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I should be dead. Happy rebirthday to me. 19 years later.

19 years ago I was given the greatest gift of my life.

A second chance

I know the value of my life and continually appreciate it, no matter how ‘tough’ things may get. Today is my rebirthday.

On September 15, 2001, someone made an attempt on my life.

I’ll admit it. Before that fateful day, I was just a jaded, jagged, and miserable human being.

I was always pissed off at the world. I continually wanted to know when the universe would stop shitting on me. I bitched at everything and everyone. My temper roller-coastered like it was my full-time job. I had your typical bad luck, bad girlfriends, bad relationships, bad jobs, etc, etc.

Yeah, I was a mean ole’ cuss. I can’t say ‘positivity’ was part of my repertoire. I was going nowhere fast, and I just couldn’t seem to get a leg up. I was simply treading water.

Then someone tried to kill me.

I needed someone to try and steal my most prized possession (my life) for me to truly appreciate its merit.

Yes. You read that right.

I first blogged about it in 2008 (hard to believe). Every year I re-share the original blog post. It’s cathartic for me and my loved ones. It’s important to me because I want the reminder. I want to remember and never forget my gift.

And I’d like you to have the reminder too because life is fleeting.

Let me tell you a story (in the original words that I wrote several years ago)…

It’s been 7 years.

This time of the year always has a special place in most of America’s hearts. September 11, 2001 is a date none of us will soon forget. It changed the face of our nation and impacted our world in a way none of us could have ever imagined. Emily (crzegrl) shared here views of how it impacted her.

At the risk of diminishing or making that day any less than it really was. This time of the year has a very different meaning for me. I do remember September 11th. I do remember what I was doing that day. I do remember how I felt and how the world around me changed. But it’s not what is in the forefront of my mind.

September 15, 2001

My Re-Birthday.

It’s been 7 years.

It was a Saturday. (Yes I remember it that well)

There was a time in my life when I was not active in healthcare (It was a short time). I had stepped away from the healthcare setting and returned to my career in retail. Retail had helped pay my way through college, and then it was the way to put food on the table after college was over. My career in healthcare wasn’t paying the bills, and retail was a better option (at the time).

It was a typical Saturday night. I was one of the midnight managers on duty. Part of my responsibility as a manager was to hold the night-shift meeting with the over-night employees.

This particular night we decided to have an open forum concerning the difficulties people may or may not be having with the current state of affairs. The terrorists attacks were affecting everyone, and we wanted to let our employees know we cared.

I can’t say I remember how it happened.

I can’t say I was prepared for it.

It happened in time ‘slices’.

I was talking with the over-night group of employees. It was me in front of approximately 20 others. Half-way through the meeting and in mid-sentence I can vaguely remember an ‘itching’ or ‘biting’ feeling on my neck.

….??

It wasn’t anything out the ordinary. I chalked it up to one of the bodily aches or pains I have no explanation for. (Like when I get a shooting pain in my finger that comes a goes in a matter of 7 seconds)

It got more quiet. It was like I could only hear the fans of the air conditioning running. I guess the only way to explain it… is things seemed to slow down.. immensely. Like the slo-mo option on a VCR/DVD player.

I don’t know what happened next. Or should I say I don’t know which came first. The banshee-like shrieking screams or the shadow of a person coming out of my left peripheral vision. All I know is that it was a startling moment.

The Scream.

The Shadow.

And I reflexively look to my left.

I remember saying to my self, “Hmm, why is Jane (we’ll call her Jane for identity purposes) standing so close to me. She should be sitting out in the crowd with the rest of the group.”

She’s now advancing towards me. “What is she doing?”

Her left arm is raised in the air. I think she’s going to take a swing at me. So out of reflex, I block her left arm. I block her arm with my R arm and grab her swinging arm with my L hand. Then I grasp her swinging arm with both hands.

I can’t quite figure out why she’s trying to hit me?

Another handful of screams.

Through the tussle and wrestling of her arm I realize my hand is full of blood??? In fact I have blood on both my hands?

“OK. Who’s blood is this?”, I blurt out with a sense of sarcasm.

… ??

More screams.

… ??

Wait a minute.

What’s that in Jane’s hand?

Is that..?

No way.

Wholly SH#T. Jane has a knife in her hand.

“The blood is YOURS! She cut your throat. Your bleeding from your neck!!!!!!”, a voice from the crowd cries out hysterically.

Now, I’m no idiot. I know the inner workings of the human body. I’m pretty well versed in what anatomical structures are located in the neck.

I know I’m still breathing. I’m not chocking. Not having any trouble moving air.

???

