What Is “Home”?

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Webster defines ” home” as:

1)The  house in which a person or family lives.

2)The place where something is usually or naturally found.

3) Place of origin.

“Home” has become very different for me. I really don’t have an official place where me or my family lives, we are naturally found literally all over the place, and my place of origin isn’t even this country.  So, as with any new location, when you are “the new girl” the very first question you are asked is “where are you from” or “where is your home”. I have come to realize, that for me there is no easy answer. In fact, there is no answer at all.

I have been in this new temporary location of New Town, North Dakota for a little over a week, and will be here roughly until mid December. I’m treating patients on an Indian Reservation in a new clinic with four physicians and one other NP.  The town is small, although oil was just struck here so it’s a bit of a boom town. (There will be a post dedicated to just this place soon, I have some catching up to do with assignments and places).

So how DO I answer that simple but very complex question? To some people, home is that main dwelling that has a mortgage, that you’ ve owned for years with a flower garden and an address you can count on.  Some live in one house but think of their home as another dwelling in another place, usually where you grew up. Home has different connotations for different people.

For me, I have come to realize that through the choices I have made and for all practical purposes I am basically professionally homeless. My belongings are safely stored and my address is a PO box with forwarded mail. I own what I can pack in a car and I’m not even sure where the next location will be. I have learned that things, however much coveted and enjoyed, are temporary, but the people in your life trump them all.

So where is my home?

For me? Home is a person (or people), and not a place.

No matter where (or whom) you consider “home” it should be your safe place. Your castle. The place you look forward to going to after a work shift. The place you can kick your shoes off and watch a football game. Sleep with both eyes closed. And feel happy, at peace, but most of all thankful that you’re there.

So my home is in Ipswich Suffolk England. It’s in South Pasadena, Ca. Portland, Oregon and Flagstaff, Az. It’s in Tucson and Phoenix and London. And soon to be another in Columbus Ohio. I may not have an actual dwelling I can always go to, but I am blessed beyond belief to have the people in my life that I can call home. For I have many. They are all different, but they are all home.

And for the next 12 weeks, my home is in New Town, North Dakota. An extremely different land that I am just now getting to know. Stay tuned.

So wherever it is that you call home, take care of it, appreciate it, and make it your own. And just like Dorothy said…..”there’s no place like home”……

 

Until next time,

Be kind, Be thankful, and be true to who you are.

Cheers,

Polley93

 

 

 

 

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Orange Is NOT The New Black

When my recruiter called and asked me if I’d like to do an assignment in Corrections an hour outside of Flagstaff, Az, all I heard was the Flagstaff Az part. I would be closer to my three out of four kids and rest of family and I had been up in Crescent City, Ca (most northern city, five miles shy of Oregon) for several months. I finished work on a Wednesday evening, 1500 miles away, hit the highway on Thursday morning because I was to start at the new assignment on Monday morning, when I really started thinking about the word……”Corrections”……meaning “Prison”…..well, I thought to myself, with an inmate population of over 1800, I would be working with another provider OBVIOUSLY, so I was okey dokee….love that team work thing.

I could literally write a book on my seven  month experience at the Winslow State Prison but I will keep it blog worthy. Even now I can sit back and think “what the HELL…….”

I had a couple days training, quickly came into the realization that I would be the ONLY provider for this massive group in orange pajamas. The first week I got used to finding things, everything being locked, and that dreadful sound of doors slamming shut and locking behind you. A sea of orange everywhere you looked. “Hey Doc!! What are we gonna do about my __________” (fill in the blank here with any ailment you could possibly imagine) as I walked down what felt like “the green mile” every morning to the gate I got to open with keys that all looked the same to get into the Medical building.  This was all gonna be ok….right?

Yes….it was true…..I was living and working right smack in the middle of an episode of “Prison Break”. All the characters were there. I played the Dr. girl in the white coat, there were the racial groupings with the leaders, the staff and the CO’s. Yep….Prison Break. The only difference is there was no Scoffield, and the prison wasn’t brick. Oh boy…..but still…..an awesome staff, very friendly, very funny, and a routine that I could handle. This truly was gonna be ok……

Then? Reality…..yes Tink, you do work in a prison…..

One of my very first days of working by myself I was looking for some form and went across the hall from my office and exam room to the main hub where all the nurses worked and the CO’s had their working area…..I looked out of the window and saw a sea of orange kinda float into one big massive pile out on the yard as all kinds of walkie talkies were blowing up with language I did not understand (no new employee orientation for me until I was there for months) so I stood there, looking like a deer caught in the headlights, saying “what the heck is going on???”….One word, said in unison…..

“RIOT”.

*Enter flashback to an episode of Prison Break that was filled with blood and shanks and weapons made out of everything possibly imaginable…..but thats television right?*

Wrong.

All I could seem to  mutter was “What do I do?” Answer? “Go to the ER and we will start bringing in bodies……”

Really????

It took about two seconds for my brain to flip that switch from deer in the headlights, not really knowing anyone, the routine, or where anything was, into my ICU/ER alter ego and ran into the small ER within the medical building. I looked at three gurneys, equipment against the wall, over the bed procedure lights, and a wall covered with cupboards….and then? Yep, the bodies started coming in.

