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super important top-of-the-page thing.
It looks like I owe nearly 14K on my totalled car. Help.

3/31/04
I just woke up from an afternoon nap (well, it's 10pm, sort-of an afternoon nap) and had the weirdest set of dreams. So strange that I can't even describe them narratively. But I woke up feeling like I had disappointed everyone I knew and just wanted to die. It really was unsettling.

In not-strange-dream-news, I'm getting a tax refund of about $800. I am so thrilled, I never get refunds.

And in actual happy news, only two months until Return of the King comes out on DVD. Well, the first DVD - the extended edition won't be out until Christmas, but that's OK - I'll be buying this the day it's released.

later on 3/30/04
I'm glad that Sue is recapping her College Jeopardy experience, because they're holding contestant searches in NYC in June and I put my name on the list. I hope I get picked, because it is my lifelong dream to be on Jeopardy and hey, if I can accomplish that by the time I'm 30, then I have plenty of time to figure out a new lifelong dream (which will probably entail spending my Jeopardy winnings).

And ooh, they're doing Floyd Collins up by Jen this summer. I am so there.

Tesse's version of our trip | Michael's version of our trip

3/30/04
OK, recap time!

I was supposed to go and see Pardon my English at Encores on Friday night. So I left the house at 6pm, plenty of time to get to the city. But with the accident on 95 and the accident at the Goethals Bridge, traffic on the turnpike was backed up forever. So I got to about exit 13A, where IKEA and Jersey Gardens (outlet mall) are, and called my friends to say I wasn't coming. Instead, I went to the mall, where I hadn't been in ages, and did some retail therapy (two new hats, a spring-y dress, lots of linen at Old Navy). I splurged on a ten-minute "AquaMassage" in this huge rubber iron-lung-esque machine, and it was amazing. I want one.

So after wasting time there, I came back to the turnpike and the traffic was, of course, gone. I drove into the city to pick up Michael and Tesse, and we drove back to Matawan.

Cut to Saturday morning. We got up relatively early for a Saturday, and drove down to the Bryn Mawr book fair in Princeton (we picked up Ben on the way, and he did a very Dukes of Hazzard entrance into the car). For $15, I got a huge boxful of books, including an autographed Ward Morehouse book, some books about the Algonquin Round Table, Studs Terkel's autobiography, a few books on Hamlet and some humor books that looked interesting. Then we went to the Record Exchange and browsed. We had lunch with Tesse's parents and two of their friends at this amazing Dim Sum place in Hamilton - I stuffed myself silly on shrimp rolls and sticky buns. Very funny crowd - all liberal Democrats into theatre and odd books. So when they asked where we had all met, Tesse and Michael and I answered with things like, "Young Republicans meeting," and "Pro-War Rally". We are nuts. Anyway.

Tunes for the ride: well, not really tunes, but we listened to - and quoted along with - a recording of Take Me Out.

So then we went to Philly to see The Great Ostrovsky, a new musical by Cy Coleman and Avery Corman. It's set in the 1920's and it's about a theatre impresario ala Boris Tomashevsky. And - big surprise - I really enjoyed it. I mean, it's "in progress" and I think the book needs some work/tightening, but the music is good, and the performers were superb. Especially Bob Gunton, who just wins over the audience. Jeff was in the show (and was terrific in a mostly-acting-not-singing role) and we'd talked earlier in the day, so we met up afterwards to say hi. He's going to be in MFL at the McCarter later this spring. And while the score annoys the heck out of me, I've never seen an actual production - and besides, Michael Cumpsty is also in it, and I never miss a Michael Cumpsty musical.

Oh, before the show, when we were at dinner, there was a pregnant woman in the bathroom who needed help (she had previously lost the baby and was scheduled for a D&C today), so I asked if I could help, as a student nurse. She wasn't hemmoraghing or in shock, so I sat with her until the ambulance was on its way and the female cop (oh right, her friend had called 911) was there to stay with her.