At the same time Jane is tackled by a single employee from behind. Then another, then another. And then more. It takes close to 5 people to get her down.

I put my hand on my neck.. and sure enough … nothing but blood.

Yep. It’s a true story. I was attacked from behind with a swiss army knife by an employee of mine, in front of approximately 20 people. She sliced my neck almost from ear to ear.

Here are the finer points of the story:

– she used a very dull and old swiss army knife

– she did not use the blade side of the knife and drag it across my neck to cut me. She used the knife in a stabbing motion and scraped the tip of the knife across the length of my neck

– she never spent a night in jail. She had a psychiatric evaluation. Her medications were adjusted. And that’s the last thing I was told (Please don’t ask.. I don’t know what the heck happen concerning her lawful conviction)

– Yes, I have a Keloid scar that has taken 7 yrs to slowly diminish on my neck. (The intent of the ED physician was to use the smallest/thinnest suture possible so to NOT leave a scar, and it did the exact opposite)

-The only entertaining piece of all this was that when the 911 call was made. All the EMS arrived expecting to see a decapitated man. And I mean ALL of the EMS. For the small town I was in, I think I counted 4 Ambulances and 6 marked Police and 2 unmarked Police cars.

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about that day. It changed my life. We always whine and complain about some of the most ridiculous things in life that seem so very important at the time. Everything from being late for work, being stuck in traffic, having to wait in line in the grocery store, having a poor wait staff wait on you at the restaurant, or having to sit in coach for a 4hr flight… the list is endless. Everyone hates having a bad day.

I touched on my theory about life and how bad your day really was in a previous blog post: Blinking & Breathing, I can’t complain.

I’m not perfect. I do have stress in my life. I do have those ‘Pull out your hair’ moments and those “all I wanna do is scream” moments. But I’m always grounded and reminded by my profession and by my past that maybe you and/or I not having THAT bad of a day.

September 15th is my Re-Birthday. I was given a second chance at life. For some strange reason, I survived that incident. I will never know why. I questioned it for a long time, and never got the answer I wanted until I realized there was no answer. I’m here. I’m staying here. I’m not going anywhere. And while I’m here, I’m making the most of my stay.

Here’s what scares me sometimes when I think about my attack.

As an employee for the retail store I worked for, each employee is issued a box cutter. The only reason I’m still here is because Jane had bad aim, and a dull swiss army knife.

What if she would have used the box cutter instead of her swiss army knife?

Nope.

I don’t have bad days anymore.

Carpe Diem

Via Happy Re-Birthday To Me | My Strong Medicine


Fast forward…

In 2013 we moved to a new city. With the move came new friends. When my face was still new, I had a friend comment on my ‘positivity’ and being ‘always happy’. I told her there was a story behind my obsessive passion for being happy, but that I’d explain it to her later. I shared this post with her.. (Thanks, Allison).

This is the reason I’m always positive. Why I greet every morning with my:

“Gewwwwwwd morning”

I get to be here another day.

Many great things have happened to me since that scary day.

I became a registered nurse, I met and married my soul mate, and now I’m working as an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, a job I truly love.

I’m here. I’m staying here. I’m not going anywhere. And while I’m here, I’m making the most of my stay


I’m not too sure where I’d be today had I not gone ‘under the knife’ so-to-speak. I can admit that I wouldn’t have the abundance of happiness I possess now.

photo taken in 2015…

What I do know is that I took a tragic, frightening and possibly life-paralyzing event and turned it into something positive. Positive for me, and hopefully positive for anyone who’s around me.

This might sound a bit cliche’… or it might sound a bit phony…

but I needed someone to try and steal my most prized possession (my life) for me to truly appreciate its merit. And for that, I couldn’t be happier.


I continue to value the gifts I’ve been given. I’ve met more amazing people both online and in person. Every so often I take my life for granted by complaining a lil’ too much, but I still cherish every second I’m still here.

Thank you all for being a part of my life.

Sean

Learning A New Way To Study

I’m no stranger to classwork. I’m also no stranger to “going back to school”… but this time is a bit different. I’m three semesters deep into my DNP program and this semester I’m taking two classes. Doctoral level classes are no joke. You spend a great deal of time just on a single task, problem, or assignment.

Ain’t nobooooody got time for ‘dat. Know whatta mean?? No seriously, there is sometimes just not enough hours in the day. I’m still working my full-time job and I’m having to rethink how I approach my assignments.

I used to be the student that would just sit down for a large chunk of time and crank out an assignment. Unfortunately I don’t have that kind of time during any day of the week. So I’m finding myself in unfamiliar territory. I have to read, write, learn and process information in small bits and bytes. I have to read snippets of information and then leave the rest for the next day. I’m usually one for maximizing my short term memory. Once I research and read a topic I usually dive right into the task related to the subject… but now I have to delay my actions.

