life Centers … love the people, love the job.  I work with some of the most dedicated, interesting, complex and let’s face it … funny/quirky/weird people ever.  Kim and I have an established routine in which we run across the street to St. Marks Hospital every day around 10:00 a.m. for our morning coffee and visits with Linda.  We look like human Pac-Man as we dodge cars and slushy puddles.  We try to wrap our brains around the idea that to be a receptionist at NLC only requires one to know how to knit… there’s your weird.
There is a strange feel in the air and nothing is quite right.  A rumor is flying that we will close … this is confirmed at 8:37 p.m. when Pat calls me at home to inform me that effective Friday, NLC is no more!  I will spare you the tears and lumpy-throat feeling, my much-loved career that I would have stayed with forever, is over!   (eyes raised to the ceiling, please place the back of your hand on your forehead and let out a weary sigh)
I spend my weekend licking my wounds and pray that something as wonderful will come along … hey I believe in Karma she was the one that brought me to NLC in the first place…she will be back.
Grandpa isn’t feeling well.  My mom has been with him all weekend.  "Will you stay with Grandpa Monday?"  I arrive at 8:20 ish, Grandpa is sound asleep.  Once awake it is clear he is much sicker than he is admitting.  An EXCITING visit to the ER.  Yep, he will be admitted.  Seems he has contracted aspiration pneumonia and will require respiratory therapy.  I am so THANKFUL that I have this opportunity to spend time with my Grandpa…OK, the exception being all of the ‘Bowel talk’ … old people are V-E-R-Y concerned about making sure this topic is thoroughly covered…Believe me, it WAS!
Time with Grandpa is very well spent.  Between naps (his) and homework, (mine), we talk * talk * talk.  I am priveleged to be able to spend the next several months at his side…Yes, I even endured that pablum they call "therapeutic food" with him.  Yeah, we finally settle on a Retirement Home in which, "The meals are quite satisfactory."  The daily visits continue as we have fallen into a routine that includes drives, errands, meals (I expect a medal here…the meals part, I mean), and daily reminders of bowel concerns … As our family vacation approaches, I am asked, "Do you have to go with your family Sandra?"  and "I’ve gotten so used to you being here, I don’t know what I’ll do."  Oh, the guilt!  At 94, he looks like a scared child as I bid farewell for two weeks…He will survive, He is much-loved, He’s a wonderful man, my Grandpa.   
It takes some time to get back in routine once we return … I am absolutely WIPED… >insert dramatic percussion music here<  I am sick but hide it well … Passing out, bloody diarrhea, fevers, chills, I HURT everywhere!!!!  Guess what?  I don’t say a word … i must be a saint!  So self-sacrificing, so selfless, so absolutely insane that by the time my dad takes me to the hospital i am crying that I just need … not want, but NEED to D-I-E …  See?  I said this would be dramatic!
I will be filling in the Dengue Fever blanks later on, for now, we will leave it at this …  After two months in bed, too many tears and waaaaaaaaay too much drama, I decided to start looking for a job.  I need to get out and be among the living.  It’s been a long and difficult time for my family and me … and I need to start getting serious about paying off my student loan … Soooo, although my doctor says it may be too soon, I venture out.  Two interviews later … I am offered a wonderful position with a company that I believe in.  I will once again be working to advocate for those that need it most … children with mental and behavioral difficulties!
                  The papers are signed, I’ve tinkled in a cup and passed the physical … HOORAY!  I start Monday and I am READY!  A milestone!
                          Light bulb  Did I tell you I went back to school?  There is no such thing as too much education, right?!?  Light bulb

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