Sunday, July 27, 2014

Let's hug it out

I was never much of a hugger. I always found hugs to be a very personal experience - yet I felt that people were too lenient with them, giving them away to anyone and everyone. I noticed that some acquaintances, especially girl friends, would want to hug every single time they saw you (Um...but we just saw each other we really need to hug?) This annoyed me. A hug should be special. It should mean something.

Things changed after "knee-gate" (2012-2014). After 4 knee surgeries and countless hours on my couch, heavily medicated, I became...well...kinda sucky. Please hug me. I'll take a hug from the Courier dude. Girl Guide wants a hug? Sure thing. Stinky stragglers exiting detox in the morning - why not? Let's hug it out. I guess I was craving some sort of human contact that demonstrated that someone genuinely cared for me. I turned into a hug whore, I suppose.

Now that I'm healthy physically and emotionally, I've reverted back to my theory of saving hugs for genuine personal experiences. In the last few weeks, I've done a lot of hugging. Hugging is a powerful nonverbal way of expressing, "I care for you," which is appropriate when you are saying goodbye to someone who means something to you. It's strange though. It seems as though some people feel compelled to hug you when they are saying goodbye. There are some acquaintances who are simply that...acquaintances. Although we've never really shared any personal experiences together, we have to hug now?  Hmm...That's awkward. A hug means crossing someone's physical space and in some instances, it just feels more like an obligation. On the other hand, I've found myself recently hug-seeking with Evan to feel a sense of security, a way of feeling safe amongst all this chaos.  The other night, as I lay wide awake at 4am, mind swirling with activity, I poked Evan repeatedly in the shoulder until he woke up.

"Are you awake?"

"I am now. What do you need?"

"Just a hug."

Poor Ev. How annoying! Luckily, he's able to multi-task - you know, hug and sleep at the same time.

Since I have been engaging in an excessive amount of hugging lately, I thought I could share some hugging observations with you.

Here are some things I've noticed about hugging:

1) Almost everyone goes to the left for a hug. I read somewhere that if we hug right, our hearts touch. Perhaps the thought of myocardium to myocardium is just too much for us to tolerate? Go hug someones - $5 says you went left. See?

2) Some people can't commit  to the hug - 1 arm? know what, don't bother. You don't really want to hug, do you? haha. How about a "high 5" instead?

3) Some people go in for the extra squeeze as the hug is terminating. That squeeze tells me, "It's hard to let you go." The squeeze is saved for very meaningful relationships. In the right circumstance, the squeeze feels amazing.

4) When a hug is really special to me, I close my eyes and soak it up. I always wonder if my "hugee's" eyes are open or closed?

5) Most people hug for 3-5 seconds. Any hug that lasts more than 10 seconds can result in a very calming effect. Scientists claim that after 20 seconds of hugging, the "love hormone," oxytocin is released, creating a "high" in your brain and feelings of trust with the person with whom you are hugging. So hold on for those extra few seconds, people!

Side Note: We move to Cayman in 2 weeks. Every morning I wake up with a brand new zit on my face. Either a) I'm stressed to the max and/or b) I'm going through puberty...again. Man, I hope I get boobs this time around. Haha.
Hugs: They're Grrrrrreat!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Wastin' away again in Margaritaville

Life has been busy. I finished up my last week of work. Although it was a bit of an emotional roller coaster, it was good. It felt good. Over the last few months, I've wondered how it would feel to leave the hospital - a job that I really really enjoyed for 5 years. I envisioned myself sobbing down the hallway, box of high heels in hand (those heels sat stagnant under my desk through 2 years of knee surgeries), as I walked through those malfunctioning automatic doors that always end up slamming you in the face....but, it wasn't like that. I definitely said a lot of good-byes, and some of them were emotional, but overall, I honestly just felt extremely lucky that I had the opportunity to work with so many awesome people. The night before my last day of work; however, I actually felt my heart hurting - or perhaps it was acid reflux? Nevertheless, the feeling eventually subsided. Despite the challenges I faced over the past few years, I will always look back on my time at the Victoria Hospital as some of the best years of my life - a time in my life where I learned the most about myself - who I am, and who I want to be. I know that I will continue to keep in touch with those work friends whom I've become close to, but, overall, it feels "right" to close that chapter.

My co-workers made me feel really special. Level 5 presented me with some beautiful roses, cake, and a lovely speech (why do people wait until you're leaving to tell you how much they appreciate you? - we should tell people everyday!) The therapies department had lunch catered in and threw a tropical themed going away party for me, which involved Margaritaville pina coladas, margaritas, daiquiris, and mojitos - sounds like a super idea until you wake up the next day feeling like someone's slammed a coconut over your head, and your tongue is coated with a hairy, unidentifiable substance. They also had a pirate piñata filled with booze (YES!!!), an unreal Cayman Island cake baked by the amazing, April (Why are there sharks circling the island?) and a very special book called, "I'm All About Fun." This book makes my heart soooo happy. Over the past few weeks, co-workers have been passing around this book and writing me farewell messages. I absolutely love this book. Reading the messages makes me laugh, cry, and feel incredibly special. I couldn't imagine a better gift and I know there will be some challenging times when this book will lift my spirits.
Beautiful roses - thanks Level 5!