So after the show and after talking to Jeff, we walked back to the garage where we'd parked and were on our way to Baltimore.

Tunes for the ride: Jerry Springer, the opera - and all I have to say is, "What the fuck, what the fuck, what the fucking fucking fuck?" LOVED it, must see it.

We got to our Motel 6 around 1am, and would have fallen right asleep had it not been for the uncomfortable mattress, loud neighbors and street noise. So after a bad night's rest, we were all set for a bad production of Sweeney Todd. It was bad. Bad enough that even I wanted to leave at intermission. We had Chelsea-boy Sweeney, understated Mrs. Lovett and a six-piece "orchestra" that cut all of the underscoring. At least the acoustics were amazingly good - I could understand every word, which is a must with Sondheim.

Michael's friend Iris had recommended a really good Afghan restaurant near the theatre, so we went there for dinner, and ordered enough entrees and appetizers to share. Delicious.

Owing to the food coma and the fact that I was exhausted, Tesse drove us home and I fell asleep in the backseat. They took the train from Matawan back to the city and I went to bed and that was the end of the weekend.

Today was clinical at Children's Specialized Hospital up in Mountainside. Except for getting up at the asscrack of dawn to get there, I loved it. Really sick kids (just how I like them). Can't wait to go back on Thursday.

3/29/04
I will recap the weekend as soon as I get a chance to breathe - probably tomorrow.

3/27/04
OK - off to Philly for the weekend!

3/25/04
Peds - eh. Still not my thing. But my patient today was a 3-month old baby girl and she was just the sweetest thing ever. Not to be confused with William, the CutestBabyInTheWorld(tm), who I really need to go visit soon. But sweet anyway.

Michael, Tesse and I saw a new play - Sixteen Wounded - last night. I really enjoyed it, both for the thought-provoking nature of it (Holocaust survivor mentors young Palistinian student) and for the fact that the leading man (no, not Judd Hirsch, Omar Metwally) is possibly the best looking person I've seen in eons. Perhaps ever. I want to see it again from say, the first row.

And how cool is this? Aftercollege.com is one of our partners at NJNS, and they selected our president, Lisa, as their featured student - very cool.

And how doubly cool is it that Google has now created Froogle? No, it's not a puppet, it's a product search engine. I am in love.

3/24/04
I had a dream last night that I was on some sort of Survivor-esque reality show that required you to do things like follow clues to collect animal parts or play water volleyball (at which I stank royally), and that it was being taped every evening at a time when I had a class (that I was cutting so I could go to the taping of this show). My team was winning because I used my brain and speed to get through some of the challenges.

This is very odd because I have never seen an entire episode of Survivor and I really can't stand reality tv.

3/23/04
I'm so tired - I'm sleeping all the time. I worked this weekend, and on Sunday the supervisor asked if I could work the overnight shift. I thought about it, and decided that it would be easier for me to stay up all night and go to clinical (where I had to be at 7.30am) than it would be to go home, fall asleep at 1am, and get up at 6am. So I worked in ER holding - home of the psych patients - overnight and then went up to clinical. And when I got home at 1.15pm, I went to bed and didn't get up until this morning. And I'm still exhausted. I need to get my bloodwork redone this week, maybe I'm anemic. I have an appt with Dr. C. on next Monday, so I'll mention the sleep thing.

So, this week is my Peds clinical rotation. And I'm bored out of my mind. I knew Peds wasn't my thing before we started this semester, but this week is just hammering home that I have no interest in working here. Bring on the geriatrics. Children just annoy me.

3/20/04
Sleepy.

Instead of snow, we got rain. So now we have no more snow - it's all washed away.

3/18/04
What better way to spend St. Patrick's Day than with a nice glass of Bailey's on the rocks? I wouldn't know - Marie's was out of Bailey's. Anyway, spent a few hours with Jay et al at MC, and then crashed on Jay's futon - and I even managed the six (six!) flights of stairs to the apartment. Whew.

