#2 (Part One)

July 16th, 2015

I bought a house!

Well, technically, I bought a piece of land. But the concrete slab is going down by the end of this month with walls and roof to follow in quick succession, so all-in-all I think I’m validated in claiming it as buying a house.

In fact, the plans are in with council as they approve it’s large, welcoming front door and the timber and stone highlights. I must have looked at the drawings a thousand times so far and have fallen in love with my soon-to-be home a little more each time I do. Complete with a media room and butlers pantry (whatever I will use that for is still unbeknown to me), I am bursting with excitement for the day I get to live there.

And for a first home buyer, I think I’m doing okay not to be biting my nails down to the brink of non-existence about it all. In actual fact, it has seemed that this whole house-buying thing has been falling into place ever since i started, and I can’t help but feel that maybe, this was just meant to be.

What started out as a bit of a whim back in March has turned into a very big life altering event, and I’m loving every moment of it.

After managing to save a quite a bit over the last year and half (and trust me, saying no to further investments in the shoe collection has been no easy feat), the initial plan was to buy a new car. Currently I own a little Getz as you will know, but after turning eleven years old this April – he’s probably looking at retirement as being his next big roadtrip.

It wasn’t until the landlords of the apartment I rent decided that an additional $40 to the already overpriced rent fee was reasonable that I started to veer away from shiny new things on four wheels and quite seriously wondered whether I would be better to put my money spent on rent each week into a house repayment. At least then my hard earned money wouldn’t be depositing into somebody else’s pocket.

So I investigated. And possibly more out of curiosity than anything else, applied for a loan with the bank. When they came back with an estimate for $425,000 I almost couldn’t contain my shock. And thinking to myself that that was actually quite a decent amount to purchase a small house here, I started scoping out what was on offer.

It was a warm March Sunday afternoon when the answer quite literally fell into my lap. Sitting on the couch with strawberry milkshakes in hand as my Dad and I quite often do, he swiftly threw the middle section of the Sunday Newspaper over to me while he read the outer. There in the corner of page 69 sat a little advertisement for a new estate due for construction in April, and something about it felt promising – I can’t quite explain that, because I honestly didn’t know a thing about it aside from it’s perfectly situated location, but it felt like it just fit.

So after making a phone call, I arranged to meet a real estate agent at the end of the week to find out a little more about it. The way they decided who could buy the land was different than a lot of estates I had heard of, and for a first home buyer, it was all a little confronting. They had asked that all interested buyers placed three preferences for Lots within the estate and then intended to separate the potential buyers into three groups for a lucky draw – first home buyers, residential family households and investment property owners. The idea was to create a ‘community’. The catch was, the draw was at the end of the week and if I wanted to place my preferences I had to do so by within the next two days.

And if I happened to be selected from the lucky draw at the end of the week, I would then need to make a deposit within the following 24 hours. It was all a bit frightening, and while I was serious about buying a house – it seemed to happen so quickly I started to worry whether I was ready for a commitment like that. After all, I’m only twenty-two – what do I know about being a grown up really?

After talking it over with Dad (he’s good at helping me with the big stuff), I decided to enter the draw figuring I could always turn down the offer. Besides it was the best offer in comparison to the other estates I had researched. So what did I have to lose?

A week later I received a phone call late on a stormy Friday afternoon. The lady I had spoke with a week earlier excitedly announced that I had been drawn for my first preference and offered congratulations through the phone. I wasn’t really sure what to say, I felt a little like I unknowingly jumped onto a ride that was going too fast I couldn’t properly smile for camera and instead got caught mid blink with an unsightly expression on my face.

It was a little overwhelming, but when I managed to process the news I realised there was excitement budding in my heart and again, it just seemed to fit. It was the perfect opportunity. I had scored one of the bigger lot sizes in the estate, on a little secluded lane where I could set my house up to avoid the harsh sun yet benefit from the coastal breeze and fit all my dreams on a piece of the earth entirely my own.

So I said yes.

Four months later I’ve been busy organising everything that goes along with buying a house. I’ve had to put my big girl pants on and do things like get a solicitor and sign contracts boasting a fifty page length (I was so nervous I spelt my own middle name wrong – but let’s not mention that again).

It’s been a whirlwind trying to pull the bank, the builders, the real estate and the solicitor all into one brightly shining package that one day I’ll call home, but so far I think I’ve managed it!