Margarita Melissa - shake it up, girl
Reading "I'm all about fun"

This cake is epic...Thank you, April!

Pirate piñata - Arg matey!

It's now time to get to work and prepare for this move. I spent the day waiting on hold with every utility/cable/internet company to disconnect services. Shaw actually misunderstood me and disconnected my satellite this morning. I just about lost my shit when Ellen unexpectedly vanished from my TV screen. ACK!!!  My internet provider dude was so impressed with my new location that he stated, "That is the coolest place any of our disconnects have ever moved to!" To which I replied, "Do I get some sort of discount for that?" Haha.

Preparing our pets for this move is a whole other issue entirely. It is actually easier for me to work in the Cayman Islands than it is to import a small dog and cat. This has entailed numerous vet appointments, blood work, and certificates from the Department of Agriculture. Our poor cat, Biloxi, has been through this before with a move to the UK in 2007. That move, for the record, did NOT go well for Bilox. After a miscommunication with the vet, he ended up in quarantine at Heathrow Airport. Like a furry little criminal who smuggled in catnip, he was deemed, "A danger to the nation." Devastating. For this trip, the pets will be allowed as carry-on; however, the dog might have to cut weight here in the next few weeks. He appears to presently be 0.5lbs over Air Canada's guidelines. A haircut and solid bowel movement should take care of that. I figure Air Canada owes me one, anyway. After "losing" my call after 45 minutes on hold, I'll take my extra 0.5lbs of puppy as a consolation prize. Damn you, Air Canada.

In addition, I am also vigorously emailing our property manager in the Cayman Islands to inquire about properties. We intend to rent a 2 bedroom condo while we're on the island, and there is currently tons available, but I would feel more comfortable if we had something secured before our move. On the other hand, if we search upon our arrival, it would feel a little "House Hunters International-ish" and that could be pretty cool. "Did they choose the one with the view, the house on the hill, or the large condo with the pool?" Evan and I would look into each other's eyes and reply in unison (of course), "the one with the view!!" Hmm....that could make for fabulous blog material. I'm on the fence.

So things are busy and chaotic, and I really do need to keep my head clear and lay off the Margaritaville, but so far, so good.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Like a mosquito in a nudist camp

As I wandered aimlessly behind the Nurses desk on level 5, completely overwhelmed, searching for a patient's chart, Dr F's  friendly South African accent commented, "Wow, you look like a mosquito in a nudist camp!"

Yes. Yes. Yes. That's EXACTLY how I feel.

Where do I begin?

OK. I have 1 week of work left at the hospital. We move to the Cayman Islands in 4 weeks. Our house (one of the very few structures I've ever become emotionally attached to) just sold on Friday. We have nowhere to live (YET) on the Cayman Islands. I will begin a brand new job as a Speech Pathologist in 6 weeks. I have 3 upcoming appointments with the vet to ensure the 700-ish pieces of paperwork to import my furry friends to the island are complete. We are actively "liquidating our assets" (Who wants a 52 inch TV? Anyone? I'll throw in a bar stool...anyone?) I will soon be saying goodbye to the people who mean the most to me in my life (although I completely expect that they will ALL visit us). And...I have a patient who needs a swallowing assessment ASAP and I cannot locate her chart!

If you happened to follow my last blog: you are aware that Evan and I made a big decision in May. I was offered a job as a Speech Pathologist in the Cayman Islands and we decided to jump at the opportunity and head out on a new adventure - it caused a bit of a stir amongst our family, friends, and co-workers. I think people who really know Evan and I "get it." Although the decision to move to a tropical island (sight unseen!), was a very difficult one to make, it totally made sense for us. Evan and I have been together for 17 years and with Ev's former career as a professional hockey player, we have lived in 18 different places around the world. We thrive on new adventure. It keeps us charged. It keeps us on our toes. We have been quietly strategizing a move like this for years whilst watching a bazillion episodes of "House Hunters International," so it totally made sense when this opportunity arose. People who don't know Evan and I well, on the other hand, don't always understand why we are doing this. And that's totally ok. To each his own. And, contrary to some of the rumours floating around, I am NOT leaving Evan, nor is the business bankrupt, nor am I pregnant with some incredibly hot neurosurgeon's baby (oh, wait, that was an episode of Grey's Anatomy). We are simply moving to the Cayman Islands because we want to. I know, boring, right? haha.
SOLD! Holy shit. 

So as I buzz around aimlessly trying to figure out which way is up, I'm attempting to soak up everyone and everything about my present life that is awesome - all the fabulous things I will miss terribly when we are gone. I find myself laughing with good friends and thinking, "I will miss her laugh" or taking a fantastic long shower in what I once considered my dream bathroom thinking, "I wonder if I will have good water pressure on the island?" I anticipate a tough week ahead, as I say farewell to my awesome co-workers and life as the "swallowing lady" (That's me!) at the Victoria Hospital. I'm also trying to visualize what our new life will look like, hoping that we will make friends and easily transition into life on a small tropical island. And every now and then I stop and think, "Holy Crap - I can't believe we're actually gonna do this. Are we nuts?!"

No stopping now. Bring it on.

Welcome to Making Waves - Kirstie's adventure in the Cayman Islands!

I will miss these lovely faces....

...and my buddy's laugh

...and my sister's smile
Just to name a few...