Today was my first day back at work in about a week and a half - not too bad, but I think I overexerted myself, even with the "light duty" assignment. I'm working tomorrow, Sat, Sun and Mon, too - and Mon is back to clinical. At least I spent my spring break doing something I love - sleeping.

And happy birthday to Keith, aka Edna.

And guess what we're getting tonight/tomorrow? Another 4-7 inches of - yes, you guessed it - snow!

3/17/04
Oh look, more snow.

3/16/04
Huh - yesterday I was wearing a sundress and sandals, and had the top down on the car. Today we have four inches of snow.

Went to see The Broadway Musicals of 1935 last night with Michael, Tesse, David and another hundred people that we know (or so it seemed). Dinner afterwards at Cafe 1-2-3 (delicious, not too pricey, Douglas Sills moment), and then down to Marie's for a quick one. And I mean that - I had one drink and was then not in the mood to stay for whatever reason (I noted last night to Jay that it seemed "just too gay in here," before remembering that Marie's Crisis is, in fact, a gay bar). David gave me a bonecrushing hug on my way out, which just sent me reeling - not from any sort of feelings towards him, but from this overwhelming PAIN. He realized immediately that hugs = bad for a while, and I sat down with a glass of ice water until I could actually breathe again. I mean, I've never had my breath taken away quite so literally before! Better today. Took a percocet when I got home, and then a Benadryl at 7am or so, so I was able to just rest.

Mom and I were going to see Rene Pape in Don Giovianni tonight at the Met, but the weather was miserable, so we bailed.

later on 3/14/04
I just found out that Dr. Feldman, with whom I discussed the Heather "I'm not really in a coma" Decker story, has a new book out, all about Munchausen and "disease forgery" - people who make up diseases, or fake major illness (altho the HD story isn't in it, because Dr. Feldman told me it would take fifty pages just to set up the backstory). As amazon.com says,

Psychiatrist Marc Feldman describes patients' strange motivations, from malingerers who invent chronic back pain to avoid work to mothers who demand major abdominal surgery for their healthy children because they derive perverse pleasure from medical attention. Self-induced bleeding, fake fevers, and even a bogus asthma attack so convincing that doctors rush the patient to ICU are the stock in trade of patients with these disorders. Practitioners are deeply disturbed by these patients, angry about the time and resources they consume but nervous about confronting them with the truth.
The book comes out in May, I can't wait to read it. I love a good medical mystery and this kind of psych thing always makes me think.

Oh, got the plates for my car - tomorrow (since this week is spring break) I'm going to try and get the car inspected.

3/14/04
Michael, Tesse, David and I went to see a horrendously bad production of Kiss of the Spider Woman at PACE University last night. It was atrociously bad. Really bad. Afterwards, we went to Marie's, where it was packed with tourists. Even tho we had a lot of friends there (look here for Duncan's wrapup of the night - I love seeing my friends there), I think we were all tired and not in the mood to be there. So we hung out upstairs, where Pirates of the Caribbean was on the DVD player, and then moved downstairs when most of the crowd had left. I stayed over at Tesse's (no more tired driving home for me), and now I'm home and going back to bed.

I've been having these really weird dreams lately - not weird in the "holy crap, what does this mean?" way, but dreams about moving. Like packing up my things and literally getting in the moving truck to move. Last night I dreamed that I was moving to Boston for something related to school, and I had to get to the store to buy notebooks and folders and then I had to pack up all of my books and get on my way. Very odd.

My Palm Pilot has crashed in a big way - I can't even sync it to fix it. I'm hoping it just needs to charge up before I can try and sync it again. When I try to sync it, it says "MemoryMgr.c, Line:4475, Invalid chunk ptr" - anyone? anyone?

3/12/04
I've been sleeping as much as possible - naps are the best.

Last night we saw Sweeney Todd at City Opera. Loved it - it's always been one of my favorite scores, and I was thrilled to find out they were using the original staging and production. Mark Delavan and Elaine Paige were both amazing. And happily, I was able to sit still without too much pain. My upper back and chest have really been hurting a lot lately, but my knee feels better.