In fact, two nights ago I was able to stand on my newly divided piece of this planet and felt excitement envelope me as I realised it was mine. The jumping up and down, and smile ear to ear couldn’t have provided a bigger piece of evidence to show that this has been one of the most amazing things to happen in this little life of mine yet!

#2 on my bucket list is to buy and own my own house: no debt!…well, we’ll have to call this one a work in progress. But it’s a start!

d x

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New pair of shoes.

May 28th, 2015

It’s been a big month, and as we wrap up May and effortlessly slip into the snuggle season of Winter, I’ve been doing a bit of reflecting.

At the beginning of May I kicked off my comfy RN shoes and slipped into a new pair of CN shoes. It was an exciting moment to see my name bumped up to a new category on the roster and I couldn’t help but feel ecstatic at making it one step closer to #4 on my Bucket List (make Clinical Nurse at work).

For the last four weeks I have been lucky enough to ‘act up’ (or fill in) as a Clinical Nurse, and it has been one hell of an adventure so far! While it’s not the real deal yet, the experience I’ve gotten in acting in the position will be all-too-important when I finally do get there. And I can’t wait for that day.

Having only been out of my Grad Year for two months, it almost didn’t feel real to be given such responsibility so early. But with a new hospital nearing completion in the next couple of years, and my ward’s big transition into a Trauma Ward there, the added bonus of CN experience will most definitely come in handy. There were no second thoughts, I jumped right in.

Like every new pair of shoes, being a CN didn’t come without it’s blisters and aches. It took plenty of wearing in. But looking back now, I can see how far I’ve come and a part of me is really proud of what I accomplished.

Often you don’t realise at the time the progress your making. But there always seems to be that one defining moment where you suddenly realise you’re doing just fine. Riding without training wheels, swimming without floaties. These moments are my favourite.

In the beginning, it was difficult to figure out the ropes with no one there to show me. Being boss is kind of scary in that sense. I kind of had to wing it, or at least phone six different people until the odds were so far in my favour I found who I was looking for. I mean, I did at least have a general idea of what to do, and I guess between being naturally quite good at problem solving and being overtly curious with buttons on the computer, I managed to do okay!

In the midst of a shift involving 9 patients to be transferred out, with another 8 hot on their tails to be transferred in – it’s hard to feel sane. Add a Code Blue, an absconding patient, a computer system that seems to waged war against you not allowing patients to be entered in and bladder irrigations that simply refuse to work, and you’ve got yourself a shift well deserving of the name “Actual Nightmare”. You soon become very aware that you may never see the ‘Tea Room’ again, and have in fact, forgotten what it looks like altogether. And while we’re on the topic of forgetting what rooms look like, you may as well add the toilet to that list. Focus on growing a bigger bladder instead.

And when you finally think you’ve got it sorted, the phone in your pocket which has boasted it’s existence every 5 minutes for the last 8 hours, rings to let you know there are three more patients on their way up from Emergency right on Handover time with no IV Fluids, no catheter and no life saving medications given yet. It’s at this point, you consider just making a run for it and just maybe never coming back.

Granted that not every shift is like that, but it sure made for one steep learning curve for this little nurse.

Nevertheless, the patients and I survived, so I think we’ll call it a successful month.

In all honestly though, despite it’s chaos, I love being an acting CN. I love the challenge of being in charge, I love the requirement to always learn new things – to always be on top of my game. It’s what I’ve always loved about surgical nursing right from the beginning, but this certainly steps it up a notch and I am enjoying it wholeheartedly.

There is so much fulfilment in nursing and although the dream of being a doctor is getting closer (yes, that does entirely mean I passed my med school entry exam!), I am soaking up everything nursing offers while I’m here in this adventure and in these acting CN shoes. I’ve even found that they don’t give me blisters anymore – in fact, they may be just the most comfortable shoes I own yet.

d x

Patience for patients.

May 3rd, 2015

One thing I’ve learnt about being a nurse, is that you have to have patience. And I’m not just talking about an average, normal, traffic tolerating patience – oh no, not by far.

I’m talking about the need to come equip with the heavy duty-toddler-screaming-Sunday-afternoon-drivers-doing-50k-under-the-speed-limit-puppy-chewing-squeaky-toy-being-on-hold-to-centerlink-for-3-hours kind of patience as a nurse, and to be quite honest with you… Sometimes I don’t even think that’s enough.