An assignment is now taking me days to research and complete. Instead of cranking out 4hrs of work in once sitting, I’m spreading it out the work over several days.

It’s quite the adjustment. Because now I’m forced to take better notes and leave breadcrumbs for me to pick up the next time I dive back into a task or assignment from the previous sitting. It’s doable… it’s just taking me a little bit to get used to.

-Sean

Moment of Reflection


Just taking a moment to realize how much I have. Lately, stress has been building. Gnawing at my soul a lil bit. School+ work schedule+level of craziness at work+ pandemic + adulting+ fall season (Sorry I already miss Summer).
🤯
Mostly self-induced, but our social landscape doesn’t make it any better these days.
I paused this morning during my workout and had an epiphany. A real “wholly shit” moment.
👁
I was working out in my new garage. My garage (barn) that we paid for after 2yrs of saving money. 2 yrs of working 2 jobs. We wrote a single check. Paid in full. 2 years of saving, planning, and wanting.
I have my own garage gym now, decked out with tons of weightlifting equipment. A LARGE space that is my own. I simply walk 20 paces outside my house and I’m there.
💥
It’s been ~2 months since it was finished and I’ve actually gotten used to it being here. It’s now just my routine. I forgot what it was like not having it. I forgot about the endless hours of overtime. I forgot what it was like working out in a small Tetris-like cubicle of a garage. I got complacent.
Today I remembered how lucky I am. I got what I worked for. Just taking a moment to recognize the spoils.
💡
What’s the point of working your ass off for a goal… if you don’t take the time to actually enjoy it?
💯
Be sure to stop, look around, and take it all in everyone once in a while. Take the time to enjoy it.

-Sean

Some good news…

I watched @johnkrasniski and his new YouTube show ‘Some Good News’ #SGN #somegoodnews last week and thought it was a brilliant idea.

I’ve always loved him and his work and I LOVED the idea of his show. Just sharing some good news found in the world during a very dark time.

Fast forward about a week and the second episode of #SGN aired with an amazing episode that involved the cast of the Broadway show ‘Hamilton’.

It lifted my spirits in a way I just didn’t expect. I couldn’t shake the feeling or the underlying idea. Just spreading some positivity when you can, where you can, how you can. Informal and mostly unscripted sharing some good news. Anything that just feels good.

I spent the day yesterday staying away from the heavy life-sucking information on the pandemic yesterday. I just wanted a breather. I had been consuming as much information as I could to stay up to date, prepared and informed on all-things COVID19… and it was slowly chipping away at my soul (see my previous IG post on non-COVID19 conversations).

#SGN + limited consumption of the darkness = preserving my health. So I’ve decided to jump on the #SGN bandwagon and start sharing some good news whenever I see it. I went so far as to draw up my own logo… LOL. I reached out to the tribe and asked them to send me some good news via my Instagram stories ‘questions’ and got an amazing response. I’m gonna keep doing that.

In the meantime… send me some good news. While I will continue to stay informed, up to date, and prepared I’m gonna keep sharing the good. As often as I can.

P.S. I’ve been so drained lately that when I finally smiled today… the tribe noticed with messages of “nice to see your smile again”.

Superstitions Have Saved Lives

Every nurse has shift superstitions. Things that shouldn’t be done/said/heard/thought of while at work.

Shiz you may have heard before:

💀“Do not admit that patient into bed 10… there’s bad juju in there”.

💀“I can’t drink from that coffee mug, the last time I did all hell broke loose”.

💀“DO NOT say that patient’s name, the last time they were here was a shit show”.

💀“You will put the BP cuff on the LEFT arm… not the RIGHT arm. Just trust me on this”.

💀“We’re gonna go ahead and pull some Neo out of the Accudose and have it in our pocket. Yep. Ain’t nobody dying today”.

💀“Let’s just rolllllllll the crash cart right alongside the doorway. Yep. Right there. Today will be a NO code kind of day”.

Voodoo medicine exists and nurses practice the dark arts. Every. Damn. Day. Do this job long enough and you’ll be a believer too. Because every nurse knows about the bad ju-ju. And every nurse knows exactly what to do to ward off those evil spirits. Does it work every time. Nope. Wanna know why? Because we got some people out there that still don’t believe dammit!

The next time you’re workin’ and you hear a nurse practicing the dark arts. Just follow instructions… MKay? Ain’t nobody dyin’ today.

🧠 cred: @nurseabnormalities


Until next time…
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