3/10/04
It's amazing how tired I am from being in pain. I slept all afternoon, which is going to suck for tonight because I have to be in Millburn - an hour away - at 7.30am tomorrow, which means I have to get up at 5.30am to be out the door by 6.15am. Ugh. I sense a percoset or a sleeping pill in my future.

3/9/04
The school nurse at Perth Amboy HS used to work with Mom. It's a small world.

Denial - it ain't just a river in Egypt. I have been in massive denial all year, and tonight I had to face it. Tonight I had to step up and face the music, face the truth. To do something I'd been putting off for weeks.

I watched the final episode of Sex and the City. It is no more. But it ended just the way I wanted it to. And I love Big. And I cried all the way through the end.

Denial no more. It's finished.

3/8/04
I survived my first day back at clinical and work. Clinical was interesting for about ten minutes and then incredibly dull. Today was a one-day observation at a company that does home-health monitoring for high-risk pregnancies, which sounds interesting, but entails sitting in front of a computer, looking at uterine movement strips that the patients send via modem, and counting the number of contractions. No real patient contact, not for me. Tomorrow is "school nurse" day.

Work was good, too. Everyone knows I'm on "light duty," so I can't pick up patients or boost them up in bed, but the rest of the crew was really helpful tonight. By the luck of the schedule draw, I'm now off for the next nine days. Which is just fine.

later on 3/7/04
Crazy People, with the late Dudley Moore.

Oh, and the other unanswerable question of the day - why does Hugh Jackman have to be so freakin' attractive and talented and stuff?

3/7/04
Well, after the sneezing incident, I had a fairly normal rest-of-weekend. I drove (in the new car) to the city and parked in the garage near Dad's (and warned Dad that I was sleeping on the couch no matter what). Went to see the crowd at Marie's and assure everyone that yes, I am still in one piece. Then I went to Dad's and slept, only to be rudely awakened at 11am with the bribe of freshly made Belgian waffles. After that, I went to J&R to pick up some extra-long-play videotapes (which apparently are only sold there, I can never find them here) and then drove Dad and Ann to Costco in Queens - after a quick detour over the Brooklyn Bridge and back, whatever, it's a nice day. I am in love with Costco. I bought a few necessities (jumbo size bottles of shampoo and conditioner, home-design software that I'd been looking for) and extras (400 cans of cat food for like $2.99). Amazing store.

And then I came home, read the Times and spackled the hallway walls in preparation for painting.

I'm feeling a lot better.

Today's mind-boggling question. There was some movie many years ago, about an advertising guy who decided to start being honest - sort of like Joe Isuzu. And one of the new slogans he came up with was, "Volvo: they're boxy, but they're safe," which then went on to mock Volvos by saying things like, "We know they're not sexy." What movie was that? I can't for the life of me think of what it was.

3/6/04
Well, I thought I was feeling better every day, but today I woke up feeling worse. I had breakfast around 11am and went back to bed until 4pm. And then I sneezed and my chest felt like I'd been shot - pain like I had never felt. I'm still trying to catch my bearings two hours later. It just hurts no matter what I do - if I take a deep breath, try to lie down on my back or side, try to squat down, etc.

My knee aches today - too much pain to think about it, but it looks a lot better today anyway. Except for the hematoma.

3/5/04
Martha Stewart guilty? Schadenfreude!

I got through two chapters of Clive Cussler before falling asleep.

My knee is feeling better every day. The big problem is keeping the cats from jumping on it. And Mimi loves to sit on my sternum, so I have to keep pushing her off.

Most of my errands are done - I need to sit down with my taxes etc, and mail it all to my accountant.

later on 3/4/04
And here I am, thinking I want something nice and light to read, since my attention span has been zero, and voila - I find that I have an unread Clive Cussler book right here on my dresser (at the bottom of a stack of "to-read" books). Don't know how I missed that one. Everything else on my pile seems to be academic or lengthy or just not what I need right now. The Cussler should be perfectly mind-numbing.