Take it from the nurse who spent four ten hour night shifts in a row dealing with patients who took patience like it was going out of date and made it look effortless. Only to have the doctors arrive first thing in the morning, see the patient for five minutes and then accuse the nurses of not properly taking care of the patients based on an extravagant story the patient has conjured up out of thin air (the notion that nurses dislike doctors holds some debatable truths, but that didn’t come from me – said aspiring doctor herself).

Now to be entirely fair, it’s only every now and then I come across these special group of people who hold the ability to make any nurse quite literally blow steam through her nostrils. In actual fact, we probably spend majority of our time really absolutely liking our cute little oldies with the ‘blissfully unaware’ dementia and joking with the ones that haven’t reached that point yet. Hell, two days ago we woke a patient up bright and early to sing Happy Birthday to him and decorate his bed space with balloons and banners (not that he was overly impressed with us given the hour).

Usually, caring for our patients takes no patience at all. And I love that.

Until the theatre nurses arrive with a little gift fresh out of surgery that makes you wonder just how fantastic a career change to a Veterinary Nurse would be in the likely guarantee that the patients there most definitely wouldn’t buzz for the nurse 6 times to announce that the oxygen nasal prongs were vividly telling him to stop breathing and that he had tried to do as they said…twice.

Believe you me, it becomes quite the task to continue smiling politely at the patient without a diagnosis of dementia while you explain to them that “No, the pumps connected to you are not going to catch fire and burn your blood vessels from the inside out”.

Or answer the seemingly emergent nurse call to which the patient announces that his foot hurts, and on inspection of a perfectly fine looking foot further adds to his claim that it hurts because he hasn’t moved it, leaving you with the only logical answer of “Well, how about you move it then?” to which the patient agrees and moves his foot.

Problem solved. Now aren’t you glad you ran all the way down the hallway for that big emergency? I generally try to put situations like these down to being a good form of exercise. Project ‘Find The Silver Lining’ I call it.

I guess I’m slowly teaching myself how to smile at these situations rather than feel exasperated. I force myself to remember that being sick brings out the worst in us all – I should know. I get particularly whiney and miserable at just the sight of a running nose. And I will complain for well over a week about it.

And while I don’t think I’d come out with absurd statements like my patients certainly do, I sure can imagine being cut open in five different ways wouldn’t make my day either so I’m trying to reserve a little understanding.

They say that Patience is a Virtue – and I’m inclined to agree with that. I think that having patience beyond comprehensible boundaries makes all the difference in a person. And I’ve found that people warm to those who know how to smile and find exceeding grace for those that push the neat, little envelope packaging of patience itself.

So I’m working on it. Because I’d like to be the nurse whose heart works a little more overtime in the patience department.

And who knows, one day I might even lose the ability to quite literally blow steam out my nose!

d x

#3

April 11th, 2015

Recently I sat for the GAMSAT, or as explained much more simply outside of it’s ridiculous acronym – I sat an exam that will allow me to study at Med School if I’m lucky enough to have passed. It’s a lethal concoction comprised of three sections – comprehensive logical reasoning, written response and a battle of the trio sciences: biology, physics and chemistry – all equally designed to make one question ones choices in life when they first decide to be a doctor.

But I guess I should do a little explaining first, let’s back it up 6 months…

I woke up one morning a little while back before Christmas last year, and I fell in love with the idea of being a doctor. Not that I don’t absolutely love nursing… I just felt like I wanted, perhaps needed, more. And I think that’s probably more to do with my personality than anything else. But I just felt I could make a bigger difference being a doctor. To be in the drivers seat of someone’s health and change it for the greater – that’s something I have dreamed of wholeheartedly for my entire life.

So on a bit of a whim, I registered to sit the Graduate Australian Medical School Admissions Test (ergo, ridiculous acronym GAMSAT). It cost me a cool $650 and at the time I wondered what had possessed me to firstly, PAY a small fortune to sit a 9.5 hour exam and to secondly, WILLINGLY devote 3 months of my life to studying organic chemistry, physics and all other sorts of unreasonable theories we claim to be of importance in the world.

In all honesty, I was out of my depth. Here I am, drowning in textbooks attempting to teach myself how to conquer subjects that involved words I didn’t even know had been created.