I won’t describe the full event, because quite honestly, I don’t remember details it was so quick. I felt like an air traffic control person, directing traffic and doing quick triage. Everyone was cut or stabbed, the worst being a carotid artery, but there were quite a few bodies that were either brought in, treated or bussed out in ambulances. It was surreal.

That was the first week.

I was there for a total of seven months. There were a total of three riots while I was there. The worst in my book was the one where there were loads of inmates brought into that little ER but very little blood. Just little holes in bodies. Come to find out the damage was caused by pieces of fence that were slowly but surely worked off as small pieces, wrapped around the middle finger and bent down the palm to not be seen and the when whoever was leader gave the signal, the fence pieces were bend and turned to stick straight up from the fist and with every punch there was a stab wound. Kidneys, spleens and lungs were all stabbed. Again, thankful for my ICU/ER years where you could quickly see internal bleeds…….

To sum it up:

I never got used to orange, I still have an aversion to the color. I worked  harder than I ever could have imagined. I learned more than I ever thought I would. I saw squandering of state funds. Underpaid employees responsible for great feats in a dangerous environment. I saw tax money being spent on a high percentage of Mexican illegals. The Mexican cartel is alive and well in our American prison system. That prison is a world of its own with its own language, rules, and heirarchy within the prison walls with the inmates. That the gang mentality and behavior was a daily thing, the ethnic groups were clearly divided, ran their own side businesses, and somehow communicated with their outside counterparts, even in other prisons. Saw more tattoos that I thought was humanly possible. Became an expert on Hepatitis C.  That drug availability is easier within the walls than out. That not ALL prison inmates are bad. And that I worked with the best group of people I have ever had the pleasure of working with.

Not sure I would ever repeat the experience. Top story you ask? Well prepare yourself because to me? It was the infamous MARBLE MAN, who had surgically implanted a full sized marble into the shaft of his you know what with a RAZOR BLADE, it had been there for five months, became severely infected and wanted me to “get it out”…….I had no words. To the ER he went. No way…….

You can’t say what I do for a living is dull…..

Until next time……Cheers!

Leave a comment and let me know you were here!

Polley93

Why a Blog?

CC and UK 2014 046“The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination”. (Don Williams Jr.)

My life has been a complex collection of successes and failures that have culminated into the person I am. I think we all can look back and see where we have missed it, but the beauty of it is that the lessons are all there for us to learn from, gain from and grow from. We can continue on the same ride, or we can change it.

If I had my dream life I would be a writer. Just write everything. I can picture myself in a room with some kind of antique desk in front of a big picture window somewhere on the English countryside pouring thousands of words into a laptop. Trouble is, I love electricity and sometimes writing just doesn’t keep the lights on.  I always knew I would write, I must have a thousand novels hidden deep within my soul and this dream of mine has always played second fiddle to the demands life offers. I always knew that someday I would be able to follow my true passion, and I feel like even though I won’t be in front of that picture window somewhere on the English countryside, I can do the best with what I have and simply start. And this I have done. My first work of fiction is well underway. “264 moons” has indeed become my fifth child. I plan on self publishing this novel, along with a coffee table book of my photos and a book on the current travel endeavor, with a chapter for each location.

I somehow raised three sons and one daughter (who by the way are my whole and entire purpose for this life and are each adored for the amazing people they are), and educated myself a little later than most and am now a Family Nurse Practitioner. I am working to combine the two vocations, one out of being capable, and one out of passion, to create something, although I’m not altogether sure of what it is I’m creating. As with most things, time will tell. I am not in control of what is around the next corner, and although it may not be book worthy, it may be blog worthy. This is my hope. Being a lifetime amateur photographer will paint a picture along the way.

At this  juncture in life I am more of a “why not” person instead of a “why”. I have chosen to give up my home (scary, yes) and travel for the next two years or so with certain goals in mind. Again, from experience, I realize that plans can change, goals change, and sometimes things just don’t work out. I feel there is a lot to learn out there, tons of pictures for me to take, more stories for me to both tell and write, and people to help. There is much need in this country of ours, especially with the aged, the Vets, single parent homes and children. I’m not sure I can make a big difference, but I do believe I can perhaps make a small one and write about it on the way.

It is my wish that this blog can be both a diary of sorts, and a place to share. A format to express views no matter if they are similar. Those of you who know me know how I love a good banter! I am hoping that there will be some that would like to come with me and share in my journey and participate when the opportunity arises. I honestly do not know how this will turn out, but that is what makes it the adventure it was born to be.

So, as I sit here and realize my life is in boxes in some storage unit, my kids are in four different cities and scattered in different states, I have two suitcases in the process of being packed, and I depart this next coming weekend for some dot on the map in North Dakota, I don’t feel scared. I am open for whatever life has in store for me, am open to learning new things, meeting new people, and finding new words to describe the experience. For those of you who will follow this journey, I assure you it won’t be dull and I thank you for taking the time. (you can follow or get emails alerting of new posts on the sidebar to the left) I welcome any and all comments or suggestions, and perhaps will be in need of an occasional couch to rest my head if these assignments don’t line up as I hope they will. I guess you could call me “professionally homeless”, and that makes me laugh!

Until next time…….Cheers!

Polley93

Decided to give up my home and travel to unknown destinations providing healthcare to the underserved. Also an Indie Author and Amateur Photographer. Take my hand and travel along with me, let's learn from each other and somehow make this world a little better. All photographs on this website are my own. Sincerely, Cathy aka Polley93

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