3/4/04
My knee's feeling better every day. My chest, tho, is still hurting like mad. I found my heating pad, and that's been helping. And the Percoset every 6 hours helps, too, especially since it puts me to sleep. But with the pain, I haven't really been sleeping soundly - more like dozing, since every time I move, I wake up.

I want to say a big heartfelt thank you to everyone who's clicked on the "make a donation" link. I'm overwhelmed with the responses, and it really means a lot to me. I'm planning to use the collection to put towards my legal fees, should I have a case against anyone (not giving away any details until after I find out). And if I don't have a case, it'll help pay for the totalled car. The Cabrio has been moved from the garage in Perth Amboy - where it was towed to - to a friend's tow lot (it's amazing - just when I need them, I realize that we have a towing company and a lawyer in close family proximity). The garage charged me over $450 for the towing and storage of the Cabrio, which shocks but does not surprise me.

So today I am off to get the new car photo inspected, whatever that is, to the doctor's to sign a release form so Allstate's med insurance can pay for all this, and to Delicious Orchards, because we bought peanut butter cookies from them yesterday and I ate them all already.

3/3/04
Two of my instructors felt it helpful to point out that they know people with hematomas that haven't gone away after 6/8/10 months. Something to remember the accident by.

Gave my "return to clinical" note to the school and my "return to work but don't touch anything" note to work. No one wants to see me until Monday - clinical tomorrow is cancelled because of this accreditation committee that's here, and Mrs. F. told me I can miss Friday as it isn't a massive lecture and all of the material is in the book - and I can't work until Monday either. So I guess I have four days of R&R&Insurance crap to enjoy.

Right now, however, I am going to catch up on email and eat the entire box of "praline pecans" (not actual pralines, but pecans that are covered in about 1000 coats of sugar and are delicious) that someone was kind enough to send me as a "get well" enccouragement. I love these things - I ate about 40 boxes of them when we were in New Orleans, and I think I could eat them every day.

later on 3/2/04
To the car garage, to the car dealer, to the insurance company, to the doctor, to the hospital, to HR, and back again. I'm tired. I'm cleared to go back to work on Sunday, with restrictions on what I can and can't do (lift, push or pull, pretty much), and to go back to clinical on Monday with no limitations. So tomorrow I need to talk to my instructor about revising the clinical schedule for me etc.

I don't think I'm going to go to the NSNA convention in Nashville. It would be wiser to stay home.

Can't talk more about the insurance thing until the lawyer (yes, my very own lawyer) looks over all of the paperwork to see if I have a case against someone for the lack of collision insurance/ refusal of gap insurance.

3/2/04
Today's to-do list:

a bit later on 3/1/04
The Cabrio is totalled. Mom and I went to Perth Amboy to the garage to see it, and it's a mess. I'm amazed that I walked away in as good shape as I did. We got everything out of the main part of the car, but the trunk's lock mechanism was jammed shut because of the accident, so I can't get in there just yet. After Allstate sends their photographer to look at it, the garage guy said he would jimmy the lock so I can get my things out. How sweet.

So... after that visit, I went to find out about my gap insurance and to visit Allstate.

I am irked with Allstate. Very irked. When I switched my policy to cover the VW instead of the Geo, I made sure to tell them that I was not the owner of the car, that I was financing it. Yet the policy (that I signed) states that I only have liability. So, good news: no increase in policy amount, no points on insurance, because this claim never happened. Bad news: I can't get the "gap insurance" to cover the cost of my VW loan because you need complete coverage for that and apparently I only have liability. Now, only having liability on a financed car is highly illegal in NJ, so I need to go back to Allstate tomorrow and see if there's anything at all to do, tho it's looking likely that I'll have to pay the $13 or 14K that I still owe on the VW. Ugh.