Physics? Sure, Force = Mass x Acceleration, right? No biggie. I got this.

I didn’t. Turns out, there’s a little more to physics than I had hoped there would be. Because Force, Mass and Acceleration have friends called Vectors, Center of Gravity and Elecetronegativity, and it definitely wasn’t a get together you wanted to be at.

Unfortunately though, it became apparent quite quickly that Physics wasn’t my biggest problem. Enter, Organic Chemistry.

Organic chemistry, to me, is a unnecessary science. Normal chemistry makes sense, organic chemistry does not.

It’s as if a group of bored scientists got together and decided to make a normal representation of an atom look funky. And then made that funky atom look precocious. And then found fifty different other names for the precocious atom and called it a science.

What they really did, was make something incredibly easy, complicated for no human logical reason other than to wreck three perfectly good months of my year.

Nevertheless – I survived and became a proud owner of a brain that knew what an isomer was, and could list the entire periodic table’s stability values off of memory alone (and you do not want to hear the song I made up to remember that beauty).

And as promised, it was an excruciating exam. The kind that makes every brain cell want to explode.

After 9.5 hours of sitting in one of a thousand chairs, in one of a hundred auditoriums, I was ready to sleep for the remaining 9 months of the year.

I find out the results in May, and ultimately the next adventure I embark upon.

And I feel privileged that I have that choice – whether I pass or not doesn’t effect me negatively. Because at the end of the day, I am still a registered nurse and I will still absolutely love what I do. I can work my way up to the big leagues and find gratification the whole way through. Sitting this exam was almost like a test run, a shot at seeing whether I could be doctor material.

There were people sitting that exam who have been studying for years, whose whole life depends on passing this exam because without it, the study they’ve already completed becomes irrelevant.

So do I expect to pass? In all honesty, not really. A short three months study wasn’t at all a comparison to what others have done. But I feel good for trying, to know what I can accomplish is what matters most to me.

And I will be happy with whichever direction my life takes from here, because it’s a good life. And a doctor isn’t the only person able to make a difference in the world.

You can be great just being you. Remember that always.

Bucket List #3 – Get a Masters Degree… Contemplate Med School. I’ll let you know how I go!

d x

#12

February 5th, 2015

Last Wednesday night I finished my last shift as a Graduate Nurse. It’s been a year since I started nursing, and yet I feel like no time has passed at all.

But it has, and there’s new Baby Grads now. I even had the opportunity to speak with them about how to survive their first year a few weeks back. It was a surreal experience given that it only felt like yesterday that I was sitting right where they were looking back at another Grad who I just couldn’t wait to be someday. I soaked up the moment, and indulged in the feeling that I had achieved something great!

Pressing the button to call the lift to the third level of the hospital last Wednesday night after my last shift, made me smile. I almost did a little jump, but had to harness some self control, because well, I was still trying to be somewhat professional whilst grinning like a clown.

Now the next time I walk back into the hospital, I’ll be the real deal slotting right into the Registered Nurse section of the roster – no labels attached! And more excitingly, I’ll be returning home to my surgical family.

So I thought this deserved a little celebration – two weeks of celebrating in fact. Hello unused annual leave, I have missed you!

And with that, my Mr and I set off on a little road trip up north. With Angels and Airwaves blaring out the speakers, windows up and aircon on – because let’s be honest, Australian heat is not something to be reckoned with – we survived a four hour journey and finally arrived at our destination just before sunset.

#12 on my list is to Watch the Baby Turtles hatch, and we had arrived at one of the largest nesting beaches for Logerhead Turtles along the whole coast line.

We waited impatiently in line to get our names signed off before entering the amphitheatre where we would wait until the little baby turtles decided to brave the hatching experience.

The rangers there do their best to make sure each group gets to see a hatching, but there are never any guarantees and there was a lot more people prepared to spend Sunday night at the beach until 2am in the morning than I initially thought, so I was a little fearful we had come all this way for the baby turtles to decided ‘Eh, let’s do this whole hatching debacle next week’.

We hadn’t even moved in the line when Ranger Dave (My Mr and I called him Ranger Dave all night, and I’m entirely sure that wasn’t even his name, but it sounded better regardless so Ranger Dave he was christened) ran out onto the boardwalk and announced that there was some movement down at the beach spotted and that GROUP 1 would be called out to hurry down immediately.

When Ranger Dave called out my name I squealed and pumped my fist in the air – only a little bit excited, no big deal. My Mr smiled, grabbed my hand and laughed at the fact my quite obvious excitement had made others in the line laugh at my enthusiastic outburst brought on by simply having my name called out.

But I was GROUP 1 and we were going to see the Baby Turtles, and I proudly wore my group classification sticker as we waited for the rest of the group to assemble on the shore line.

It was a almost-full moon, missing a slice like a well made chocolate cake. So the beach was exceptionally well lit up, and the waves rolling in sparkled in the moonlight.

We walked along the beach for a few minutes arriving at a nest high on the dunes, and then watched as one by one, little baby turtles broke through the sand and scurried down towards the water.

Their sense of direction impeccable, they made a beeline for the ‘lowest horizon’, as we were informed by the ranger. And when you’re a baby turtle up on the sand dunes, it only makes sense that the shoreline was the lowest horizon. Apparently they also follow the light of the moon and know that wherever the moon is, the sea will also be. Clever little munchkins. I was enthralled – absolutely amazed at the beauty of the whole thing.

Tiny little turtles not even the size if my hand, heading out into the vast world on their own and having every ounce of confidence to do so. I think I could learn a thing or two from them!

And just as the waves washed the little ones out to sea, someone in the group spotted a rather large rock that seemed to be moving from the water (Ranger Dave had warned us about the moving rocks earlier). A little late to the laying party, was a Mumma Logerhead Turtle who was making her way up to the beach to lay her eggs. We let GROUP 2 get the inside scoop on Mum Turtle and watched from a distance, before heading back towards the amphitheatre.

We were only half way back when the lady walking next to me began to shout, pointing at the ground. Beneath our feet were 50 more baby turtles scurrying down towards the waters edge from a nest Ranger Dave didn’t even know about. These baby ninja turtles had the element of surprise down pat, and we had front row seats as they scurried between our feet out to sea.

I fell in love with the tiny creatures. So smart, and dedicated to the cause! I was truly amazed at the wonderment of it all, at the beauty of nature. I am hooked, and probably should have voted Greens in the election.

If you haven’t watched baby turtles hatch, then book yourself in! It was an experience so very worth every second. And if the dress I was wearing had pockets, I may have truly considered sneaking one home with me.

Shellshocked, and turtlely amazed. And not even apologetic for that sentence!

#12: Watch the baby turtles hatch and reach the ocean – check!

d x

Moments that matter

February 3rd, 2015

Last year, I wrote a blog about ‘The Bucket List’.

It was a post inspired by my beautiful friend who sadly passed away last October from Cystic Fibrosis. You see, back then she was trying to tick off a list all of her own before it was time for a transplant. I didn’t agree with it at the time because I had so much hope for a life she would have with a shiny new set of lungs, and I am still so absolutely devastated that even new lungs weren’t enough to save her.

There is a huge hole in our lives where she once was. And we are so infinitely aware of her absence with every breath, and with every heart beat – the vivid reminders that we are still here trying to figure out how to live a life without her.

On New Year’s Eve, I watched her husband fall to pieces at the sound of the fireworks. I clung tight to my Mr as we watched the fireworks and missed her. Missed her greatly, immensely, inconsolably. It was a feeling that it no longer felt okay to be here in such moments without her and I welcomed this year in with tears streaming down my cheeks, wondering whether I would ever feel okay again.

When I woke up on New Years Day, and everyone began busily making New Years resolutions, I felt a little empty.

So I promised myself that this year I would start crossing more things off my own list. And I would do the things I have always dreamed of doing because life is fleeting.

There’s a song that describes the life my friend led before she left our world – ‘I Lived’ by One Republic. It played at her funeral and it’s lyrics etched themselves into my heart that day.

She lived better in 25 years than most people live in a lifetime, and I admire her for that more than she’ll ever really know.

Life doesn’t have to be mundane, it doesn’t have to be a routine. There is beauty in everyday, and we have a responsibility to find it, to illuminate it for others to see.

So I’m living – in more ways than the dictionary defines it. I’m making my dreams come true and I’m not waiting for someday to do it, I’ve already started.