I have to stop by Allstate for another reason tomorrow anyway - to insure the new car that I picked out tonight. 2002 Chrysler Sebring convertible. It isn't as "me" as the Cabrio, but it's a convertible (which I love) and has lots of space and is a V6 so the engine just roars. I had to haggle a lot with the good-cop/bad-cop car salesmen, including fake and real tears and a supposed ignorance of car finance, but I finally got them down to the price and financing that I wanted. Go me.

later on 3/1/04
Oh, and congrats to the hobbits - I kept chanting "sweep! sweep! sweep!" every time they won an award last night.

3/1/04
Where to start...

I wanted to write a whole big blurb about the convention, but I'll sum it up. We did an excellent job - everything went smoothly, NJNS got a lot of compliments and positive feedback, and it was super. I was exhausted - running around to set up all of the computer equipment, solving problems on the fly, meeting speakers before their sessions etc. Plus doing my "board member" duties etc. The only big hitch was that our delegates decided to turn around and campaign against our candidates (me, Heather and Nancy), and created a lot of strife within our group. None of us won our elections, but now that I've had some time to think about it, that's cool. Heather is going to run for a national position at the convention in Nashville, and she wants me to run for the Imprint editor position, which is also vacant.

But in bigger news, this past weekend was one of the worst I've ever had. After working 16 hours on Friday and being (as usual) exhausted, I went out with the gang after work. The plan was to stay at Tesse's and help Ben move, but Ben told us that day that he couldn't get a truck until 4pm on Saturday. So instead of hanging out in Jersey City all day Sat, I decided to drive back home and come in again the next day. But when I was on the Turnpike, at my exit, I dozed off at the wheel and had an accident. I woke up when the airbags went off and the car was spinning around and crashed into the concrete siderail. I honestly thought I was about to die - I couldn't control the car and it crashed. I was able to open the door and get out, and I sat down on the siderail about ten feet away from the car and waited for the police.

They came, they got my purse and insurance info from the car, asked me a million questions and called an ambulance for me. I couldn't put pressure on my left leg and my chest was hurting. So the ambulance took me to the ER (not at the hospital where I work) where they were kind enough to give me enough painkillers to kill a horse. They x-rayed my knee, sternum, hand, wrist and nose (all of the painful spots) and let me go back to bed.

When it became a decent hour, I called Mom in VT (left a message at the hotel), and Mrs. H. at school - who's become a good friend as well as an advisor - and she managed to reach Mom later in the day. The doctor came back with the radiology reports and said that my knee was OK, but that I'd fractured my sternum, probably from the airbag. So I was admitted to the hospital on a tele observation and they scheduled an echocardiogram to determine if I'd bruised my heart at all ("cardiac contusion" it's called). They weren't able to get that scheduled until yesterday (Sunday) morning, so I spent the day in ER holding (my nurse was a 2003 graduate of our school), dozing on and off between Demerol shots.

Mom came home from VT and to the hospital on Saturday evening, and I asked her to call Tesse and Mrs. H. and let them know what was going on. Dr. C., my primary doctor, also came by to do a mini-physical and see what was happening.

Sunday morning - they did the echo and told me I would probably be discharged that day. Dr. C. came back to the ER to see me and go over the labs and radiology reports. He said I could go home and to followup with him on Tuesday (tomorrow).

So now I'm home. Left the ER around 1pm yesterday (I refused to go until after lunch, the food really isn't that bad). I have my percocet, my ibuprofen, and a long to-do list. I need to call Allstate today, and also go to the place where they towed the car to, so I can take some pictures and see how bad it really is.

And then I need to rest and get better. Mrs. F, the senior instructor for this semester, told me to take off today and tomorrow (both clinical days), and come to class on Wed so we can figure out how to rearrange my clinical schedule so I can avoid heavy lifting until I'm healed. And I'm using my sick/vacation days at work so I can be off for the next three weeks. I just hurt too much.

-catherine

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