And a promise to share these moments with you because I believe they matter. Look out for the #number posts – they’ll represent a dream come true, and a tribute to the amazing life that inspired them.

d x

Walking the heartland – A memoir

January 13th, 2015

I wrote this memoir three years ago. Back then I was still a nursing student about to finish my first year of study, and although it was only a few years back now, it could easily be confused as having been an entire lifetime ago. This is a little memory of mine from the day my Dad had a heart attack, and I thought it would be fitting after mentioning it in the previous entry (see ‘the other side’). So without further adieu…

Walking the Heartland – A Memoir

I was out at breakfast when it happened. I’d spent the morning resuscitating CPR mannequins in the university’s real-life replica of a hospital and felt that after having saved ten or so plastic lives, I deserved a hearty breakfast.

One bacon, egg and hollandaise bagel later, I was feeling far more upbeat about my day. I remember hearing a muffled ringing from the depths of my bag and mentally scolded myself for not putting it in an easier place of rescue.  I frantically searched to find my phone before voicemail beat me to the answer.

‘Mum’ flashed up on the screen and I answered with a smile that soon disappeared. The words ‘Hi Sweetheart’ sounded far heavier than usual and I was instantly aware that something wasn’t right. The next words that followed echoed loudly through the tiny speakers and resonated in my ears as I struggled to comprehend, “Sweetheart, Dad has had a heart attack”.

A warm sensation welled in the corner of my eyes and before I could respond, tears had already found their way down my cheeks, leaving damp pathways of sickening worry in my foundation. My stomach complying with its associated cliché was sitting in my throat causing an impossible lump, and I could feel my insides writhe in an uneasiness.

I don’t remember much after that, except for a non-relenting fear that enveloped every cell in my body. The paramedics had flown Dad to the Royal Brisbane Hospital before I had even had the chance to reach his side. A sense of helplessness had never felt so prominent, as I was forced to simply wait for a phone call. My mind played havoc with the worse possible outcome and I collapsed at the thought that he may never return home.

However despite such terrifying thoughts, I knew there was no benefit in falling apart over the unknown. I had a little brother and a mother who I needed to be stronger for than I felt.  So I collected myself and tried my best to see out the rest of the day. I had one last class at university and silently hoped I could hold my concentration for it. I had spent the better part of the last week writing an essay for this class on the cause and effect of heart attacks, and it felt nothing less than ironic to be submitting it to my lecturer the same day my Dad had experienced one.

When I got home, Mum and my little brother were already there. Mum’s tear-stained face and reddened nose gave her worry-stricken state away no matter how she tried to convince us that she was okay. I could see the fear reflected in her eyes and I wrapped my arms around her to show her I felt it too. The phone never stopped ringing. Call after call, family and close friends rung to pass on their best wishes and offer comfort. Word seemed to spread quickly and it was heartening to know just how many people held the four of us in their thoughts that night.

The clock hand fell swiftly on nine and the phone returned to its usual silent existence. The television had been on the whole night, and I had sat in front of it for much of that time – but if you were to ask me what was on, I couldn’t tell you. My mind had been elsewhere. I remember looking over to the couch next to me and seeing Mum fast asleep, nestled in the surrounding cushions. It was only then that I noticed she hadn’t changed since that morning, her black ballet flats were still on her feet. With my brother’s help, we took her shoes off and helped her into bed. As I tucked her in, moving the blankets firmly around her shoulders, she whispered, “Where’s your father?”

Not knowing what else to say, I kissed her on her cheek whispered back, “Get some sleep Mum, he’ll be home soon”.

A few days later, the hospital called to let us know that Dad was being transported to our local hospital. They advised us that he would be in the Cardiac Unit within the next hour and we were welcome to come see him. I remember mum wanting to leave straight away, like a child on Christmas morning impatient to open presents. I had to convince her to wait at least half an hour more. She unhappily agreed. I suggested that she should have a shower and by the time she was done, it would be time to leave. Ten minutes later, I was entirely sure that she had simply stepped in and then out of the shower, as she came racing out asking whether it was time to leave yet.

It’s been a couple of years now since Dad has his heart attack, and I couldn’t be more thankful that he’s still around to tell his Dad jokes – no matter how bad they might be. It was an experience that has taught me the true strength a heart can have, not only physically to survive an almost total infarction, but to emotionally power the love a family shares and a bond that gives one another reassurance in the hardest of times.

d x